Corvette Racing’s 100th win in IMSA took a painstakingly long time to achieve, but finally came to be on July 4 during the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona.
It was a historic night in more ways than one. Not only did it snap a winning hiatus of more than two years for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) team, it marked the return to racing for IMSA following a five-month racing hiatus of its own. It also came exactly 10 years after the most recent summertime night race at Daytona International Speedway took place and was the first victory for the new Chevrolet Corvette C8.R in just its second race.
But now that history has been made, what now?
Well, it’s back to business at this weekend’s Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring.
First Win for Garcia Since 2018
Antonio Garcia had been waiting even longer than the rest of the team for another trip to victory lane. The last time he won in the No. 3 Corvette was at VIRginia International Raceway in 2017. Although he and then-co-driver Jan Magnussen won back-to-back GTLM titles in 2017 and 2018, that doesn’t mean he was satisfied.
"It was definitely a good race for us," said Garcia, who won alongside new-for-2020 teammate Jordan Taylor. "Knowing that it was the 100th win for Corvette Racing was very special. We had been waiting for a long time since the 99th victory. I wish there had been more victories with C7.R but getting this win with everything going on this year was a blessing for everyone. After five months of not having track activity, it meant a lot to the guys who had never stopped working on the development of the C8.R."
It was Garcia’s 18th IMSA victory and Taylor’s 22nd.
Jordan Taylor, Future NASCAR Driver?
With the announcement that NASCAR would be bringing its Cup, Xfinity, Trucks and ARCA Series to Daytona International Speedway on Aug. 16-18 – an off weekend for IMSA – the news has piqued the interest of a handful of IMSA drivers, including Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor.
Taylor nearly made his debut at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Watkins Glen International, but the deal fell through at the last minute. Could something solidify this time around for the Orlando-based driver?
"Kind of," Taylor admitted "I got an ARCA offer and I don’t know if you’d call it an offer in a Cup car. The conversation was a little bit confusing. I’ve always wanted to do a NASCAR road course race. I’m a big fan of that style of racing in that type of car. I’d love to try it. Daytona is a home track for me, and I’d be right around the corner.
"Obviously, I have a lot of laps around there. I’m not sure how the weekend will work. Seeing what they’ve done these past few races where they have no practices and go straight into the race, a guy with a little bit of track experience could have maybe a small advantage at the beginning even though I’m sure a lot of those guys probably have done a lot of simulator work as well. It obviously would be a big learning curve to jump into one of those cars and figure it out at the same time. I’d definitely love to try it if there is an opportunity, hopefully in a Chevrolet vehicle."
Gavin Makes It Doubly Sweet in No. 4 Corvette
With a two-car team, only one could bring home the precious 100th trophy. While the No. 3 Corvette was the one to do it, that’s not to say the sister No. 4 car didn’t find success of its own at the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona.
Oliver Gavin made history for the team by earning the first pole position for the Corvette C8.R just hours before the race. It was a small "victory" for he and co-driver Tommy Milner, and the No. 3 Corvette went on to make it an all-Chevrolet front row with a second-place qualifying effort.
"It was great to get pole position at Daytona," said Gavin. "I really enjoyed that lap. The car really did come together in qualifying, and it was a huge amount of fun to drive. I think everyone who has driven the C8.R would say that the feedback and enjoyment you get when it gets hooked up and starts to roll is fantastic.
"It was great to see that we could get a clean sweep on the front row in qualifying, and it was great to see the No. 3 get the victory. Our strategy didn’t play out that day, but that’s the way it is. We’re two cars from one team that is striving to get race wins and ultimately a championship."
Milner Confident in Team’s Sebring Testing
The nationwide shutdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic significantly hampered Corvette Racing’s ability to test the new Corvette C8.R at IMSA tracks around the country. But one place they were able to log a few laps this spring was Sebring International Raceway.
So, while the team will face steep learning curves at most, if not the rest of the tracks on the schedule, there’s a feeling amongst the group that their disadvantage won’t be as large as one might think.
"With the C8.R being a new car, some of these racetracks we won’t have tested at in person," Tommy Milner explained. "Fortunately, Sebring is one of the places we have tested, so that should be to our strength a little bit. We’ve done some simulator testing at Sebring as well, so having that experience and in real life should shorten any learning curve we might have.
"We still have some areas we’d like to improve obviously. The car was pretty good at Daytona. The team has such a long history at Sebring that there’s a lot we can pull from with past experiences and the testing we have done with this car to start the weekend off strong and hopefully improve a little bit as we did at Daytona to give us another great chance at the race."
Milner and Gavin collected Corvette Racing’s 99th win at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach in April 2018 and will be looking to snap their own winless streak this weekend.