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Garcia: Corvette Still Has ‘More to Learn’ After GTD Pro Debut

Corvette C8.R GTDs struggle for pace, extended garage time in challenging Rolex 24…

Photo: Richard Prince/Corvette

Antonio Garcia believes that Corvette Racing still has ‘more to learn’ with the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD following a challenging debut in last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The pair of factory Pratt & Miller-run GTD Pro entries finished sixth and tenth in the debuting class after trouble for both cars during the race.

Garcia’s No. 3 entry he shared with Nicky Catsburg and fellow 2021 GTLM champion Jordan Taylor suffered an electrical issue that resulted in an alternator change in the night-time hours.

The No. 4 Corvette, meanwhile, spent more time behind the wall when Marco Sorensen was hit by an unidentified GT car in the ninth hour that broke the diffuser, bent the exhaust and led to starter motor damage.

The cars, built to GTE regulations, were racing in modified form for the first time, featuring increased weight, less power, customer Michelin tires, the addition of anti-lock brakes and a 15 mm gurney flap to bring it in line with its GT3 spec competitors.

IMSA has granted a two-year waiver for the cars to run nationally homologated prior to the debut of a bespoke GT3 car in 2024.

“This was one of those races where you wanted it to be shorter,” Garcia said. “We learned a lot and there is still more for us to learn.

“We had 25 or 26 stints to learn this tire. So it was a proper first real test in race conditions.

“We were lacking pace both days. There still was a lot to be gained. If you add some extra testing and something else, then maybe we can be in the hunt.

“In the last stint, I could tell we were missing a tiny bit. If we were on the lead lap, it would have taken a tiny bit for us to be competitive.”

Taylor said the No. 3 Corvette had a “faultless and flawless” other than the alternator issues that set them back 13 laps overnight.

“The strategy and pit stops have been great,” he said. “It’s good to see the team executing so well.

“It’s unfortunate we had that issue otherwise we’d be fighting in the top-five somewhere.

“It’s good to get the extra miles and it’s good the guys got us back out there because we have a championship to fight for at the end of the day.

“We’ve made up some points by attrition.”

Tandy and Milner, who made their only announced IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship start of the season, didn’t feel they had a car that could have won the race.

The Corvettes were dealt with two Balance of Performance adjustments over the Roar and Rolex 24 events, which appeared to help the car’s single-lap pace in the race but not put them in the mix for the class win.

The fastest race lap of the Corvettes, a 1:46.073 time from Garcia, was nearly one-second off the quickest in the class, set by the No. 2 KCMG Porsche 911 GT3 R of Laurens Vanthoor.

“Even so and looking at the ultimate pace, I don’t think we had the car today to race for the win potentially,” Milner said. “You never know in these kind of races.

“If you’re there at the end and you’re close, anything can happen.

“That was kind of our goal today and obviously we didn’t achieve that. It’s frustrating from that point of view.”

Corvette is set to reduce its GTD Pro presence to a single car beginning with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, with GM sports car racing program manager Laura Wontrop-Klauser confirming to Sportscar365 that it not field a two-car program in the race due to its FIA World Endurance Championship commitments with the No. 64 car of Tandy and Milner.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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