Corvette Racing earned its 100th victory in IMSA racing this past weekend on July 4 at Daytona International Speedway. The victory ended a drought of more than two years; the last win for the team came in April 2018 at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
More significantly, the weekend marked the first win for the all-new, mid-engine C8.R. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor piloted the No. 3 Velocity Yellow machine. Garcia was behind the wheel when the C8.R won its GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, 1.977 seconds ahead of defending WeatherTech Championship GTLM champion Earl Bamber in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR-19.
The victory was the result of exemplary fuel strategy. While every car in the GTLM class led at one time or another, it was the team of the No. 3 car that had the formula just right. “The engineers spotted very early how close we’d have been with fuel and how early we should start working on that,” Garcia said. “Jordan did a great job and saved a lot there and I saved another one. We didn’t know about the 912. We didn’t know if they could make it or if we were fighting them and the 911.
“We were expecting the Porsche to follow the 4 car [Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin], but we realized it was a fight. As soon as I had an opportunity early in the stint when I knew my tires were good, I waited for Earl to make a little mistake, and because I was able to follow very close I took advantage of that position. After that I worked my way through traffic really, really well.”
This was the first GTLM win for Taylor after moving to the Corvette factory program from his father’s Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi team this season. “It’s obviously very special,” Taylor said. “I was Antonio’s third driver for so many years and we finished second at Sebring, and Petit and Le Mans, and had so many podiums. It’s great to finally get a win with Antonio. And to get a win on the Fourth of July in an American car and being an American driver is pretty sweet.”
Bamber and co-driver Laurens Vanthoor took second, matching their result from January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. The same can be said for No. 911 Porsche co-drivers Nick Tandy and Frédéric Makowiecki, who claimed their second straight third-place trophies in Daytona’s Victory Lane.