C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/05/2107:41 PM
CORVETTE RACING AT VIR: A GT-Only Challenge • Corvette program seeking fourth win – and third overall at VIR • Milner, Tandy coming off back-to-back GTLM victories in California • Garcia, Taylor hope to repeat 2020 overall win • All four Corvette Racing drivers with multiple VIR victories
Following back-to-back victories in California, Corvette Racing has headed back eastward for the next-to-last event on its schedule – the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway. The race only for GT entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is one at which Corvette Racing has been immensely successful. The program has three overall victories plus an additional class win since it began visiting VIR in 2012. Corvette Racing will go for another VIR win live on NBC at noon ET on Saturday.
Tommy Milner, a Virginia native, and Nick Tandy arrive at Virginia on the heels of consecutive GT Le Mans (GTLM) wins in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and the Long Beach street circuit.
Corvette Racing, the No. 3 C8.R in particular. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Tayler must only start the race on Saturday (and the Motul Petit Le Mans in November) to claim GTLM driver and team laurels. Similarly, Chevrolet has a virtual lock on the manufacturer title. And the fact that Garcia and Taylor are defending VIR race winners only solidifies their role as favorites.
Which is not to say stablemates Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner will not do everything in their power to put the No. 4 ‘Vette in victory lane this weekend as they’ve done in each of the past two races; or that Cooper MacNeil and Kevin Estre won’t be gunning for the third win of the campaign in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19.
The late-season run by the No. 4 Corvette duo has given Milner and Tandy significant momentum heading into the final two races of the year – VIR and the 10-hour Petit Le Mans in November at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. As has been the case throughout the year, their strongest competition may come from inside their own team.
Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, teammates in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C8.R, are defending winners at VIR after having won last year in the C8.R’s maiden VIR race. It was one of five victories on the year for the No. 3 Corvette, and the pairing again lead this year’s GTLM Drivers Championship on the strength of four wins and seven consecutive pole positions.
All four Corvette drivers have tasted success at VIR. Garcia’s three VIR wins all with Corvette Racing ranks him second among all IMSA drivers entered for Saturday’s race.
Leads all active IMSA drivers with three VIR wins. Milner, Taylor and Tandy each have two victories to their credit. In addition, Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with eight IMSA VIR wins with four coming from Corvette Racing.
The Michelin GT Challenge at VIR is scheduled for noon ET on Saturday with live coverage on NBC, NBC Sports Gold and Trackpass. Live IMSA Radio coverage will air on XM 202, SiriusXM Online 992 and IMSA.com, which also will host live timing and scoring.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:
“It’s easy to say that a track where you have a lot of success is a favorite. But even without any wins, VIR would still be one of my favorites. It is that kind of classic American track where you can either be rewarded for risk or punished for a mistake. The layout of the track and the elevation of the land makes it memorable. I’ve had many good races and wins there with Corvette Racing including last year with Jordan. It was a big race to set us up for the championship. We can do the same this weekend with another win for the C8.R. It will be a tough fight against our competition – including our teammates, so let’s see how the race goes.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:
“I love going back to VIR. We won the race there last year, of course. It’s obviously a much different feel and style of race than what we had at Long Beach and even Laguna Seca. There are a lot of different corners with different speeds for each high and low speed. How the track rises and falls away across the layout is a big challenge for us as drivers and engineers. Plus, it will be GT-only. So this will be a flat-out and intense race with no prototypes going by. It’s always nice to be racing for an overall win, so I can’t wait to get there.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:
“I’m really excited to get another IMSA race since we are two for our last two. Nick and I are heading into VIR with some momentum, but we’ll have to work as hard as ever to continue that trend. VIR is an awesome, awesome racetrack one that is a lot different from what we are coming off of at Long Beach and even Laguna Seca. There is a ton of grip at VIR so it will be a fun challenge. This C8.R was a lot of fun to drive there last year. It’s improved from last year, so I’m looking forward to seeing how good it is around VIR this time around.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:
“I love VIR absolutely love it. I have since the first time I went there. It reminds me of racing at a lot of tracks where I grew up in the UK. There is greenery everywhere. It feels different and is one of my favorite tracks on the calendar. Past that, the track layout is awesome.
