Antonio Garcia has credited the wet weather capabilities of the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R for being a key factor in his and Jordan Taylor’s victory Sunday at Road America.
The Spaniard gave Corvette Racing its third straight GT Le Mans class win after a wild finish to the rain-soaked race that saw both the leading and third place cars crash out at The Kink on the second-to-last lap.
Garcia was running second at the time behind the No. 24 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE of John Edwards when chaos ensued both ahead of him and directly behind, with Nick Tandy also getting caught out in the high-speed section which had become flooded.
“The Carousel and the Kink were almost impossible to go through that part of the track,” Garcia explained. “There is really nothing you can do there. It depends on the depth of the water.
“The Corvette C8.R survived it better than the rest.
“I don’t know if it was due to the race line I took. I was following the car behind me and saw the BMW lose control.
“The race still wasn’t done because I had to do another lap through there. It’s a credit to how good the C8.R is in the wet.”
With their second win in three races, Garcia and Taylor have expanded their championship lead to ten points over the No. 912 Porsche duo of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor.
Taylor admitted the victory was “very unexpected” particularly after the late-race chaos.
“We took a different strategy to go with three stops from the beginning,” he explained. “Thankfully it worked out well with the timing, the rain and track position.
“Antonio never gave up. It was a tough fight in tough conditions, but he did a great job of surviving for our second win of the year and third of the year for Corvette Racing.”
The Kink Catches Out Edwards, Tandy in Challenging Day for Porsche
Both Edwards and Tandy, meanwhile, questioned whether the caution should have come out earlier due to the deteriorating track conditions.
“Although we scored a podium finish, it’s a disappointing day for me after spinning out of the lead,” Edwards said. “Conditions were very sketchy and, unfortunately, I aquaplaned and was not able to save the car from going off.”
The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 also aquaplaned off course in the same part of the track.
“In the end the conditions were too bad to keep racing,” Tandy said. “You see this when multiple cars have no chance to even control themselves on the straights.
“We lost all grip and aquaplaned off the road at high speed. Luckily, I’m okay and I’m very thankful to the team at Porsche Motorsport for building such strong cars.”
Despite not finishing, Tandy and Makowiecki were classified fourth in class, ahead of the sister No. 912 Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber, which dominated the race from pole until a radio miscommunication led to Bamber barreling off-course in the wet and into the Turn 1 barriers prior to the red flag.
It marked the first race of the season neither Porsche finished on the podium.
“Earl didn’t get the radio message to come into the pits,” Vanthoor said. “He kept going on the dry track, got caught in the first downpour and lost the car.”