Corvette Racing in the Heat of the Battle at Daytona: Six Hour Report



DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 29, 2022) – Corvette Racing found itself in the thick of the GT Daytona (GTD) PRO battle following the first six hours of the Rolex 24 At Daytona with its pair of mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs. It’s the first race in the GTD category for the Corvette Racing program, which ran sixth and seventh at quarter-distance.

Nicky Catsburg was in his second stint in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C8.R following double-stints for both Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor to start. Catsburg was the highest-placed Corvette, one position ahead of Marco Sorensen in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM C8.R. He followed stints by Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner, which had a slightly better pace than the sister car in the early going.

The first six hours featured four full-course cautions and abnormally cold conditions for Daytona Beach. The Corvettes also were dealing with an overall performance deficit but were staying close to the lead pack with fuel economy and pitlane strategy in an attempt to gain track position.

Corvette Racing’s next update will come at the halfway point of the Rolex 24.

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “It was a little chaotic but not much. We know how the race is going to be. The first restart with the LMP3s around us was a little bit different. We need to know and learn how they are on these restarts. This is still the very early stage of the race but there are people who are being aggressive and some others not so much. So we need to stay with it. It looks like we can hold our position and keep track of the leaders more or less, which is important. We will carry on and see how the track and race develop. We can definitely follow people but I don’t know about catching them or leading the way. I don’t know if it will be easy or not. That’s the way it is right now.”

JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “It is definitely chaos out there right now. A lot of guys want to be at the front and that’s fine with me. They can race as hard as they want but for us we just need to stay out of trouble. We don’t have outright pace to battle with them. We’re good on strategy right now and saving fuel every stint to try and maximize that. But yeah, it’s chaotic. Mixing it up with LMP3 cars and slow LMP2 cars has caused some mayhem. Throughout the night, the name of the game is staying out of trouble. Hopefully come Sunday we have a strong Corvette and a car in one piece.”

WILL IT GET MORE TREACHEROUS OVERNIGHT WITH THE TEMPS DROPPING? “If we have yellows then it will breed more yellows because the cold tires are so hard to get temp in. It wasn’t as bad as I expected but I think it will get worse during the night. The good thing is that once the tires to get temperatures in them, the grip is actually higher than what we’ve all weekend, which is nice. So you can push the car a little bit harder. That’s a positive but keeping out of trouble during restarts will be a huge part of it.”

NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “So far so good. The first couple of stints were quite good. There obviously was a yellow early when everyone needed to stop in GTD. So it was good to experience the whole field coming in together. On our side it’s running pretty well. We’re finding that when we are in a pack, we aren’t too bad because we can draft off the cars in front. We seem pretty strong in the infield. It just becomes a bit different when we drop off the back of the pack; it looks like some of the leaders seem to stretch out their legs a little bit.”

HOW MUCH ARE YOU LEARNING ABOUT THE GTD CORVETTE? “We were learning every session. We know the car. We know a lot about everything to do with how it operates. We know the tires. We’ve tested on the tires. We’ve tested the ABS and things like this. What we’re learning here is how everything translates and works together at Daytona with Daytona-specific aero requirements, suspension, geometry settings and tire pressures. This was something we’ve been learning throughout the week. The key thing is getting the car to work with the tire. That can vary from track to track how you make the most of it. It’s very different than before where we could select the tire we wanted and effectively develop the tire around our Corvette in GTLM. Now we have to work the car around the tire we’re given, which everyone does in GTD. This is one of the key differences.”

WITH MORE CARS IN THE CLASS, IS IT DIFFERENT? “Yep! So far, I haven’t experienced too much of it to be honest. We had kind of a clean start and we were more to the front of the pack. But I’ve just seen on a restart there was a mix of cars – some had pitted and some had stayed out. When there are 35 cars by design that are capable of doing the same lap time in a space like Daytona, plus the other 30 cars out there, that’s something very new for us. It was kind of the like the GRAND-AM days when there were two separate classes. This is probably somewhat similar. In the last few years, we’ve had four or five classes and all the cars had a different spread. Now there’s a much bigger group that are all similar speed. That was really the first time we’ve seen the grid mixed up on a restart. Hopefully it’s not going to carry on like that.”

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “It was chaotic but honestly a lot of fun. It’s been a long time since we’ve had to race that hard from start to finish of my stint. We’re still kind of where we expected, a little slow to be sure. We’ll try to use whatever tools we possibly can. It looks like we can go a little longer on fuel but I’m not sure we can make up that deficit that we have on pace but we’ll try for sure. I was really happy with the Corvette. The first stint wasn’t great but we made a change for the second stint and it was much better. With the change and maybe the track conditions, it looks like our pace improved. I’m very happy with it and it’s been great so far. We’ll let these smart Corvette Racing engineers try to figure out how to keep us moving toward the front.”

JORDAN SAID THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TIRES WERE BETTER THAN HE EXPECTED WHEN THEY GOT UP TO TEMP. DID YOU FIND THAT TRUE AS WELL? “Yes. From talking to other drivers in GTD in the past, this customer tire suffers a little bit more in heat, so in these conditions it’s kind of ideal for it. For sure it’s tough to get heat in the tire but we’re doing our best there. But once we do, there is a lot of grip just like Jordan said.”

Source: Corvette Racing

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