It has everything super-fast with long straights, elevation changes, slow technical sections and super-high speed technical sections. It definitely is one of my favorite places to race on the IMSA calendar. Having seen how good our rival car was there last year, I know it’s a circuit that will suit them.
From the Corvette side, we’ll have to be on the top of our game. But I think I know how to get a car to go well around there so I’m really looking forward to this one.”
Driver Standings 1. Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor – 2,917 2. Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy – 2,757 3. Cooper MacNeil – 2,644 4. Matt Campbell – 1,702 5. Mathieu Jaminet – 1,324 Team Standings 1. No. 3 Corvette Racing – 2,917 2. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 2,757 3. No. 79 WeatherTech Racing – 2,644 4. No. 24 BMW Team RLL – 1,001 5. No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 966 Manufacturer Standings 1. Chevrolet – 3,000 2. Porsche – 2,812 3. BMW – 1,052 4. Ferrari – 330
CORVETTE RACING AT VIR: By the Numbers
• 1: As in one team, one manufacturer and one model of car for 23 years: Corvette Racing, Chevrolet and the Chevrolet Corvette. • 3: Overall VIR race wins for Corvette Racing – 2016, 2017 and 2020. Antonio Garcia has been part of all three. • 3: Generations of Corvette Racing entries at VIR since 2012 – Corvette C6.R (2012-2013) and Corvette C7.R (2014-2019) and the mid-engine Corvette C8.R, which won its debut makes its VIR debut this weekend. • 4: Class wins at VIR for Corvette Racing, tied for the most among IMSA entrants. Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin won in ALMS GT competition in 2012, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen won overall in 2016 and 2017, and Garcia and Jordan Taylor won in 2020. • 8: Number of VIR victories for Chevrolet since 2002 covering both ALMS and the Rolex Series. • 13: Manufacturer Championships for Chevrolet and Corvette Racing since 2001. • 25: Tracks at which Corvette Racing has won races – Baltimore, Charlotte Motor Speedway, COTA, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Mosport, Daytona, Detroit, Houston, Laguna Seca, Le Mans, Lime Rock, Long Beach, Miami, Mid-Ohio, Portland, Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Sonoma, St. Petersburg, Texas, Trois Rivieres, Utah, VIR, Washington DC and Watkins Glen. • 31: Number of drivers for Corvette Racing since 1999. • 25: Tracks at which Corvette Racing has won races – Baltimore, Charlotte Motor Speedway, COTA, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park/Mosport, Daytona, Detroit, Houston, Laguna Seca, Le Mans, Lime Rock, Long Beach, Miami, Mid-Ohio, Portland, Road America, Road Atlanta, Sebring, Sonoma, St. Petersburg, Texas, Trois Rivieres, Utah, VIR, Washington DC and Watkins Glen. • 27: Number of GT Le Mans wins in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Corvette Racing since the start of 2014. • 118: Victories worldwide for Corvette Racing – 110 in North America and eight at Le Mans. • 248: Event starts by Corvette Racing since 1999. • 5,339.91: Number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing in its seven previous trips to Virginia International Raceway. That represents 1,636 laps or more than 21 trips from Tommy Milner’s home near Ashburn, Virginia to the track. • 331,261.64: Total number of racing miles completed by Corvette Racing since its inception. To put that in perspective Apollo 13 – the longest manned spaceflight in history – covered “just” 248,655 miles when it went it orbited the moon. Simply put, the program has raced to the moon… and then some.
Re: C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/08/2107:07 PM
Kevin Estre opened the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway 1st practice with a statement on Friday, as he guided the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR to a lap time nearly 0.8s quicker than the pair of Corvette C8.Rs could manage in the first practice session.
Estre returns to the WeatherTech Porsche this weekend after last being in the car for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Porsche factory driver found the groove quickly with an early lap time of 1m41.124s that easily cleared the time of 1m41.921s set by Nick Tandy in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R.
Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R set a time of 1m41.969s that rounded out the GT Le Mans class.
Second Practice :
Corvette inched closer to the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche, but Kevin Estre remained at the top of the leaderboard after Free Practice 2 for the IMSA Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway on Friday.
