This weekend’s Lone Star Le Mans event at Circuit of The Americas will be a busy one for Tommy Milner, as the Corvette Racing driver is set to take part in both TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship races.
Milner is among ten drivers, including teammates Ricky and Jordan Taylor, that will pull double duty between the two series, including his Corvette Racing squad, which along with Extreme Speed Motorsports has split its resources in Austin.
“On the surface, it’s two races,” Milner told Sportscar365. “The busiest part will be just the practice sessions, a lot of them being back to back. If you think about it, only doing nine hours of racing [on Saturday], we do 24 hour races, so really, that aspect of it won’t be a huge challenge. We’re basically driving the same car in both races.”
The challenging part, however, could come with adapting to the level of competition in the FIA WEC paddock.
While having faced the likes of Aston Martin Racing, Porsche Team Manthey and AF Corse each year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Pratt & Miller squad will be taking on the world’s best GTE-Pro teams for the first time in a regular season, six-hour race.
“I feel like we have some of the best GT racing in the U.S. in GTLM. But certainly, there’s something to be said about the guys who race full-time in the WEC,” Milner said. “There’s factory teams and it will be a big challenge for sure.
“I’m looking forward to it, just to see how the competition compares in some way to what we have here in [the TUDOR Championship]. It will be a fun comparison and a way to see how the races play out.
“It’s something different for Corvette, to race on the world’s stage. It’s obviously brought a lot of attention to our program. It’s cool to be a part of that and represent team America.”
Milner and the Taylor bothers’ Konica Minolta and Michelin-sponsored No. 65 Corvette C7.R will feature the only all-American driver lineup in the FIA WEC race, and coming only a few hours after all three complete the two-hour and 45-minute TUDOR Championship round earlier in the day.
While Ricky and Jordan Taylor will be coming from their Corvette DP, which heads into COTA in a title-contending second position in the TUDOR Championship standings, Milner will have the luxury of transitioning from a very similar Corvette, co-driven by Oliver Gavin.
The major difference between the two Corvettes is largely fuel and IMSA-imposed Balance of Performance adjustments.
“I suspect our WEC car will be faster than our TUDOR car, with the way things are right now,” Milner said. “It will feel like I’m driving the same car, both of the times.
“The biggest challenge will be Jordan and Ricky. Jordan less so, because he obviously has time in these cars but it will be a bigger challenge for Ricky because he’s never driven the C7 and his only experience in a GT car was with Larbre [in a C6.R] a couple of years ago.”
Milner, a former Le Mans class winner with Corvette, is confident of delivering a solid result in the team and fly the flag in the pivotal weekend for the team and his country.
“I’m sure [the GTE-Pro] guys are fired up to prove they’re better than us and we also want to prove that, sure, we come over for one race every year at Le Mans,” he said. “While we have a great car at Le Mans, we also have a great car in other circumstances too.”