Everyone knows that Corvette Racing is in the business of racing its C8.R Corvettes. This past weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach – postponed from its traditional spring date due to COVID-19 was, well, so far as a podium finish was concerned— a walk on the beach.
The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Long Beach, California consisted of two C8.R Corvettes and one lone Porsche. That meant even if the Corvettes both broke during the 100-minute sprint, they were guaranteed a podium finish in their class.
Thankfully, that kind of reserved thinking isn’t part of the Corvette Racing DNA. “It’s the age-old rule in racing: you can’t hit your teammate,” stated C8.R driver, Tommy Milner. “That’s kind of the rule we live by at Corvette Racing, but we are allowed to race.” And race they did! During the entire race, both C8.R Corvettes were never more than two seconds apart, with each driver seeking an opportunity to get ahead. Halfway through the race, traffic afforded Tommy in the #4 Corvette to pass his teammate while the traffic allowed him to retain his lead throughout the remainder of the race.
It’s the age-old rule in racing: you can’t hit your teammate. That’s kind of the rule we live by at Corvette Racing, but we are allowed to race. – Tommy Milner, Corvette Racing
Even with only three cars in its class, Corvette Racing still had plenty of other traffic to contend with on its way to the podium. “Lap traffic is always such a huge part of this race,” explained Tommy. “When you have two cars that are so close and so competitive here together, trying to find an opportunity to pass on the racetrack is difficult. My plan was to stick with Jordan as best I could and take any opportunity that arose in traffic. That’s what happened at Turn Six. Because the GTD cars have ABS, they can brake later than we can. Jordan went for a move on the inside of that corner and it didn’t quite stick. His exit was compromised and I was able to get outside of him on the entry and that’s the preferred line there.”
The singular pass between the two Corvettes helped seal the #4 Corvette’s victory, but when Jordan Taylor pitted the #3 Corvette with approximately 41 minutes remaining, strategy and luck kept the #4 Corvette in the lead. Milner brought his #4 Corvette into the pits the following lap to swap driving with Tandy, who was able to exit the pits ahead of Garcia, now in the #3 Corvette by a mere two seconds!
Tommy handed the #4 Corvette over to fellow teammate, Nick Tandy, who drove the Corvette to the checkered flag. In the #3 Corvette, Antonio Garcia brought the Corvette home in 2nd place, putting the duo one step closer to clinching their second GTLM Driver’s Championship and another Manufacturer’s title for the team. Jordan and Antonio have four wins for the season and five pole positions, plus a runner-up finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The finish was the fourth win at Long Beach for Milner and the second win for Tandy.
Corvette Racing’s next event is the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway on Oct. 8-9.