Nick Tandy in the No. 4 Corvette shaved off 0.4s from the deficit in Free Practice 1, but he was still 0.362s behind the 1m40.838s set by Estre in the WeatherTech Porsche. Jordan Taylor in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R set a time of 1m41.313s.
Re: C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/08/2108:09 PM
After sweeping to victory in the GT Le Mans (GLTM) class at the two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races last month in California, Corvette Racing drivers Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy are fueled with energy heading into this week’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR.
Saturday’s race at VIRginia International Raceway broadcast live at noon ET on NBC provides a true homecoming for Milner, who lives in Ashburn, Virginia. Though No. 4 Corvette C8.R co-driver Tandy is British, the nature of the track makes it feel like a homecoming for him as well.
“I’m really excited to get another IMSA race since we are two for our last two,” Milner said. “Nick and I are heading into VIR with some momentum, but we’ll have to work as hard as ever to continue that trend. VIR is an awesome, awesome racetrack one that is a lot different from what we are coming off of at Long Beach and even (WeatherTech Raceway) Laguna Seca.
“There is a ton of grip at VIR so it will be a fun challenge. This C8.R was a lot of fun to drive there last year. It’s improved from last year so I’m looking forward to seeing how good it is around VIR this time around.”
Milner has two IMSA wins at VIR, but the last came in 2012 when he and then-Corvette teammate Oliver Gavin clinched the GT class championship with a victory. Tandy has a pair of VIR triumphs as well, though they came with Porsche in GTLM competition in 2015 and ’19.
“I love VIR absolutely love it!” Tandy said. “I have since the first time I went there. It reminds me of racing at a lot of tracks where I grew up in the U.K. There is greenery everywhere. It feels different and is one of my favorite tracks on the calendar.
“Past that, the track layout is awesome. It has everything: super-fast with long straights, elevation changes, slow technical sections and super-high-speed technical sections. It definitely is one of my favorite places to race on the IMSA calendar.”
Milner and Tandy’s teammates, No. 3 Corvette co-drivers Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, are the reigning overall and GTLM winners at VIR. Garcia, in fact, has won three of the last five races on the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit.
The other GTLM entry, the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, teams full-season driver Cooper MacNeil with Kevin Estre. The latter made his first WeatherTech Championship start since 2017 in the No. 79 at the Rolex 24 At Daytona to start the 2021 season. Estre tested in the car at VIR last month, but it will be his first race at the track in seven years.
“I’m really pleased to go back to VIR,” the French driver said. “I did the IMSA GT race back in 2014. It didn’t go so well, but I really like the track. There is a lot of risk in a fast lap there, but with the good aero of the Porsche 911 RSR, it makes it fun and fast for a driver. It is a short weekend, so we need to have error-free practice, good strategy in the race and we can come away with a result.”
WeatherTech Championship practice and qualifying takes place Friday at VIR, ahead of the expected green flag for the two-hour, 40-minute race at 12:10 p.m. ET Saturday.
Re: C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/08/2109:31 PM
Tommy Milner denied Jordan Taylor of his sixth consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole in a closely fought GT Le Mans qualifying session between the Corvette Racing teammates for Saturday’s Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.
Milner reeled off a best lap of 1:40.263 to edge out class championship leader Taylor by just 0.003 seconds.
It marked Milner’s long-awaited first WeatherTech Championship pole in the car he’ll share with Nick Tandy in the two-hour and 40-minute GT-only contest.
The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, which paced both of Friday’s practice sessions in the hands of Porsche factory driver Kevin Estre, will roll off third on the grid after being qualified by Cooper MacNeil.
MacNeil’s 1:42.132 was nearly two seconds off Milner’s pole-winning lap.
Re: C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/09/2101:09 AM
C8.R Corvette Racing will line up 1-2 for the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR on Saturday, with Tommy Milner leading the way following Friday’s qualifying session for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Virginia International Raceway.
Milner, driving the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, set a lap of 1:40.263 (117.410 mph) to the best Corvette Racing teammate Jordan Taylor by a scant 0.003 seconds in the 15-minute session. The two Corvettes will lead the all-GT field at the start for the noon ET broadcast on the NBC network.
