Nick Tandy says that the limited tire allocation in GTE-Pro has made it more challenging for Corvette Racing to get up to speed on tracks it has not visited previously in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Corvette is making its race debut on a number of venues this season because of its full-season effort in the globe-trotting series, which sees the No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R contesting a race at Monza for the first time this weekend.
Tandy, who shares the car with Tommy Milner, reckons that the relatively limited tire allocation for GTE-Pro squads is a challenge for Corvette as it gets to grip with new venues.
The championship’s sporting regulations dictate that, for six-hour events, teams in GTE-Pro are allocated 12 tires (three sets) in Free Practice, with 18 tires available for qualifying and the race.
Tandy said that while setup work has been fairly straightforward for the team, the relatively low number of tires has been the main challenge for the team at new venues, especially as Milner has to familiarize himself with the circuits in practice.
“I think by now, knowing what we know about this car and what we can then translate to work at the workshop and also work on the sim, a bit like Le Mans, we haven’t really moved the car,” Tandy told Sportscar365.
“We tried bits and pieces with the setup and the downforce levels and everything like this, we’ve more or less come back in a similar direction to how we rolled off the truck when the car was good.
“I think the bigger impact of the new tracks is with the lack of tires that we have in practice.
“Tommy has to get laps in to learn the circuit so this takes up one set of tires.
“So for us to start working forward towards the race, we’ve really only got two sets of tires between the pair of us driving in the other two and a half session of practice.
“This is one of the harder things to manage. We know that racing here with the limited tire allocation, it’s a similar story in the race.
“So it’s perhaps not a bad thing to always run around on used old tires but it does sometimes get frustrating for the team and especially for the drivers.”
Tandy lamented the situation, saying it is “more fun” to drive on fresh rubber, but recognized it is a challenge that all teams have to deal with.
The Briton went on to praise the rate at which his American co-driver has gotten to grips with the Italian venue.
“By the time we had done a couple of setup runs in practice 1, he’s in tune with the circuit,” Tandy said of Milner.
“It’s not like this is the first new track he’s come to this year or the first new track he’s been to in his career.
“By the time you do a couple of runs, by the time you come in the box and sit and have a chat with maybe me about the circuits and the curbs, because the curb usage is massive.
“What the cars can take and what they can’t take defines the lines and also how the cars are set up.
“So by the time you’ve done a couple of runs on the first day, that’s track learning over and you can get into the meat of the setup stuff with the actual chassis work.”
Monza Heat Unlike ‘Anything Corvette Experienced’ in WEC
In addition to the tire allocation, Tandy said the hot conditions at Monza is another challenge Corvette has had to deal with, but that they have been able to draw from previous experience with similar conditions in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Air temperatures during the race are expected to reach as high as 34 degrees C (93 F).
“The track temps are way above anything we have experienced in WEC this year,” Tandy added.
“The good thing is they are not dissimilar to a lot of the races we run with the team and the car in IMSA in the last two years.
“This is something that all the teams have to manage. Of course, Porsche have got the same knowledge of steady races throughout the summer in IMSA, running these confidential Michelins in these sort of track temperatures, same as we have.
“This is definitely something that is new to everyone.
“You see it a lot in practice, the track can change during an hour, how the rubber gets laid down, where the grip is on track, how you need to move around to find the grip.
“This is part of the hot conditions and this is in a one-hour session.
“So over a six-hour race, how the track will change will be a key aspect of the strategy and how the drivers adapt to find the grip.”