Corvette aces happy with progress, uncertain of pace for Daytona

Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner are content with progress made with their C8.R over the course of the Roar Before the 24, but they’re less certain of their ultimate pace for the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Corvette aces happy with progress, uncertain of pace for Daytona
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Garcia’s flying lap was compromised by traffic – but may have benefited from the tow – on the faster parts of the track. The result is fourth in the GTD Pro class – 1.3sec off the pacesetting WeatherTech Racing Mercedes – and 12th in GTD overall, and 2sec off the GTD pole by the Winward Racing Mercedes.

Corvette Racing, seeking its sixth win in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, ran 146 laps and 520 miles across the three day test and aside from a steering issue on Friday, ran trouble free.

Garcia described his qualifying run as “a little bit messy,” explaining: “I didn’t know which cars had Pro drivers and which had Bronze drivers. I got caught out a few times but that’s just the way it is. Whatever I lost behind in traffic is what I gained on the draft so it was a trade-off.

“The track changed a little bit with the rain yesterday but it was pretty much the same in the end. The wind was pretty strong so the car felt a little slower. We will see what we can find in the data to try and be a little quicker next week.” 

His full-time teammate Jordan Taylor admitted: “From a pace perspective, it’s hard to tell where we’re going to stack up next week. We’re focusing on what we can control.”

However, the 2020 and ’21 GTLM champion [with Garcia in the C8.R] said that circumstances were a lot better for the Corvette team than in ’22, when the car had just been modified from GTLM to GTD [GT3] standard, according to the new IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship structure.

“Last year, we were guessing on what was going to work and what wasn’t going to work,” recalls Taylor. “I feel like we are so far ahead of where we were last year… Now we’re fine-tuning the car and making small changes here and there to make all three drivers happy.

“It’s nice to have three guys who agree on what the car should feel like. We’re all heading in the same direction from a setup point of view. This weekend was about doing the little things – not just the driver side but also on the crew side and engineering side with things like pitstop practice and driver change practice. We’re very much prepared for next week.”

Tommy Milner, who this year becomes an endurance-only racer for the team, while simultaneously developing the Corvette C8.R Z/06 GT3 variant, said: “From a driver’s perspective, we need to be diligent with our preparation. The car was really good in both the wet and dry conditions. We made some progress there and we’ll come up with a plan to get more speed out of it if we can.

“Having had a full year on this car and tire combination, the crew has the car already in a better place than last year. We have the knowledge and experience from last year, which is helpful. The goal obviously is to win this race, so we’ll take whatever we can from last year’s race and last year’s season to apply it to this year’s Rolex 24.”

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