It was the first pole for Milner this year and his first with Corvette Racing. He was the fastest qualifier at VIR in the 2004 GRAND-AM Rolex Series’ GT class.
Milner and teammate Nick Tandy arrived at VIR with momentum following back-to-back wins at Laguna Seca and Long Beach. Their results have helped solidify Corvette Racing’s hold on the top two spots in the GTLM Drivers standings with two events to go.
Taylor and Antonio Garcia enter Saturday leading the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Drivers Championship on the strength of four wins and six pole positions this year. The No. 3 Corvette C8.R duo also won five races in 2020 en route to the class title.
All four Corvette drivers have tasted success at VIR. Garcia’s three VIR wins, all with Corvette Racing ranks him second among all IMSA drivers entered for Saturday’s race. leads all active IMSA drivers with three VIR wins. Milner, Taylor and Tandy each have two victories to their credit.
In addition, Chevrolet leads all manufacturers with eight IMSA VIR wins with four coming from Corvette Racing.
The Michelin GT Challenge at VIR is scheduled for noon ET on Saturday with live coverage on NBC, NBC Sports Gold and Trackpass. Live IMSA Radio coverage will air on XM 202, SiriusXM Online 992 and IMSA.com, which also will host live timing and scoring.
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R GTLM POLE-WINNER:
“It’s relieving in some sense! It’s good to get these little victories like qualifying. It doesn’t mean everything, but it means something, for sure. I’m really happy with our Corvette. The balance has been perfect today, and the pace has been excellent. I’m glad I could finally put it all together in qualifying to get a pole.”
“I spent almost all my entire career racing the same class of car. I got my first-ever career pole position in GRAND-AM in 2004 at this racetrack. It feels fitting to get my first ALMS GT/GTLM pole here at VIR. I’m super happy. It’s good to have the pace in the Corvette. I’m happy for our guys as well. As satisfying as it is for me, it’s satisfying for them, as well. Qualifying doesn’t mean a ton, obviously; the race is what matters. To get these little battles and little victories means something for sure. It feels great.”
MOMENTUM ON THE NO. 4 CORVETTE SIDE:
“We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing, finding every last little bit out of the car, out of ourselves and out of the pit stops. Even though there are three cars in the class, we are racing harder than we ever have against our teammates. It’s great racing. For the fans watching and at the track, they can tell that when we are racing, we are racing these guys as hard as we ever have anyone else in our careers. Those guys are the best competition to have the same car, the same equipment and same everything. To get these little victories means something.”
“The race is going to be very challenging for both our cars and the Porsche as well. Maybe not in qualifying speed, they aren’t the fastest. But if you look at practice times, they do seem to have the faster car. It will be a big challenge for both the Corvettes to maximize our strategy as good as we possibly can. We are racing our teammates, for sure, but we’ll our best to make sure a Corvette wins the race. If that means we have to work together a little at the start of the race to not fight ourselves too much in order to get as much of a gap as we can, then we’ll do that. I’ve never felt like I’ve had to race so hard in my life than racing our teammates this year. They have been superfast and competitive. It’s taken us a little bit to get to their level in some sense and get these wins. But I’m happy we’re there. I’m looking forward to the race.”
RACING IN HIS HOME STATE:
“VIR is essentially my home track. I live in northern Virginia and only four hours away from here. It’s a track where I’ve raced for many, many years, and I’ve had success in the past. It’s one of your classic, all-time great sports car tracks in the world. It has some of the best people who run this racetrack as well, so it’s always a pleasure to be here. The fans are awesome. There are lots of campers, lots of families and lots of people having a good time. In years past, the race atmosphere has been great, and the fan walk is always packed full of people. I’m excited to put on a good show tomorrow for the fans.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R QUALIFIED SECOND IN GTLM:
“It was good. In three-thousandths of a second, I should have gone to the bathroom before qualifying. Actually I did, but I should have gone again maybe three times! It was good to get to show how close these cars are. Looking at the data, you can really see how close everything was. It’s good to get another 1-2. The race will be interesting tomorrow. It still looks like there will be mixed conditions. So there’s still a lot to play for.”
