No. 3 Corvette takes season’s second victory; Milner, Tandy charge derailed late in race
WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 27, 2021) – Corvette Racing returned to Victory Circle at Watkins Glen International on Sunday with a GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory for Antonio García and Jordan Taylor in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. They drove the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette to a steamy and hard-fought triumph for the team’s first win at Watkins Glen International since 2014.
Pole-winner García won for the second time in the Six Hours while Taylor claimed his first victory in the event. The duo increased their lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTLM standings as they look to repeat their 2020 title.
The fight in the category looked like it would come down to a battle of the mid-engine Corvettes. Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy led a majority of the race in their No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C8.R with Milner taking the lead on the opening lap. The two Corvettes swapped the lead eight times throughout the six hours and were first and second on a restart with a little less than 40 minutes to go.
Tandy, who held the lead through two pit stop cycles thanks to excellent pit work and car performance, held point when the race went back green but reported a mechanical issue that severely handicapped the No. 4 Corvette. He just missed out a podium finish for he and Milner.
That left Garcia to hold off John Edwards in the No. 24 GTLM entry over the last five laps. The two had to battle through class leaders in other categories, and Garcia held on for a 0.845-second winning margin.
Taylor drove a marathon two-hour, 30-minute stint in the middle of the race and swapped the lead with both Tandy and Milner during his time in the No. 3 Corvette. That left Garcia to drive his own tense, nail-biting triple stint to the finish.
ANTONIO GARCÍA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM RACE-WINNER: IT LOOKED LIKE A BATTLE BETWEEN TEAMMATES BUT THEN IT GOT DIFFERENT TOWARD THE END.“It was another great battle with our teammates and the BMWs. They were all very strong. The start was a little confusing with all the debris in Turn One. I played it a little bit careful, and Tommy went around me. From that point on, it was a flat-out fight with our teammates and the BMWs. There was no time to rest. At times we were behind and at another times we were ahead. With about 2:30 left, the two BMWs went on a different strategy so we had to cover them. We split ours with the 4 because we had to do it. That put us ahead of them at the time but they got ahead when the last pit stop came. We had the pace and knew it was going to be not only a lot of fast laps but also to manage tire wear and tire temperature. Stints here were very hard on the tires. The 4 car lost some pace at the end. I don’t know if they had some trouble. It would have been nice to get a Corvette 1-2 but in GTLM you cannot miss a thing. As soon as you start losing time, other cars are on you. Even at the end, it felt like I had a comfortable margin over John (Edwards) of about three or four seconds. Then all the classes got together with about two laps to go – DPis, GTDs, LMP2s, LMP3s and us. Fortunately there were no crashes and no yellows, and I managed to stay ahead and bring home a victory. I’m happy for Corvette and Team Chevy.”
IN THE TRAFFIC… DID YOU HAVE ANY CLOSE CALLS?“Oh yes, many. Not for myself but people trying to get by me in very, very dangerous places. I had a three-wide I think with the 48 with Kobayashi or whoever was driving going into the grass on my right. I was just praying that any car wouldn’t hit me. That was the thing there… to stay calm but be aggressive because the No. 24 was there right behind me. Initially I played it a little bit safe but when I saw him coming, I knew I had to go. That is the classic thing. We saw this at Sebring already. With all these classes, and the way we do these restarts with all the LMP3s going ahead of us, it creates some difficult situations on the track. But when you have that many classes on the track, that is the way it is. You need to live with that and play it smarter than the rest. It’s not only about being fast but being smart enough to clear everybody.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM RACE-WINNER:YOU ARE THE POINTS LEADER AND THIS IS THE FIRST WIN AT THE GLEN FOR YOU HOW DOES THIS FEEL?“It is awesome. You nailed it I think. I think this is one of the only tracks I haven’t won here on the IMSA calendar. Lime Rock might be another one. I don’t think I’ve won there. Only a couple of poles maybe. Watkins Glen has always been a big one, the Six Hours especially. I finished second back in 2011 with Autohaus where we probably could have won the championship with that win.“It’s been a long time coming, but it is great to be back here with Corvette Racing. The first time here with the C8.R and with testing, to come out here and win the race, and have a possible one-two… it was just an unfortunate event there for the No. 4 there at the end, but I can’t be prouder of the whole team.”
A LONG HOT RACE, BUT LEADING BOTH CHAMPIONSHIPS MUST MAKE ONLY FOUR DAYS OFF A LITTLE SWEETER?“That does definitely make nicer. It’s good to have a couple of days to rest on it as the guys go through the data to see where we can improve for next week. It’s going to be another fight next week, and we will try and maximize the points again.
WAS IT DIFFICULT TO GET INTO A RHYTHM?“It was definitely an odd race, especially with the LMP3 cars cycling to the front of the GT packs every time and we have to drive through that. You saw at the end with a couple laps to go how we caught a big GT pack mixed in with some LMP3s. You mix in the Prototypes and the other cars coming though, it was mayhem. It was crazy but at the same time that is part of IMSA. That is what makes this series great and what makes sports car racing amazing. Thankfully Antonio kept a cool head and brought it home.”
THERE WAS PROBLEM WITH THE REAR OF THE NO. 4 AT THE END? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT WAS AND WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT YOUR CAR?‘We only heard what you said. I don’t think any of the guys said anything about seeing anything in the data. The guys will go through the data. We have a couple of days to have a look at it. This car is still relatively new so it is good testing for us to get these endurance races under our belts before we head overseas to Le Mans.”
WINNING THE SIX HOURS FOR THE FIRST TIME.“It was huge. I grew up watching my dad race. He always talked about his favorite tracks, and Watkins Glen was always at the top of the list. I could be wrong, but I think this is the one he didn’t win as a driver. Ricky (Taylor) won for him as a team owner, and that’s the first time he won here. I finished second in 2011 in GRAND-AM with Tommy (Milner) as my teammate. So it’s been high on the list every year. It seemed like something always went wrong. But this was a perfect weekend. Antonio got pole. It’s our first time here with the C8.R – no testing just time in the simulator. It was very impressive that we rolled off the truck as strong as we did. We made very minor tweaks, so big kudos to the team for the preparation coming in here.”