Corvette Racing showed strong early but was left wondering what might have
been at the end of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday.
CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: Fifth in Late-Race Carnage
SEBRING, Fla. (March 18, 2023) – Corvette Racing showed itself strong early
but was left wondering what might have been at the end of the Mobil 1 Twelve
Hours of Sebring on Saturday.
The No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R – with Antonio Garcia,
Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner sharing the wheel – placed fifth in the GT
Daytona (GTD) PRO class after the second race of this year’s IMSA
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
After fighting back first from an untimely full-course yellow early and then
a mechanical problem with four hours remaining, Corvette Racing appeared to
be in a great spot for a second straight Sebring class victory until
late-race chaos that started with the GTP-class fight with 20 minutes to go
undid all the team’s good work at the end.
The Corvette had the race going its way in the opening eight hours. Garcia
began from pole position and steadily increased his advantage through the
first hour. The first bit of misfortune struck at the race’s second
full-course yellow just past the hour mark as the Corvette couldn’t make its
first stop before the pits closed. As a result, it had to enter the pitlane
for five seconds of emergency fuel and pit again for full service when the
GT pits opened.
Garcia fell to eighth in class but carved his way back toward the front with
a dynamic drive through traffic in the span of 25 minutes. He moved up to
second by the time the race went yellow again at the two-hour mark.
Taylor got in the Corvette for almost three hours as the Corvette Racing
crew got him out ahead of the No. 79 Mercedes for the GTD PRO lead. It was a
spot that Taylor held for most of his triple-stint before he handed the C8.R
to Milner, who rejoined with the lead.
The Corvette continued to lead out front despite the air and track
temperatures climbing during the hottest part of the day. Still while
leading, Milner radioed to the Corvette Racing pitbox for the crew to check
something at the rear of the car. On his final pitstop with about four hours
left, the crew found and replaced the C8.R’s left-rear damper. The fix cost
Corvette Racing a lap but Taylor got in for his second run in the car still
with good pace but needing a yellow.
Nearly 2.5 hours later, the yellow flags flew again to solidify the Corvette
getting back on the lead lap. Taylor stayed in until the 10-hour mark when
Garcia re-entered the race for the final stints to the end. A series of
additional full-course yellows and some sharp strategy calls moved the
Corvette as high as third and first among the GTD PRO cars that made their
final scheduled stops under yellow with about 50 minutes to go.
On the subsequent restart, however, Garcia was hit from behind and knocked
off track. The contact sent the C8.R down to sixth place. The final blow
came with 17 minutes to go when Garcia and the No. 62 Ferrari were involved
in a crash instigated by the overall leaders. Despite the second spin, the
Corvette did gain a spot to its final fifth-place finishing position.
Corvette Racing’s next event in the WeatherTech Championship is Saturday,
April 15 in Long Beach, Calif.
Photos: Richard Prince, Chevrolet Racing
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED
FIFTH IN GTD PRO:“I’m really disappointed with the finish, but it has
nothing to do with the team. They did a great job all weekend with the car,
our strategy and helping to keep us in the race when things weren’t looking
so good. We kept waiting for a long time for a yellow to get back with the
main GTD PRO group, and it finally came our way not long after I got in. I
felt like we were in the best shape of all with about an hour to go before
all the chaos broke out. I really don’t know what to say. All I know is that
I was spun twice and it ruined our race and our car. I understand that this
is an important race but there is no call for what happened late. It was
careless and reckless driving by a lot of guys who should know better. I don’t
know if we would have won, but I do know that we had that chance taken from
us. I’m not happy.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED
FIFTH IN GTD PRO: "A disappointing finish. The guys did an amazing job. We
were up front and in control for a majority of the day before our mechanical
issue. I'd say driving standards for today were pretty sub-par from the
whole field. There were so many yellows early on and the end of the race was
embarrassing to be part of, to be honest. It's disappointing to finish fifth
after how strong we were, but we'll move on to Long Beach."
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED
FIFTH IN GTD PRO: "The start was great from Antonio. The first stint from
Jordan was awesome. The car was very, very good. At some point in my stint,
we had our issue and it looked a little grim for awhile. Then it looked like
we would have an opportunity and a chance to race for a podium, which I
think we certainly deserved as we had the car to beat. At the end, you had a
lot of guys who were driving over their heads and there was a lot of that
today. Unfortunately we got the worst of it. I feel for the rest of the guys
in GTD PRO to have to deal with Antonio for the rest of the year. He's going
to be fired up."