Corvette Racing at Daytona: 25th Year Starts at a Familiar Place
Corvette Racing is back where it all started a quarter-century ago as the team returns to Daytona International Speedway for its two-week, season-opening event in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
First up is the Roar Before the 24 – three days of official testing that culminates in qualifying for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Roar runs from Friday through Sunday with practice starting for the Rolex 24 on Thursday, January 26.
This season marks the second for Corvette Racing in the GT Daytona (GTD) PRO category. This year’s lineup features the two-time IMSA championship-winning pair of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor – challenging for another full-season title – and fellow Corvette Racing veteran Tommy Milner in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
While this is the first race together for the trio, one has shared the cockpit of a Corvette with the other on multiple occasions. While Garcia and Taylor are full-season teammates, Milner was a full-time Corvette driver in 2011 with Garcia as his long-distance teammate. Coincidently, they went on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year.
Fast-forward to 2015 and Taylor was the third driver at Le Mans with Milner and Oliver Gavin as the trio won their class in a storybook ending for Corvette Racing.
Daytona was the site of Corvette Racing’s first event in 1999. In its 12 Rolex starts since then, the program has won the race four times – the most recent coming in 2021 when Garcia, Taylor and Nicky Catsburg led a 1-2 Corvette Racing finish in the final Rolex 24 for the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category.
There are eight entries from seven manufacturers in GTD PRO for this year’s Rolex 24. Combined with the regular GTD field, Corvette Racing will be in a fight among 23 production-based cars around the 3.56-mile, eight-turn circuit that combines Daytona’s super-speedway oval with its infield road course.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Going for the second time in GTD PRO at Daytona will be a little bit different. We have a year of experience now. A year ago, it was hard for us and hard for IMSA to know what to expect from the performance of our car. I hope we are in a better position this time around, especially at Daytona. We were lacking a ton of performance and we were not competitive and couldn’t fight for wins. I hope things change. The team has one year of experience in this category. We know our weaknesses and where we are strong. I hope we have a chance to win.”
“For Corvette Racing, Daytona is a key part of our season. We’ve been lucky enough to win it a few times. Last year wasn’t a great year for us but I hope we have a chance to be up there, work for it and maybe win the Rolex again.”
“It’s great to have Tommy back. I was still a third driver when he joined the team and I was able to be in the car with him for a year. We won Le Mans together, so I think it’s a good moment to get together again and win all the other big races we can win. I haven’t won Daytona or Sebring with him, so this is a good chance to try for that.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Heading into the season, the motivation is win as much as we can. That starts with the Rolex 24. Last year we had a tough race in our first event in GTD. Getting an understanding about what the car needs and what the drivers need is a lot to learn. Having done the whole season a year ago, we can take what we learned into practice and hopefully we can hit the ground running strong at Daytona.”
“With the GTD PRO class growing as much as it has, Daytona will be such an important event for us. We’ve got so many manufacturers from around the world, and it’s a big deal to represent Corvette and Chevrolet on our home turf. We won the race in 2021 and hopefully we can come back with a strong car in GTD after learning what we did a year ago. We’re definitely hoping for another watch this year.”
“It was kind of sad not having Tommy in the IMSA field last year. He’s been a staple in this sport for so many years. I know he enjoyed WEC and exploring the different tracks. For us, it’s nice to have him back home. The last time we drove the same car, we won Le Mans back in 2015 so we have a lot of good history and good memories. We had a good battle back in 2021 around Daytona. He’s one guy you’d rather have in your car than racing against. Hopefully we can go win some more races together.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “The team had a pretty tough year last year. They won at Sebring and were competitive at some places, but for the most part the first year bringing a GTLM car down to GTD was challenging, for sure. I would say expectations for Daytona, we go there to win. That’s why we race. Last year was a big challenge for us. We were very slow in a straight line, hopefully that will be better. The goal is to win the race and winning a championship.
“Daytona itself is a huge part of the IMSA championship and endurance racing around the world. It kicks off the racing season around the world. The track itself is not crazy difficult, but the race itself is challenging. You have to have a car that is good in all kinds of conditions. It can get pretty hot in the daytime and also super cold at night. The oval itself poses its own challenges. It’s one car from each manufacturer and great driver lineups with great teams. So it’s a challenge for all of us as drivers and a team to compare ourselves to some of the best in the world. It’s a challenge that Corvette Racing is always up for. No matter what hand we’re dealt, we’ll work our magic to get our Corvette up front.”
“I enjoyed my time last year in WEC to go all around the world and represent Corvette Racing. To go around the world and show off this Corvette to a lot of fans who have never seen the car before was special. As an American kid, being at home is quite nice and the chance to race the three major races in the IMSA championship is fantastic.”
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