García, Taylor, Catsburg continue strong season in GTLM championship push
BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 18, 2020) – Corvette Racing’s Antonio García, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg posted a runner-up class finish Saturday in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The trio narrowly missed sending their No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R to its sixth victory of the season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) class.
After a wild and crazy afternoon, the No. 3 Corvette team finished just 1.779 seconds from its third straight class victory. The result, though, was good enough to increase the Drivers’ Championship lead for Garcia, Taylor and the No. 3 Corvette C8.R team to 28 points with two races to go. Chevrolet grew its lead in the Manufacturers standings to 16 points.
Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler placed fourth in class with the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. Both of the mid-engine Corvettes led multiple times on a topsy-turvy day. Gaps between cars in GTLM rose and fell on a whim in traffic, which wasn’t unexpected around the challenging and undulating 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course.
Garcia began from the GTLM pole, dropped to fourth at the start but regained the lead by the time his 94-minute opening run finished, thanks to skillful driving and great pit work by the No. 3 Corvette crew. The team twice gained three spots on pit stops in the race. Taylor drove a double-stint and again pitted from the lead to hand over to Catsburg near the three-and-a-half-hour mark for his only double stint of the race.
Taylor took back over just past the halfway point and remained in contention into darkness before Garcia’s final triple stint to close. A full-course caution period with 11 minutes left gave Garcia – who earlier took advantage of trouble for Jesse Krohn’s race-leading BMW with 37 minutes remaining to move into second place – his chance to pounce on Fred Makowiecki’s leading Porsche.
Unfortunately a final caution period following the restart with five minutes left meant the race ended under full-course yellow.
Milner drove a triple-stint to start in the No. 4 Corvette and led twice in his opening run after starting the race fifth in class. Fässler was in next and kept the car in contention before Gavin got in nearly three hours in. From that point, the No. 4 Corvette struggled to match the ultimate pace of the race leaders, although both Milner and Fässler drove strong stints in the race’s second half to keep the No. 4 Corvette in contention for a podium finish to the end.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – SECOND IN GTLM: «The late yellows may have been the difference. We didn’t have the pace against the 24. I tried very hard in my first stint when I got back in the car at night. We managed to gap both of the Porsches, and they went on a different strategy than us. I got held up by the 25 BMW, and that hurt. I don’t know if he didn’t know I was there. I had to pit a little sooner than expected, and from that point we were on the back foot. My middle stint wasn’t as good compared to the 911, and even if I picked up the pace at the end of the stint then it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t defend against him when I came out of the pits on cold tires (with 45 minutes left). Without a yellow, it would have been a question as to who would make the tires last the longest. We were both pushing hard. There was a chance for us but it was another second at Petit Le Mans. Looking back at the season, if this is a bad result then I will take it! We are in good shape for the championship. From that standpoint, we can be very happy of the consistency and being able to fight at every single race. We’ll go and try to win the last two and close it out.»
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – SECOND IN GTLM: «That was a tough race, but was a good day overall for Corvette Racing. When you look at the whole day, it was pretty flawless for the No. 3 side – no issues on the track, no issues in the pits, perfect strategy and perfect in the pits. To come away with P2 is great. It’s good for the points. But you always want to win these big ones when you have the opportunity. I think if we had gone green at the end then Antonio would have had something for the 911. It was unfortunate to see it go yellow at the end, but overall it was a good day.»
NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – SECOND IN GTLM: «It was a nice race but very busy. It’s cool to be on the podium at this event with this car, this team and these teammates. Somehow it feels like we could have gotten a win, but I’m still happy with P2. It’s been a good event for us. The team and drivers did a faultless job. Maybe we didn’t have the pace at the end, but this was still a cool event for us. I had a moment with one of the Porsches that went too far in my opinion. He was racing like it was the last lap of the race and was pretty unacceptable. I think he got a drive-through penalty for it. But other than that I was quite happy with the double-stint I did and am looking forward to being back in the Corvette at Sebring.»