No. 3 Corvette takes GTLM victory over teammates Milner, Tandy in No. 4 C8.R
WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 27, 2021) – Antonio García and Jordan Taylor won for Corvette Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech 240 on Friday, their second GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at Watkins Glen International in five days.
Garcia got the jump on Corvette Racing teammate Tommy Milner – sharing the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette with Nick Tandy– on a traffic-filled restart with 28 minutes remaining in a storm-interrupted race.
Taylor led from pole position before Tandy moved ahead in the No. 4 Corvette about 15 minutes into the race. The gap between the teammates constantly ebbed and flowed with traffic – from slower GTD and LMP3 cars and the quicker DPi and LMP2 runners.
Taylor was the first Corvette driver to hit pitlane at 51 minutes running. He came in from second place in class and handed over to Garcia, who left with a full tank of fuel and fresh Michelin tires. Tandy carried on for another two laps before stopping just before the pits closed for the race’s full-course caution period.
Milner got in the 4 Corvette and returned to the lead behind the safety car. Heavy rain started to pelt parts of the circuit with the field under yellow. Two laps later, race officials halted the race due to a lightning strike in the immediate area of Watkins Glen.
The field began rolling again with 50 minutes to go behind the safety car. Another full-course caution period with 36 minutes left forced another reset before the race went green the rest of the way.
ANTONIO GARCÍA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM RACE-WINNER: «We can’t complain, for sure. The main thing is the C8.R is really, really strong and kind of easy to drive in those conditions. Somehow that red flag was kind of a relief. It was going to be a nightmare out there between Turn Six and Turn Eight. Luckily there was a red flag, which made things still interesting because we had to stay on slicks. I knew that was the main thing but I had to take chances there. I knew it was wet, but I had to be a little more aggressive than Tommy. He got caught out in the last corner with some of the P cars, so I had to take advantage. The grip was very, very good. I opened the gap and then just maintained because you never know… there might have been another yellow and I had to have good tires for the end. I’m very happy with the No. 3 C8.R, but obviously Team Chevy and Corvette Racing are doing a great job. I’m looking forward to the next race and especially Le Mans which is coming soon.»It was very challenging for sure. We pitted just before the red flag, and so did the 4 car. That would have been a key part of the race without the red because it would have been interesting to know how Tommy would have dealt with the damp track on cold tires. Those one or two laps of green before the red let me switch on the tires a little bit, at least. Even if we had to wait for a half-hour, somehow I heated up the tires pretty quickly before the start. Tommy was the one who had to take the risks. The first restart after yellow, I knew I could switch on the tire a little bit better than him. So on the second one I was all-out and he got caught up on the last corner with some P cars. I just took advantage. After that, you had to close your eyes. From the Carousel onward, you had to believe the grip would be there. I knew the first two laps would be the main thing in the race. I could pull out those two seconds and kept the gap from that point. From that point, Tommy was the one who had to take the risks to close in. I didn’t want to push so hard because you never know if you’ll go yellow again and I’d need good tires. It was a good battle with our teammates, which is difficult because they have the same car and same tools as you. I’m very happy for Corvette to go 1-2. We’re looking forward to the next few races, and Le Mans is coming closer. We’re looking forward to that too.»
THE PASS FOR THE LEAD.«It was green for us but I made the pass basically coming out of the last corner. We weren’t side-by-side into Turn One. I knew after the Bus Stop that it would be a little wet so I took a little more risk than Tommy did to open the gap and hold it. I was lucky that I could keep the car on the track. It can go either way. You can pull out a second or put it in the wall. I was glad for the first option.»
WERE THERE OTHER DIFFICULT MOMENTS AFTER THAT?«Oh yeah, but there were for Tommy as well. We were both flat out. The car was really good in those conditions. We realized that all last year with all the wet races we had. The C8.R looks very strong in all conditions.»
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM RACE-WINNER: «I was struggling with tire temp in the beginning. But once I got in a rhythm, the car kind of came to life for the second half of my stint. Once we handed it over to Antonio, the weather hit and we had a red flag. We were happy to see it go green again. Obviously we had a great spot on TV today to get some great racing in. Antonio made a great restart and was able to get by the No. 4 car and then kind of maintain it from there. So another great day for Corvette Racing going one-two and another great day for us in the No. 3 car.»It was a good race all the way through. We had a good battle with the 4 car all day. I ran second most of my stint and then the way the pit cycle worked, it was going to be interesting to see how it fell through with fuel strategy and tire warm-up. Once it went red, we knew we had some practice time and qualifying in intermittent conditions, so we had some good confidence in what the car would be like once it went back green. Antonio got by the 4 car on the restart and maintained that gap through the end. It’s another great day for Corvette Racing with a 1-2 finish and for us in the 3 Corvette to go back-to-back with the Six Hours last weekend.»
HOW MUCH FUN IS IT RACING AGAINST YOUR TEAMMATES?«I’d say it’s fun, but it’s stressful at the same time. There are no team orders of who will win the race. They let us race on track, but obviously any contact will be frowned upon. We had a head-to-head battle at Daytona and the last couple of weekends has been head-to-head. The guys in the 4 car are professionals and two of the best in GT racing. Like Antonio said, it’s great to have that rivalry but it’s difficult when you’ve got such great drivers in both cars. You’re competing against the best in the same equipment. We’ve come out on top the last two races but just as easily those guys could have won as well.»