Re: C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/09/2107:03 PM
C8.R Corvette drivers Tommy Milner & Nick Tandy scored their 3rd consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship class win in Saturday’s hard-fought Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway.
The 2 hour & 40-minute GT only contest saw all 3 GTLM machines take turns leading & trading paint, with the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R coming out on top following a final-hour fight.
A fuel only stop while under the race’s only full-course caution saw the No. 3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia emerge as the leader after a pit stop miscue set the class championship-leading car back by more than 30 seconds.
The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Kevin Estre, however, pushed his way into the lead with less than an hour to go, only to get shoved off track by Tandy moments later.
No further action was taken after IMSA officials reviewed the incidents.
Tandy made his final stop just as Estre went off-course at Oak Tree, cementing a Corvette Racing 1-2 finish in the penultimate round of the season. The Englishman finished 17.852 seconds ahead of the No. 3 Corvette of Garcia, with Estre taking the checkered flag a further three seconds back in third.
Estre came into contention courtesy of the yellow for the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Mario Farnbacher, who plowed into tire barriers with 1 hour & 27 minutes to go. Cooper MacNeil started the No. 79 Porsche in third, but dropped more than 30 seconds from the Corvettes before making a stop & driver change early on.
Re: C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/09/2107:55 PM
C8.R pole-winner Tommy Milner in the #4 Corvette C8.R maintained his advantage at the start of the race on the damp but drying 17-turn, 3.27-mile Virginia International Raceway but only until the first corner. On the exit of Turn 1, teammate Jordan Taylor in the yellow #3 ’Vette got on the inside and found traction on a dry strip to easily out-accelerate the gray sister car to move ahead. By Lap 6, they looked unopposed the WeatherTech Porsche 911 RSR was over half a minute down and MacNeil pitted on Lap 9 to hand off to Kevin Estre.
Milner, running barely half a second behind, pitted on Lap 15 to hand off to Nick Tandy.
The #3’s first stop didn’t come until Lap 30, and it was a bad one, apparently due to having the rear tires ready but the wrong way around so that Taylor’s co-driver Antonio Garcia emerged some 25sec behind Tandy. It also left him only 10sec ahead of the charging Estre. These gaps closed up on Lap 42 when the full course yellow flew for a GTD Acura in the tires.
When the pits opened, the trio pitted, and the #3 having stopped far more recently needed just a splash of fuel and no new tires, allowing it to jump the #4 into the lead. Tandy could also now expect opposition from Estre’s Porsche
The green flag came with 66min45sec to go, and Tandy’s initial attack on Garcia allowed Estre to draw alongside the Briton, but found himself run out of road by the #4 Corvette.
It took less than a lap for Estre to remount an attack, and this time he out fumbled Tandy and immediately applied the pressure on leader Garcia.
It took until Lap 57 for Estre to slot the Porsche into the lead at Oak Tree Bend, but both of them lost momentum, so that Tandy not only found a way around his teammate, he was also able to elbow Estre onto the grass, so that he moved into the lead and leading a Corvette 1-2.
Once Estre cleaned up his tires, he delivered the fastest lap of the race so far purple in all three sectors three-tenths faster than the #3 Vette, and on Lap 61 the Porsche was back up to second but now 2.5sec behind Tandy. That move prompted Garcia to pit for the final time, and this time he did take new tires.
Meanwhile, Estre lost time stumbling and sliding wide as he caught GTD traffic, so that on Lap 62 he was over 7sec in arrears of Tandy with 40mins to go. Three minutes later, Estre was off the road at Turn 11 and gently in the tires.
Yet just in case there was a caution, Corvette pulled Tandy in, which allowed Estre to briefly take the lead. However, there was no caution, and the WeatherTech Porsche pulled in, IMSA Radio reporting that he was missing his left-hand mirror and had a slightly dented nose. He was now half a minute off leader Tandy, who had a 2sec margin over Garcia, although the #3 car started shaving the deficit in every sector.
But with 10mins to go, Tandy was still around 2sec in front, and Garcia suffered loss of traction, misjudging a lapping maneuver on the GTD-leading BMW, spinning the pair of them & allowing the sister car an easy 3rd straight IMSA GTLM SportsCar Championship win, by 17.8sec. Estre came home 38sec off the lead.
