Corvette Racing’s experience testing the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at Sebring is likely to play into the team’s hand, according to its drivers.
The Pratt & Miller-run factory squad heads into this weekend’s Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring on the heels of Corvette’s 100th win IMSA competition and the first pole and win for the mid-engined C8.R at Daytona.
Having been one of the last teams to have tested at the 3.74-mile airfield circuit prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as Sebring being a regular location in the C8.R’s development, Antonio Garcia believes it could pay dividends, as their previous experience of Daytona did just two weeks ago.
“We did a couple of tests – the one in February and another where we ran at night,” Garcia explained.
“It’s been quite a while since the very first one there. The car changes so much so even if there was a test a year or year-and-a-half from now, it would be way different than at this time.
“Luckily enough one of the last tests we did was at Sebring so hopefully the car will be almost as it was then.
“That will be a plus for us. It will be different for the next few races onward since we will have to rediscover the car on all the new tracks that we will be at.”
Garcia’s co-driver, Jordan Taylor says that a lot of “correlation work” has been done between findings on the simulator about the C8.R and how the car reacts in real life.
Taylor explained that Daytona was a great example of this, which ultimately led to the No. 3 car taking the historic victory, his first as a full-time Corvette driver.
“I saw in November with how well the simulator and the correlation works,” he said.
“You can do a change in the simulator and then do it at the racetrack… I did it months apart where I drove in the sim and then in the race car and gave some feedback on a change.
“When I gave that feedback in real life, it lined up perfectly.
“Those changes that we are able to make during these times when we weren’t allowed to do track testing, we can rely on those a little bit better and that showed at Daytona.
“We couldn’t do much track testing before that event, but we were able to put a lot of things on the car that we learned at the simulator, and it proved to work there.
“I think the same thing could be the case at Sebring.”
Drivers Preparing for Warmer Race Than Daytona
Weather forecasts for this weekend are set to be hotter than last time out at Daytona, with temperatures up in the 90 degrees Fahrenheit mark (31 degrees Celsius).
Corvette remains confident in the cooling abilities of the C8.R having gathered data from Daytona, although Oliver Gavin believes it will still be a test, in only the car’s fourth race.
“The team has been working very hard on what makes the cabin hot and where we need to do some work. Daytona was another data point for that,” Gavin said.
“We’ve gone away and studied that, and Sebring will be another good test. We do have a good A/C system in the car, and Corvette Racing has invested a lot in that.
“When you get in the car, you hear all the fans running and feel a lot of air moving in the cabin, which is good.
“Ultimately the truth and the reality of it is will it work well in the race. At Daytona, I don’t’ think we got a full test because it wasn’t that hot in the race; it was sort of overcast and we had some rain that cooled things off.
“If we have a real scorching Saturday at Sebring, I think that’ll give it a real thorough test. Everyone feels it is a good system.
“We don’t have any real issues with the temperature of the pedals so that’s a nice thing. We have a good system that blows air through the back of the seat, so that’s another thing that’s working well.
“We have Stand21 suits that we’ve been running for years and are working with those guys.
“Fingers crossed for Sebring. Our cooling system is a solid piece and something we’ll be able to rely on.”