- García, Taylor, Catsburg team for Corvette Racing’s fourth Rolex 24 win
- Milner, Tandy, Sims finish second in landmark Corvette 1-2 result
- Two Corvettes combine to lead 716 of 770 laps
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 31 2021) – For the fourth time in its history, Corvette Racing stood on the top step of the podium in the Rolex 24 At Daytona as Antonio García, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg won the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
The No. 3 Corvette trio led a 1-2 finish for the mid-engine C8.R, which scored its first endurance victory. Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims placed a hard-fought second in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette in the biggest race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The two Corvettes combined to lead 716 of 770 laps during Saturday and Sunday around the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway. Sunday’s result came 20 years after the Corvette Racing’s first Rolex 24 win in 2001 and five years after another 1-2 team finish.
García and Taylor each won their third career Rolex 24, and Catsburg claimed his first. The trio also provisionally lead the GTLM Drivers Championship with the victory. A year ago, Garcia and Taylor won five times, claimed the Drivers’ Championship, and helped Chevrolet score its 13th GT Manufacturers title and Corvette Racing its 14thTeam Championship.
The two Corvettes were the class of GTLM and ran 1-2 for much of the race. Milner, Tandy and Sims combined to lead 478 laps and ran out front with 45 minutes left in the race before the two Corvettes made their final pit stops. Taylor and Milner waged a close but clean battle that reminded many of the 0.034-second margin of victory for the No. 4 Corvette team at the 2016 Rolex 24. The two cars swapped spots three times in four laps as they jockeyed for position to capitalize on the then-class leading Ferrari’s final stop with 20 minutes left.
This time, things went the way of the No. 3 Corvette as Taylor led the final 13 laps. Unfortunately, he and Catsburg could not celebrate their victory with Garcia, who was informed of a positive COVID-19 test following a double-stint with about six hours to go. Per IMSA Event Operations protocols, Garcia was removed from competition for the remainder of the event. Upon consultation with IMSA, the series determined Corvette Racing met all conditions under the IMSA event protocols, which allowed the team to compete in a safe and responsible manner.
Corvette Racing’s next event is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring from Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway on Saturday, March 20.
ANTONIO GARCÍA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM RACE WINNER: “This is both one of the best days of my career but also one of the most frustrating and disappointing. I did have COVID in late December with some symptoms. I isolated until I fully recovered, and followed all Spanish and CDC protocols to be cleared for traveling. It’s frustrating but there are protocols that are in place for this. It’s painful not to be able to celebrate with Jordan, Nicky and the rest of the team. We worked so hard over the past months and weeks to achieve an endurance win like the Rolex 24. We didn’t make mistakes, we had good pace with the Corvette. After winning the championship a year ago, this was the type or result we all wanted for the start of a new season.”Ever since we started at Daytona with this new car, we knew it would be fast and competitive. Obviously, the preparation we had last year wasn’t enough to win this race. But after the lockdown, that gave us an opportunity to develop the C8.R and we went on to win six races as a team and the championship. Last year, we didn’t manage to win a long race so it was still in our minds to get this, and now we’ve started with a big one like the Rolex. We proved today that Corvette Racing was the strongest team.”I have to say this was a flashback to the 2016 race (a runner-up finish in a Corvette 1-2). It was pretty nerve-wracking when it looked like it could happen again but I’m glad we came out on top this time.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “It is definitely different. My two previous ones were in prototype with my Dad’s team. I never had a chance to finish the race when we won, so I think that part of it was definitely daunting and intimidating. I was extremely nervous the hour leading up to my last stint, just knowing what was at stake and how big of a deal this race is for Corvette Racing and to Chevrolet. To have everyone here and seeing the history of the team at this event… the success is kinda down to your hands in that last couple of hours when you are in the car. I wanted to do my job well and hit my marks and not make mistakes. I had an amazing battle with Tommy (Milner)… super respectful. I thought it was a great race. I’m just so happy. It’s my first class win at Daytona and third Rolex. So unbelievable and I never could have dreamed it any better to be honest.
“It is just a testament to Corvette Racing. It just speaks volumes about the team and proof of what they’ve done in the past and how well they execute these big events. The Corvette C8.R has only done one 24-hour race, and that was last year. So to come back in their second year and finish one-two with no issues is just unbelievable. We had perfect strategy, perfect pit stops and none of the drivers made mistakes. It’s all down to the team and execution and teaching the drivers what they need to do to win these events. It’s an honor to be a part of it. The driver is just a small piece of the whole puzzle. We get to stand on the podium but all the people on the team deserve it. They are the ones that put in the hard work in the offseason to make it all possible. “It was bittersweet to end the day like we did with Antonio having to leave the track after the test. I was super upset and disappointed for him when I got out of the car after what I thought was my last stint and was told he couldn’t get back in the car. He lives for these events, especially this one. He really wanted to finish this race to capitalize on when they finished second in 2016 to kind of make up for that. So I felt bad for him in that respect, but he should be unbelievably proud of this whole team. He is the leader of this No. 3 car. He’s the one that drives the setup of it which is why we were so quick at the end of the race. He’s taught me so much as a driver, understanding the tires, how to do drive the car and understanding this new GT world that I’m in. If it wasn’t for Antonio, there’s no way I would have driven that last stint the way I did. Huge thanks to him. I know I’ll see him in a couple weeks when he can come back into the country and we can hang out and celebrate in person. I know he will hold this Rolex proud. I’m so honored and happy to be a part of this with him. We’ve never won an endurance race as teammates so this is the first one and very special.”
NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “This feels amazing. The Rolex 24 is a race I always wanted to win, and now we did it. It’s a little weird with what has happened with Antonio, but we still did it together and it is an awesome victory. It’s the first endurance win with the Corvette C8.R so yes, this is amazing!”DID THIS COME AS A SURPRISE: “It doesn’t come as a surprise but you still need to make it happen, drive for 24 hours and make no mistakes. The C8.R showed it could do it. It won the championship last year. After a year of development and coming back to Daytona, I always knew we were going to have a shot at this one. The team, the car, the drivers… everything needed to work perfectly and it did.”