Tommy Milner says he’s excited for the “new challenge” of racing full-time in the FIA World Endurance Championship as part of Corvette Racing’s lineup in the GTE-Pro class next year.
Milner and co-driver Nick Tandy will pilot the team’s No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R in all six WEC races next year for the first time, as part of a parallel factory program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in GTD Pro with Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia.
For the 35-year-old American, competing in the globe-trotting championship comes as a new opportunity he’s excited to tackle.
Outside of competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans each year and several one-off events such as the Nürburging 24 earlier in his career and the WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai in 2018, Milner has focused his sports car racing efforts primarily in North America until now.
“I love IMSA. I love the race tracks here,” he told Sportscar365. “I’ve been racing here since 2004, which was my first year in sports cars. I guess that was part of my willingness to race WEC was to do something different.
“I’ve been racing IMSA for so many years now, to have the chance to race in the WEC and to go all of the big events they have there — Monza, Fuji, Spa — some of the other very famous and historic race tracks around the world that I haven’t had a chance to race at, that was very enticing for me.
“I’m lucky that it worked out in my favor in that way. I’ll certainly miss IMSA next year. And that’s not saying I’m never coming back to IMSA, obviously.
“It’s the last year for these [GTE-Pro] cars again. That was another part of the desire to race in the WEC, was to race these cars for another year.
“I’m excited about it. It will be a new challenge. The racing there is super competitive, as we see each year in Le Mans and as the team has seen in the past with our one-off races as well.”
The solo Corvette will enter the GTE-Pro ranks in what is expected to be the final season of the class in the WEC, at least with factory involvement from Ferrari and Porsche, which will both move to the Hypercar class in 2023.
Despite not having raced AF Corse and the Manthey-run Porsche GT Team on a regular basis, Milner believes they will be up for the challenge.
“We’re kind of used to that in IMSA as well,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of those door-banging races that they had this year as well.
“Those teams have been racing each other for many, many years. They know how each other race so we’re coming in with a little bit of a ‘new guy on the block’ in some ways.
“We expect to be right there fighting with them. That’s the goal, obviously. We’re hoping for great racing. As drivers, we want good racing like that.
“We’ve had great racing for so many years in IMSA. We’ve had it at Le Mans. I wouldn’t expect anything different for the rest of the [WEC] schedule.”
The full-season program is also expected to benefit the Pratt & Miller-run squad’s effort at Le Mans, where it is planning to have a two-car effort again, pending the second invite from the ACO.
“It will certainly help. There’s no question about it,” Milner said. “The more time spent in that environment, you learn new things, you make mistakes and can correct them and not make those mistakes during Le Mans.
“It will be interesting to see how it all operates with one team split up between different continents.
“They’re prepared for it. We’ve done this before in the past and know what it takes.”