Garcia, Taylor battle to the front to second-place class finish in California street fight.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 15, 2023) – Some second-place finishes are better than others. That was the story for Corvette Racing on Saturday as Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R earned a runner-up GT Daytona (GTD) PRO result in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
On a day where nothing came easy and passing was limited, the Corvette team – drivers, crew and engineers – made the most of its opportunities to claw forward two spots from the start and earn valuable points in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD PRO standings.
Garcia started the race in fourth after Friday’s qualifying but ran the first 10 minutes of Saturday’s 100-minute sprint under full-course yellow due to a crash involving two GTP cars. Once the race went back green, he was able to stay within reach of the four lead GTD cars – three PRO entries and one regular GTD competitor – as the pack began to run up on lap traffic.
The first pit stops began near the 35-minute mark, and the No. 3 C8.R team brought in Garcia to swap over to Taylor after 40 minutes and running third in class. A quick service of a full fuel load and four fresh Michelin tires, plus a stellar out-lap by Taylor meant the Corvette didn’t just hold on to third place, it gained more than three seconds on Klaus Bachler in the second-place Porsche.
After some hard, side-to-side racing, Taylor stayed within one second of the No. 9 and made a strong, decisive move into Turn Six with a huge dive to the inside of the Porsche – straight out of his recent experience in the NASCAR Cup Series – with 40 minutes left to take the second-place spot.
GTD lap traffic and faster GTP cars going by meant that Taylor had to spend the rest of the race with Bachler right on the rear bumper of the Corvette. Taylor stayed tough and held the position as the race ended during another full-course caution.
Corvette Racing’s next event in the IMSA championship is May 12-14 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTD PRO: “Starting where we started, it was really difficult to do something super-crazy to gain positions. On pure speed, we had no real advantage to make a move. The only way was to do it by strategy as we did and then play the traffic like Jordan did to gain those spots. I think we had a fourth-place car and we finished second, so we can be happy for once at Long Beach! We didn’t have the pace to win or really fight for it like we have had in the past. It sounds strange, but I’m happy with second.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTD PRO: “We had a good Corvette – maybe a fourth-place car on pace. Antonio did a good job from fourth in his stint, which is where we were speed-wise. The guys made a good call in the pits to try and jump some guys. We came out even with the Porsche, and they were pretty aggressive on their out-lap and pushed me wide at the fountain. Once he pushed me once, I knew it was fair to push him back. Once I got close enough, he defended pretty aggressively and I wasn’t going to let up. I gave him a little tap from the NASCAR world and was able to get by. It was difficult to defend the rest of the race. I’m glad traffic worked out relatively well to keep him behind us, so a great day for us points-wise. We had a fourth-place car and to come away with second and beating two guys who probably should have been on the podium, we can be proud of that. At the end of the year when we look back on the championship, hopefully this is one we count for some good points.”