With no points or competition on the line, Corvette Racing will be using this weekend’s Chevrolet Sports Car Challenge at Detroit’s Belle Isle as a “good warmup” for the rest of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season according to Tommy Milner.
Added as an invitational class following the postponement of the 24 Hours of Le Mans that led to a date change for this weekend’s event, the pair of Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs will race unopposed in GTLM.
It nonetheless marks the first time in 13 years the factory Corvettes have been able to race under GM’s backdrop.
“The Detroit event will be a little different for us since it’s a non-points event,” said Milner. “We will treat it as a race event but it will be a good warmup with quite a few races coming up.
“There won’t be much time to take a breath before the end of the season.”
Milner and Jordan Taylor are the only two Corvette drivers to have previous experience on Belle Isle.
Taylor, in fact, holds five class wins, including three in a Corvette Daytona Prototype and most recently in Cadillac’s DPi-V.R.
“At any racetrack where you’ve had success, you’re excited to go back and enjoy being there,” said Taylor.
“For me, I’ve been with GM for so many years. I won there in 2012 in a Camaro, three times in Corvette Daytona Prototype, and then 2017 in a Cadillac.
“To be there always in a GM vehicle with the Renaissance Center nearby and all the big bosses coming to the race, it always adds a lot of pressure but always means so much more when the race goes well.
“You can see those guys in person, and they are so passionate for these programs that it’s awesome to see their excitement.
“To go back there with the Corvette C8.R after such a strong opening year in 2020 and a strong start in 2021, it’s going to be cool to show them in person what these cars are able to do.”
With four races in a six-week span plus the 24 Hours of Le Mans in mid-August, the Pratt & Miller-run team is set for a busy period of racing.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on the racetrack and back to racing after a long period since Sebring,” said Garcia.
“I had a chance to race at Spa [in WEC], but it still feels like a long time since I’ve raced in the States. It’ll be nice to get back to doing what we are used to doing – being around the fans and seeing them. That’s one of the biggest things.”
Tandy Looking Forward to “Integrate Fully” into Corvette Program
With it being the first sprint race of the GTLM season, it also means the first for the No. 4 car’s full-season pairing of Milner and Nick Tandy.
The ex-Porsche factory driver believes this weekend will help him get to know the remainder of the team.
“I’ve been to Detroit to visit the Corvette Racing shop, but due to things associated around COVID, I haven’t yet been able to integrate fully into the Chevrolet and Corvette programs,” said Tandy.
“So this is something that I’m looking forward to – meeting some of the team members who have designed and worked on this car and seeing the people of Detroit who want to come and see us.
“We’re all looking forward to having the paddock open again to show off these cool machines and interact with people. On top of that, it’s my first time at Belle Isle.
“From a competition standpoint, I’m looking forward to getting onto a brand new circuit. It’s not often that we go to a new track so it’s something that is exciting for me personally.”