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Corvette’s Monza Win “What the Team Needed” to Boost Season

6H Monza class win “lifted everyone” at Corvette Racing after 24H Le Mans double retirement…

Photo: MPS Agency

Nick Tandy reckons Corvette Racing’s GTE-Pro victory at the 6 Hours of Monza was “what the team needed” to boost its FIA World Endurance Championship campaign.

Tandy produced an intensive fuel-saving run in the No. 64 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R to capitalize on a late splash for the leading No. 52 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo and deliver his and Tommy Milner’s first win of the season at the fourth round.

The Monza result came after Corvette Racing suffered a double retirement at the 24 Hours of Le Mans — its first at the event in 12 years — that cost the team’s full-season WEC pairing significant ground in the championship standings.

Approaching next month’s penultimate round at Fuji Speedway, Tandy and Milner sit 30 points behind Ferrari’s leading duo of Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado, who are only one point above Porsche’s Gianmaria Bruni.

“It was our turn to win,” Tandy said. “We have run well the whole season, but things didn’t fall into place for various reasons.

“This time we had a nice, clean race but we didn’t have the ultimate pace to win. Things fell our way with the way the strategy worked out at the end of the race.

“It’s gratifying to have the result. Based on the pure performance and execution that we’ve done the whole season, we’ve really never really put a foot wrong.

“Through a bunch of external factors, we haven’t had results and we’re way down in the championship. So the Monza win is exactly what the team needed, especially after the heartbreak at Le Mans.

“It just lifted everyone, and you could see at the end what it meant to have success in this championship, given that we’ve all been working so hard for the last six months and then on. We needed it.”

Corvette Racing will aim to repeat its Monza result when it heads to Fuji in two weeks’ time, although Milner suggested that prior success does not guarantee lasting form.

Fuji is a new track for both the Pratt & Miller-run Chevrolet factory team and the C8.R.

Tandy previously explained that the WEC’s tire limitation rules have been “one of the hardest things” for Corvette to manage during its first and only full season in GTE-Pro, which has taken it to several new venues.

“Just because we won Monza doesn’t mean we are on a streak or a roll or whatever,” Milner said.

“We have to work as hard as we have to be as competitive as we possibly can to get the most out of the car.

“Focusing on yourself is always the best strategy to get the most out of package. While it’s nice to think we were owed something, we did a good job to get the car where we wanted it to be.

“I’ve done four days in the sim on Fuji. We’ve done quite a bit of work on it so far. It’s a super cool track. It’s really fast in a lot of places. It’s unique in some ways in that there are a lot of long-duration corners there. Car balance and tire life will be super important.

“The sim also gives us a chance to take some really big swings at it and experiment, so to speak, with setup to find something with the car that we haven’t tried before.

“While it’s nice for me to be able to drive these tracks on the sim beforehand, I feel like it’s definitely a big help to go to these tracks and get in the car and get going right away.”

Tandy emphasized the importance of achieving a suitable car balance to manage the different characteristics of the 16-turn, 2.8-mile Fuji circuit layout.

The British driver expects the race in Japan to present one of the “toughest challenges” for the only single-car team in GTE-Pro.

“Fuji is an F1-type of circuit where the surface is pretty smooth,” he said.

“It’s on quite a flat area. But it’s a track where it’s difficult to know the best way to go about setup philosophy.

“There’s this huge straight where you need obviously straight-line speed, but there are a couple other high-downforce corners.

“[At] Turn 3 there is a long right that is one of the fastest and most committed sections of racetrack anywhere in the world. Of course, you want to trim your car out to be fast on the straight, but you can’t afford to give up downforce in these areas.

“It lends itself to good racing because there is a slipstream effect if you can stay close to the cars in front of you through the last sector and down the start-finish straight.

“I’ve only been there twice [with KCMG in 2015 and Porsche in 2017]. It’s the track where I have the least level of experience personally.

“It will be one of our toughest challenges as a team, I expect, being new to the circuit for the first time.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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