Re: C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/09/2108:40 PM
C8.R Corvette Racing’s Nick Tandy & Tommy Milner took their third straight victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship by winning the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR on Saturday as the late-season roll for the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
Tandy went from 3rd to 1st in the span of a contact-filled, half-lap with 50 minutes to go for the winning move. Saturday’s victory goes along with the triumphs at Laguna Seca and Long Beach for the No. 4 Corvette C8.R.
Antonio Garcia & Jordan Taylor, leaders in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Drivers Championship, finished second in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette.
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R GTLM RACE WINNER:
“Today is all about that guy right there, Nick Tandy. He made it happen today, for sure. Porsche definitely had pace on us for sure, but when you have got a guy like that who can race like he does, he got a little bit, but he gave it right back. What an awesome race. That was a lot of fun to watch. I’m super happy for all of our Corvette Racing guys. We got a little lucky there with the No. 3 car. I think it was going to be close at the end. What a race!
That was awesome.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R GTLM RACE WINNER:
“Look at this winning car!
First, congratulations to Corvette Racing One-two again.
It was an awesome race. It shows a way to win a race when you don’t have the fastest car. Honestly, the Porsche should have won the race. But honestly, when you kind of lose your brain and start driving stupid, stuff happens. Luckily with our Corvettes, we kept them on the track and didn’t do too much damage to them, so here we are talking to you.”
Re: C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/09/2110:35 PM
This has been an unusual farewell season for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans class. That doesn’t mean it has lacked purpose or meaning for the competitors.
In the penultimate race before the class goes away, Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner teamed Saturday to win the Michelin GT Challenge At VIRginia International Raceway. After Tandy recovered from contact with Kevin Estre, he finished the victorious run by the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. Tandy crossed the stripe 17.852 seconds ahead of the team’s No. 3 sister car co-driven by Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia.
Tandy & Milner moved to within 127 points of Taylor and Garcia with only the season finale the Motul Petit Le Mans on Nov. 13 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta remaining. “This whole year as a team has been, really, excellent,” Milner said. “We had a really good car at Daytona and Sebring, but things didn’t go our way. It was frustrating for us and frustrating for our crew guys. Everybody buckled down and focused on getting every last detail just right, so we get these wins. I’m a firm believer in making your own luck.”
Lately, they have made their own luck and more. The win was the third consecutive for the No. 4 Corvette, which had fallen behind the No. 3 Corvette early in the season, and it came despite contact that could have cost the No. 4 car dearly. “It was an interesting one,” Tandy said. “It’s always great to win a race when you really shouldn’t. It was fun out there.”
Corvette Racing has yet to reveal its plans for 2022, but the battle for the soon-to-be defunct class still carries weight for the team.
On Friday, Milner broke Taylor’s five-race pole-winning streak by qualifying the No. 4 car just 0.003 seconds ahead of Taylor in the No. 3 car around the 17-turn, 3.27-mile VIR course. On Saturday, the two cars traded the lead before Tandy was able to pull away from Garcia in the final minutes of the 2-hour 40-minute race.
After the mid-race incident, Estre and Cooper MacNeil finished third, 38.655 seconds off the pace, in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche RSR-19.
“It shows a way to win a race when you don’t have the fastest car,” Tandy said. “Honestly, the Porsche should have won the race. But honestly, when you kind of lose your brain and start driving stupid, stuff happens. Luckily, with our Corvettes, we kept them on the track and didn’t do too much damage to them.” The victory was the fifth by the No. 4 Corvette at VIR and third each at the track for Tandy and Milner. Milner now has 20 career IMSA victories, Tandy 18.
As the dust settled, Milner praised Tandy for hanging on through the contact.
“He made it happen today, for sure,” Milner said. “Porsche definitely had pace on us for sure, but he got a little bit, but he gave it right back. What an awesome race.”
NBC’s live coverage of Motul Petit Le Mans will start at noon ET Nov. 13 and go until 3 p.m., when NBCSN takes over the coverage until the checkered flag. Tickets are available now at roadatlanta.com.
