García, Taylor, Milner fight from behind to challenge for GTD PRO class win.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2023) – Corvette Racing started its 25th season of competition with a runner-up class finish Sunday in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner teamed up for the second-place GT Daytona (GTD) PRO result in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
After a drive back from two laps down in the middle of the night – due to a flat left-rear tire and a rear brake change – the No. 3 C8.R moved back to not just contention for the Rolex victory but to the lead just before sunrise Sunday morning.
The chaotic events of the middle eight hours looked like they would give way with a caution-free run of more than five hours into mid-morning. Taylor drove a double-stint for his final laps in the car and led the class multiple times. At that point and with a little more than three hours to go, Milner took over from Taylor and drove two stints of hard, intense racing that saw the Corvette and two other competitors swap the GTD PRO lead.
Milner gave way to Garcia for an even more chaotic final one hour, 45 minutes. The top three cars – the 3 Corvette, the 14 Lexus and 79 Mercedes – swapped back and forth through three full-course caution periods in the span of an hour and 20 minutes before a final 26-minute run to the flag with Garcia coming home second in class.
An up-and-down middle eight hours saw Corvette Racing re-emerge from two laps down and back into contention for a class victory as daylight arrived Sunday. The three Corvette Racing drivers each drove triple-stints through the darkness as they rotated through the C8.R for the second time.
Garcia, who started the race Saturday, worked with the Corvette Racing engineers to improve tire performance through his three stints. By the time he handed over to Taylor a little before the 10-hour mark, the C8.R was in a better state than when Garcia took over as Taylor left the pitlane in the class lead thanks to a solid stop by the Corvette pit crew.
Things began to look dire near the 10.5-hour mark when the No. 3 Corvette suffered a left-rear flat tire just before Taylor came on the Turn 1 speedway banking while running second in class. He nursed the car back to pitlane even as the tire came off the wheel before the Corvette made it back to pit entry.
The team quickly changed tires but had to stop a lap later to change the Corvette’s rear brakes due to damage from the flat tire. It dropped the No. 3 C8.R to two laps down.
Critically, Taylor was able to stay ahead of the GTD PRO leader and not lose another lap before a full-course yellow just before the halfway point of the race. The Corvette Racing crew got a lap back during a pass-around before stopping for fuel and tires, and then the crew changed the front brakes a lap later to return the Corvette to full strength – and the lead lap – with just over 11-and-a-half hours to go.
Taylor gave way to Milner from the sixth position in class about an hour later with the Corvette rejoining in fifth. Less than an hour into his opening stint, the race’s eighth full-course caution drew Milner closer to the front. He ran third in class and seven seconds from the lead as the race entered the final eight hours.
Corvette Racing’s next event in the WeatherTech Championship is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 18.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTD PRO: “P2 at Daytona… it was a bit crazy out there. With the P3 cars ahead of us, it was a lottery especially in turns One and Three. Everybody was getting super crazy. When you have a car with ABS, you can just go for it and that’s what people are doing. But we did all we could. That was all we had. A lot of times, I was very surprised to be where we were. We seemed to be good on fuel, which seemed to be our only chance. We just didn’t have the outright pace.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTD PRO:“The Rolex 24 is always kind of a stand-alone race for us every year. If you look at our race as a whole, we had some adversity during the night but came from two laps down. Everyone executed well. We were in the hunt most of the way. We didn’t have the outright pace, but it was a true Corvette Racing race where we battled our way back to second. We started with a third-place car and finished second, so that’s a win in our book.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTD PRO:“Based on how everything was going in practice and in the Roar, I think P2 in the end is quite good. When you have a chance to fight for the win like that and for us to run up front for so much of the race, to miss it by that much at the end is tough. We knew going in that the Mercedes guys were quick, the Aston was quick, the Lexus was quick. It was a great job by the team to persevere and to keep pushing all throughout the race. My teammates did a great job. We were just missing a little bit of pace at the end. It was a good race for all three of us. We were racing super-hard and pushing super-hard. We just came up a little short.”