Corvette Racing has a lot to be proud of on their way home from the WeatherTech 240 At Daytona. Their First-Place win in the GTLM class is the first of hopefully many in the all-new C8.R Corvette and the win was also the 100th win for the team since it began competing in IMSA. The fact that America’s sportscar took the win on one of the most iconic race tracks in the nation, on the Fourth of July, just epitomizes ‘Murica!
An increasingly fast car is only part of the equation on the trip to the top spot of the podium. There have been several factors that contributed to the win this past weekend. To start, the entire Corvette Racing team carried out a perfect run of pit-stops, passes, and fuel-sipping strategy to carry the car all the way to Winner’s Circle. The No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, driven by Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor took the class win, while the No. 4 Corvette C8.R, driven by Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, carried on the fight to find itself in the fifth slot when the checkered flag fell.
All the Corvette C8.R drivers, Corvette Racing crew members, and Corvette enthusiasts have been anticipating the C8.R’s improved handling since going to a mid-engine configuration – and while that certainly played a part in the win – it was the car’s fuel-sipping abilities that kept it under power to the very end. “That was the big thing,” said Garcia. “Jordan did a perfect job on that. He saved one lap in his stint, and I saved one on my first stint. We were going for a green race and made it to the end. We didn’t know if the Porsche would make it, and when we came out after the last stop, we knew it was going to be between us.”
Antonio’s co-driver also explained how the recent downtime contributed to the car’s performance during the race. “I think the off-time gave the Corvette Racing guys some decent time to make some headway with our new C8.R,” he said. “Our fuel mileage, engine, and drivability at the beginning of the race were much better than the first race. Pit stops were improved as the guys were training through the quarantine once they could get back in the shop.”
Tommy Milner also credited the team members’ use of down-time to make the cars faster, “Of course I’m super happy for the team and all the crew guys,” he said, “Even though we’ve been on a long break, those guys have put in a lot of work these past weeks to get these Corvettes race-ready, and ready to win races. Today is good validation to showcase all the work they have done.”
Altogether, the team jelled into as finely-tuned of a machine as the C8.Rs themselves, nary missing a beat during pit stops and strategies that ensured there was enough consistency, power, and fuel to make it to the finish line first. Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. Vice President, Performance and Motorsports stated, “Congratulations to Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor on winning today’s IMSA race at Daytona… This milestone win belongs to everyone who has been part of the Corvette program over the years, our Corvette owners, and our fans.”
While we still don’t know when fans will again be able to enjoy attending the races in person, the next bout for Corvette Racing will be at Sebring on July 18, 2020. While the distance between the Daytona Speedway and Sebring International Raceway is roughly half the miles the cars traveled on track during this past weekend’s race, it’s easy to see how far they’ve come since they first turned a wheel in angst on the same famous high-banked oval back in January of this year.