Antonio Garcia tested positive for COVID-19 during the Rolex 24 at Daytona, it has been revealed, which left Corvette Racing with a two-driver lineup en route to the GT Le Mans class victory on Sunday.
Garcia shared driving duties of the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R through the 17th hour of the Florida endurance classic until being pulled from the car when results from a routine travel test came back to the team.
“As part of international COVID travel protocols, all drivers and team members traveling in and out of the U.S. are required to take a COVID test before and after any race activities,” a statement from Corvette Racing read.
“While Antonio Garcia tested negative in preparation for his arrival for the Rolex 24, we have received notice that he has now tested positive in preparation to depart the country.
“He was immediately pulled from competition upon notification of the positive test result and, although he wasn’t experiencing any symptoms, will no longer participate in any additional race activities at the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“Upon consulting with IMSA and its Event Operations Protocols, the series determined Corvette Racing met all conditions under the IMSA event protocols that allowed it to compete in a safe and responsible manner.
“We have notified crew members and others who had contact with Antonio and will conduct testing with racing team members after 72 hours, per CDC guidelines.”
Garcia issued a statement on Twitter indicating that he had contracted COVID-19 at the end of December and was “symptomatic” during that period.
“Since I was discharged on Jan. 8, I never imagined that I would test positive again in a test that I did later,” he said.
Garcia is the second driver to contract COVID-19 during the event following Michael De Quesada’s positive test made just hours before the race start that also forced him from the cockpit.
De Quesada was replaced by Mike Skeen at the last minute, while Corvette was not able to bring in a replacement once the race had started.