The first race back for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next weekend at Daytona will require a ‘very different’ approach according to Corvette Racing’s drivers.
IMSA’s season restart, the WeatherTech 240 at Daytona, will rekindle a summertime favorite at the Florida speedway after a ten-year hiatus.
Sports car racing has been accustom to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the winter to start the season, as it was in January, however, following the interruption of the COVID-19 pandemic IMSA has elected to restart its season with a two-hour and 40-minute sprint race on July 4.
Tommy Milner, driver of the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, says racing at Daytona next weekend will not be the same as the team is used to for a number of reasons.
“It’ll be quite different going back to Daytona in the summer time,” explained Milner.
“I’ve done that before in Grand-Am; I remember it being very hot so that will be a big change from what we’re used to at Daytona.
“But there are a lot of things these days that we aren’t used to. So most of all, I’m excited to get back to racing, getting in the Corvette, and having some fun.”
Jordan Taylor, who shares the No. 3 Corvette with Antonio Garcia, gave insight into how he and the team are getting ready for the first event back.
“It will be a much shorter race with a much different mindset,” Taylor said.
“For the Rolex, you’re trying to race to the end and survive the first 20 hours to race in the last four. For this one, you’ll be prepping a car for speed to compete in lap time and performance.
“You’ll have to take a lot more risks not to lose track position. There will be a bit of a difference in strategy.
“Corvette Racing has a long history of bouncing between races of these lengths (endurance vs. sprint).”
Heat Set to be Factor at Daytona
While the shorter race distance is an obvious factor, the Florida heat and humidity will also play a part.
Temperatures are forecasted to be around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius), which will require a considered approach to tires and setup.
“It’s hard to tell,” Taylor said when asked if the conditions will play into the hand of the new-for-2020 Corvette C8.R.
“We’re going to Daytona for a race where it’s going to be so much warmer so we don’t know how the tire is going to react.
“Through all of our Daytona testing it was pretty cool, and even on race day the highest temperature wasn’t that hot. That will be the bigger thing… how everyone gets their tire in the window to see how they work.
“But I’m sure no matter what race, you’re going to single-stint tires. Endurance racing suits Corvette Racing with its heritage but they are very good in these strategic races as well. We have the right guys behind us.”