Unfortunate turn of events as BMW nudges the class leading #3 Corvette C8.R just enough to allow Porsche to slip by and win the GTLM class at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring
If you were up last night watching the final minutes of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring race, you were no doubt – shouting obscenities at the TV.
With Antonio Garcia behind the wheel of the #3 Corvette C8.R, the Corvette Racing Team managed to climb into first in class within the last hour and a half of the race, and it looked like Garcia would be untouchable going forward. Alas, it was not meant to be.
The BMW team got a little greedy going into a corner bumping Garcia just enough to cause both cars to lose control. With Porsche breathing down the necks of the Corvette and BMW – Porsche was able to slither by the melee to grab first place just before the checkered flag.
It was a major disappointment for the Corvette Racing Team! 🙁
CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: What Might Have Been
Corvette Racing Press Release
SEBRING, Fla. (March 20, 2021) – Corvette Racing ended an up-and-down day with fourth- and fifth-place class finishes in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts. Both Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs faced adversity throughout, and the team nearly won for the 13th time at Sebring International Raceway.
The No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg placed fourth in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category after leading much of the day in the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Garcia began on the class pole position, and the trio controlled from the outset and led 211 of 334 laps. After winning the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, the No. 3 Corvette team appeared on its way to a Florida sweep before Garcia was spun from the lead with less than 10 minutes remaining.
On the opposite side of the Corvette garage, the No. 4 Corvette C8.R trio of Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims had a day to forget. Beginning the race second in GTLM, the No. 4 C8.R developed an electrical problem from the outset that hampered the Corvette’s performance. Milner, Tandy and Sims – who finished second in GTLM at Daytona – were fifth in class Saturday at Sebring.
Despite a couple of mid-race setbacks, the Garcia/Taylor/Catsburg trio re-established themselves as the race entered twilight with a mix of fuel savings and solid strategy. A fortunate pit stop before a full-course caution period with less than two hours to go allowed the No. 3 Corvette to take the lead, although never by more than three seconds.
Garcia drove the final 2.5 hours and attempted to work his way through traffic when he was forcefully hit under braking by the second-place GTLM car and sent spinning out of the hairpin Turn 7.
The front-left of the C8.R was damaged, and Garcia had to pit with a flat tire. The damage was too great, and the No. 3 Corvette missed the podium.
The outcome spoiled a weekend in which Corvette Racing and Chevrolet celebrated a 25-year technology partnership with Mobil 1. Both of the Corvette C8.Rs sported liveries that matched the Mobil 1 brand.
Corvette Racing’s next event is the Six Hours of Spa in the FIA World Endurance Championship on May 1.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FOURTH IN GTLM: “I don’t know what to say. I’m definitely disappointed in the whole situation. It was a very hard race for all of us. We managed to be up there, and with two stints to go we were both going flat-out. It definitely was between them (the No. 25) and us. Up to that point, it was fair. The whole thing was good. He was pushing hard, and I was pushing as hard as I could. I think we put on a good show but I’m disappointed with the way it ended. I’m sure we would have been super happy to bring home a real result. It’s a tough break, especially after such a long race. I’m disappointed for the guys, for Corvette, for Team Chevy and the fans. We all deserved a little bit better. We will just move on. My next stop is Spa and I’m looking forward to that and the rest of the season. Thank you to Jordan and Nicky… it’s just a tough break.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FOURTH IN GTLM: “It’s definitely a tough end to the day. We came back from some adversity mid-race which is good and got back in the race with strategy and good fuel mileage for the last few hours. We were able to jump everybody in the pits on that last yellow stop which was great. Then Antonio was able to build a small gap and maintain it. Unfortunately the race ended the way it did. But at least we were competitive. When we were here for the 12 Hours last year, we had our own issues we had to deal with. So taking some positives away, we ran a flawless race reliability-wise for our car with no issues, so I think that is one promising thing we can leave here with and only hope for better next time.”
NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FOURTH IN GTLM: “It was crazy… up and down. We went from in the lead to being almost last to being in the lead and then being fourth. Honestly, there were too many mistakes from our side but we recovered and did really well. The Corvette held up really well even after my spin; the car was still in good shape. We managed to get back with good strategy and good pace. Then it looked like we were going for the win… we had the right man at the right moment in the car. This is typical Sebring, though. You see the same thing in Sebring every year. You win some and you lose some. This was very unfortunate, a bit of a divebomb from the 25. These things happen. We need to regroup, learn from the mistakes we made and try to improve for the next race.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FIFTH IN GTLM: “Frustrating is probably the best word to describe it. It was a bit of a waste of a race for us unfortunately. I felt something wrong pretty much at the start and we were low on power. We drove the entire 12 hours like that. While I was out there, I didn’t know what was wrong and why we couldn’t fix it. I don’t know those answers. So yeah… it was pretty frustrating.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FIFTH IN GTLM: “Obviously it was a tough race for the whole team. On the No. 4 side of the garage, to know we were going into the battle with one hand tied behind our back right from the very beginning was tough, but there was optimism. The guys did everything possible to try and figure out and resolve the issue. But in the end we took the view that it would be better to carry on and try to pick up pieces if anything happened rather than take time out and spend a lot of time in the garage. I’m proud of the people for the work they put in trying to get the car to the end. We accomplished that. It goes to show the vagaries of motorsports from the highs of Daytona to the lows of Sebring. This is how motorsport is sometimes.”
ALEXANDER SIMS, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FIFTH IN GTLM: “It was a tough day for everyone on the whole team. Certainly on the 4 car, it was a long day. It was quite clear very quickly that we were going to be up against it to get anything from the race. We went into it seeing what we could salvage, and in the end we couldn’t salvage much. From a personal point of view, it was good to get more miles in the Corvette. I found a decent amount of performance in myself between first stint and second stint in the car. It was helpful to keep gaining miles. In practices this weekend, you only get 10 or 12 laps before the race starts, and that’s just not enough to get back into it. That’s the biggest positive from my side.”