The WeatherTech Championship Quartet Helps Introduce a New Limited Edition Corvette
By Mike Brudenell
DETROIT, Mich. – IMSA veteran Jordan Taylor is usually headed for France this time of year for the classic 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
But with the 2021 Le Mans event rescheduled for later this summer, Taylor was instead cruising across the historic MacArthur Bridge in the Motor City in a sleek new 2022 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition on route to the Raceway at Belle Isle, where he’ll compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race version of the Corvette on Saturday.
Taylor was flanked in Stingrays by fellow Corvette Racing drivers Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Antonio Garcia.
The quartet, who drive the all-conquering mid-engine Corvette C8.R in the WeatherTech Championship, were part of a celebration on Belle Isle dedicated to Corvette Racing’s domination of the 2020 season, where the team won six GT Le Mans (GTLM) races, seven poles and swept the manufacturer, driver and team championships.
On Saturday, Taylor will team with Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette, while Milner and Tandy will run the No. 4 Corvette in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, a 100-minute race around Belle Isle’s 2.35-mile, 14-turn temporary street circuit. The race will air live at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and IMSA Radio.
A Corvette Racing GT car has not competed at Belle Isle since 2008, so Jim Campbell – the U.S. Vice President of Performance and Motorsports for General Motors – was delighted as he stood on the main straight of the track to meet the fleet of Stingrays.
“For Chevrolet and the Corvette Racing team to be back on Belle Isle is absolutely fantastic,” Campbell said. “We have wanted to race a Corvette here for years but we had conflicts with Le Mans. I’m so very proud that Corvette is back racing in Detroit, within sight of the GM World Headquarters Building. I just can’t wait for the race on Saturday. Today, we introduce the 2022 special edition Corvette to celebrate the C8.R’s incredible 2020 season.”
Though a non-points race for Corvette Racing this weekend, Taylor, who teamed with Garcia and Nicky Catsburg to win the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, is stoked to be back racing at Belle Isle in a Corvette.
“It’s very exciting,” said Taylor, who has five career Belle Isle wins. “Corvette Racing hasn’t been here (with a GT car) since the ALMS days in 2008. It’s a tough and demanding racetrack. I really enjoy it. My biggest rivals this weekend will be our teammates. We are in equally great equipment, so I’m sure there will be some ego involved. It’s the first weekend having fans back (in the paddock) since COVID started, so that’s great news, too.”
Taylor and Garcia drove coupe and convertible No. 3 Corvette Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Editions across the bridge and onto the track for the unveiling. Tandy led on track in a Corvette Stingray convertible, the official pace car of the 2021 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix. Milner followed the group in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R race car.
The Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition, based on the 3LT trim with Z51 Performance Package, will be limited to 1,000 cars produced. Each car includes Corvette Racing-themed graphics packages. Accelerate Yellow No. 3 editions feature gray graphics and Hypersonic Gray No. 4 editions feature yellow accents.
Additional exterior content includes a high-wing spoiler in Carbon Flash; yellow brake calipers; black Trident design wheels, with the “Jake” logo on the center caps, and more. The interior features a Strike Yellow and Sky Cool Gray cabin that mimics the exterior yellow and gray racing theme, with standard GT2 seats (Competition Sport seats are available), along with yellow seat belts and a C8.R Special Edition numbered plaque.
Taylor enjoyed his short stint behind the wheel of the Stingray IMSA GTLM Championship Edition.
“I didn’t go that fast, I put my foot down near the finish line on the straight, but this is a great sports car with terrific DNA,” he said. “I think later in the year, we get to take them out West to a track and drive them hard and aggressive.”
Garcia agreed with his racing partner.
“I love the Stingray,” said Garcia. “There is a lot of technology transfer from it to the C8.Rs.”