Corvette Racing is in a “decent place” according to team manager Marc Maurini despite a drama-filled day in the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R’s first laps of Circuit de la Sarthe in preparation for next weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It was a baptism by fire for the No. 63 Corvette, which suffered an engine failure midway through Sunday’s opening session with Antonio Garcia at the wheel.
The Pratt & Miller-run squad replaced the car’s engine and gearbox and managed to get it back on track in the final hour of the afternoon session.
“We had a powertrain issue,” Maurini told Sportscar365.
“We saw the car stop on track and saw some flames. It was not what we were looking for but we had everything here to get the car back together.
“The guys did a really good job of getting the engine out of it and getting everything changed over.
“We lost some run time but got back out in the afternoon.”
While the No. 63 Corvette of Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg completed a total of 42 laps, the sister No. 64 car, shared by Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy, logged 81 laps over the course of the nine hours of track time.
Third driver Alexander Sims was one of ten ABB FIA Formula E World Championship drivers to miss the test day due to Sunday’s season-ending Berlin E-Prix.
Despite the setback to the No. 63 car and the two cars bringing up the rear of the GTE-Pro timesheets, Maurini said he was pleased with the progress made in the C8.R’s on-track Le Mans debut.
“The 64 car did a lot of running in the afternoon,” he said. “The field seems pretty tight right now, looking at the results.
“I think there was four tenths that separated all eight cars on overall best lap.
“That’s within the noise at this track. To me that shows that all cars are pretty well balanced, at least in that session.
“The sim data correlated well. We didn’t make many changes from where we started.
“The drivers are pretty happy with the car. For us it was essentially working through tire compounds, trying to figure out where transition temps were, if we could double stint, triple stint tires.
“All of that sort of stuff we need to be ready to go for a 24-hour race as opposed to a sprint race.
Maurini added: “We’ll [now] tear the cars apart, do all of our prep work [for race week].
“We have a pretty big list of improvements to make, things like air line hose routings and all of those operational things. We’ll work through that.
“We’ll definitely be running some sims and be working with the engineers and getting that sort of stuff tidied up.
“Really, I think we’re in a decent place car-wise. We just need to get everything cleaned up the way we want it to be.”
Triple Stint Could Be Possible in Night
While lacking data due to the downtime from the No. 63 entry, Maurini believes it might be possible to triple stint their Michelin tires in the night-time hours of the race.
“I don’t think we have enough info right now with only one car running on one day to know where those limits really are,” he said.
“What we saw today doesn’t look terrible but obviously we’re going to push for every last little bit.
“I expect all cars to be able to double, especially at night. Cars being able to triple? [It] might be a possibility at night for some cars, us included, we just don’t know yet.
“During the day, I think to triple will be very tough.”