Corvette Racing is “not thrilled” with the ultimate pace of its GTD Pro entries according to Tommy Milner, who along with his teammates face an “uphill battle” in the new-for-2022 class.
The pair of modified Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD cars finished eighth and ninth in the 13-car class in Sunday’s qualifying race for the Rolex 24 at Daytona despite a mid-event Balance of Performance adjustment that gave the cars a power increase over the initial levels heading into the weekend.
Both the Corvettes proved to be non-factors in the 100-minute race, with the cars’ fastest lap, a 1:47.430 time from Marco Sorensen, more than 1 seconds slower than the class pace-setter.
According to a statement from the Pratt & Miller-run squad, the results show an “uphill battle” for last year’s GT Le Mans class champions, which have been allowed to compete in GTD Pro with a modified version of the GTE-spec Corvette.
Among the changes include additional weight, less power, a higher level of drag and customer Michelin tires that the team is still coming to grips with.
“We’re obviously not thrilled with our ultimate pace,” Milner said. “There is still a lot learn with tires and things like that – experience that will help us for the race.
“Today was good for us as drivers to learn more about the tires and about interacting with the other competitors in GTD. This played out as we probably expected.
“The plan, of course, was to learn as much as we could.
“From my perspective, learning where some of the other cars are fast and where they aren’t, how they race… that will be a huge part of 24 hours here with 35 cars all near our pace.
“From that standpoint, it was successful. The car is in one piece and we stayed out of trouble. There’s lots of race data for the engineers to pour over and make our Corvettes as fast as they can.”
Antonio Garcia said the team utilized Sunday’s 100-minute race as a “big test” for the Michelin S9M customer tires.
“There are a lot of different things with the tire regulations where you have to run a certain pressure, and we learned a lot about that,” he said. “It’s the first experience we’ve had with this.
“I was driving and learning how to maximize the tire performance.
“Even if we didn’t have the overall pace to be farther up, I think we can a lot from here for the race. Even if it’s only learning how to run a double-stint, it’s better than nothing.
“Almost all the other GTD teams have been running this tire on their car for a long time so there is a lot of catching up we need to do on this little thing.
“Let’s see if we can come back stronger in a few days so we can be where we need to be.”
GT3 entries from BMW and Ferrari, which were also given BoP breaks on Saturday, did not factor into the results of the qualifying race either.
The pair of Team RLL-run BMW M4 GT3s finished 12th and 13th in class, while Risi Competizione’s Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 was 11th.
IMSA reserves the right to make further BoP changes although it’s unclear if the sanctioning body will make any additional adjustments in the run-up to the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.