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Taylor Feels “Back Home” in GTE-Spec Corvette C8.R

Jordan Taylor on re-acclimating with GTE-spec version of Corvette C8.R at Le Mans…

Photo: MPS Agency

Jordan Taylor said it only took him a “couple of laps” to adapt back to the GTE-spec Chevrolet Corvette C8.R after spending the first part of the year in the manufacturer’s GTD variant in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.

The two-time IMSA GTLM champion, who currently sits second in the WeatherTech Championship GTD Pro standings alongside co-driver Antonio Garcia, is again joined by Nicky Catsburg in this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

While it’s the same lineup that claimed GTD Pro class honors in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the trio are in a significantly different-handling car.

The GTD-spec variant features less power, additional weight, the use of anti-lock brakes, customer Michelin tires among other changes to put it in line with FIA GT3-homologated machinery.

“We’re back to driving the car for what it was designed to do,” Taylor told Sportscar365.

“It feels more like the C8.R should feel like, more of a proper race car, more pure, no ABS, the confidential tires. 

“It definitely takes time to re-learn the limits of it. It’s harder to find the limit and be on the limit of it and kind of extract everything out of the car.

“I think the ABS hides a lot of issues and masks a lot of problems. 

“I’ve enjoyed the challenge coming back to it. It was a little bit of a learning curve to get back into it. Now I feel I’m back home again.”

Taylor said his re-acclimatization to the GTE contender went smoother than initially expected.

“I was worried when I’d get in, I’d just flat-spot the tires on the first laps and have no feel in my foot again for the brakes,” he said. “But it came back quickly.

“I think the biggest thing is understanding the tire again. This is also a different tire that we’ve had here last year. 

“Understanding the limits of it, what it likes, what it doesn’t like, what kind of temperature range it works in… That’s been the biggest thing.

“I think that’s been the best part of having the 64 car in the WEC all year is having them develop [the new tire] and understand it so when we get here, the car is pretty close to being where we want it to be.

“Then the drivers can get up to speed and only do fine adjustments.”

With this year’s Le Mans likely the final outing for the GTE-Pro class, and GTE-spec machinery only eligible in GTE-Am until next year, Taylor admitted he will miss the platform;

While IMSA has already made the switch, the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series will adopt the formula in 2024, with further details to be announced on Friday.

“It’s such a cool class,” he said. “I’ll miss the tire development side of it. The tires are unbelievably impressive how well they work and to see how Michelin develops it and work on it and how we pick a tire. 

“That whole process has been an interesting experience. 

“I’ve never been a big fan of ABS, especially in professional racing where I think it takes a huge skill out of the drivers’ hands.

“It changes the racing, the race-ability of the races is difficult when you do find an amateur, it’s always hard to pass them because they’re just using the ABS to hold you off.

“For me, that part I don’t love. But I like the aspect of it bringing more cars to the grid, more competition. 

“I’d rather have more guys to race against than a small grid with no ABS. For me it takes away a little bit of the purity of the sport at a professional level.”

Corvette in Good Shape Heading into Hyperpole, Race

Taylor said the Pratt & Miller-run squad has been pleased with the pace of the two Corvettes following the test day and start of official track action on Wednesday.

“I’ve been a little bit surprised how quick we’ve been,” he said. “The car feels a lot better than it did last year. 

“Last year was obviously our first year here with this car and we didn’t have a lot of time to really adjust it last year while we were here.

“Since then we’ve spent a ton of time in the simulator and working on the tire development side. I think we’ve made a lot of gains on our own. 

“The car at the test day, quite honestly, felt better than it did almost all race week last year.

“We’ve been super happy with it — all six drivers are comfortable. But the fastest car doesn’t always win here. I’m sure everyone else is still working on their programs as well.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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