Re: C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/09/2110:47 PM
Nick Tandy & Tommy Milner converted their pole position to a victory in the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, but the win was anything but simple for the No. 4 Corvette duo, who had to endure racing’s version of a fistfight with the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR in the second half of the race.
Corvette had controlled the opening stints of the race with ease until a full-course yellow brought the No. 79 Porsche back into contention. Kevin Estre had taken over the No. 79 Porsche from Cooper MacNeil earlier in the race and the Porsche factory driver wasted no time in getting his elbows out as he beat on and banged doors with the No. 4 Corvette and the No. 3 Corvette C8.R en route to the lead.
Tandy would fight back, however, slipping to the inside of Estre at Oak Tree Corner. Neither Estre nor Tandy yielded an inch, but the No. 79 Porsche soon ran out of room and slid onto the dirt and grass on the exit of the corner. The No. 79 Porsche dropped back to third in GT Le Mans after the off-track excursion.
Estre, now hungry to regain the time lost, made a costly error at Oak Tree Corner as the Frenchman carried too much speed into the double right-hander. The No. 79 Porsche slid into the tire barriers, effectively yielding the win to the No. 4 Corvette.
“Kevin is a good friend of mine, I respect him a lot, he’s a great driver but when you start smashing into cars in front of you when you’ve got no real room or right to just put your car where he did, it’s just I think what happened is probably karma or whatnot,” Tandy said.
Despite the fact that there were only three cars in the class, this was one of the best GTLM battles of the season. MacNeil started the race in the No. 79 Porsche and brought the car into the pits almost immediately after meeting minimum drive time. The silver-ranked MacNeil had already fallen nearly 30 seconds behind the two Corvettes, though.
The WeatherTech Racing team needed a full-course yellow which it got in the form of a single-car crash involving Mario Farnbacher in the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura to get back into the race. When the caution period ended, the Kevin Estre Show began as the veteran GT racer navigated the Porsche through the Virginia hills with no shortage of door-banging and bumper-beating.
The No. 3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor held on for second ahead of the WeatherTech Porsche, but contributed some drama of their own. With just 10 minutes remaining, Garcia made a mistake at Turn 1 and crashed into the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3 of Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley that was leading the GTD class. Garcia bounced off the curb on the inside of the track and spun into the right rear of the BMW. The contact caused a puncture for the Turner BMW, costing it the win.
Corvette Racing’s Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner took their third straight victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship by winning the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR on Saturday as the late-season roll continues for the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. Tandy went from third to first in the span of a contact-filled, half-lap with 50 minutes to go for the winning move. Saturday’s victory goes along with the triumphs at Laguna Seca and Long Beach for the No. 4 Corvette C8.R.
Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, leaders in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Drivers Championship, finished second in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette. They only need to start the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta to wrap up their second straight title and another Manufacturers Championship for Chevorlet.
Saturday’s race was full of momentum changes and strategies all on NBC’s national television audience. Taylor led from the start, overtaking pole-sitter Milner into the first corner. The two Corvettes stretched out their lead over third-place Cooper MacNeil to around 35 seconds before Milner made the first Corvette pit stop 28 minutes into the race for fuel, Michelin tires and a driver change to Tandy. That came in response to a full-service stop for the No. 79 10 minutes earlier, and the combo of the No. 4 Corvette’s pace and a quick stop meant Tandy was clear in second place by 40 seconds.
The No. 4 Corvette inherited the lead on a slow stop for the No. 3 C8.R team 53 minutes into the race. Taylor led by more than a minute, but the pit stop misstep relegated Garcia to second but still clear of Kevin Estre in the No. 79. The race’s lone full-course caution came near the halfway point and shifted the strategy fortunes. Tandy stopped for fuel and tires, the earlier stop allowing the No. 4 team to perform a tire change while refueling the Corvette. Garcia got tires only after barely 20 minutes of green flag running.
The restart with 66 minutes left saw the three GTLM contenders in a line. Estre shoved Tandy out of the way for second place with about 50 minutes left and did the same to Garcia – still on older tires – shortly thereafter. The battle between the No. 3 Corvette and the 79 allowed Tandy to catch back up to the lead pair. He got by Garcia during the 3 vs. 79 fight and stuffed the No. 4 Corvette to the inside at Turn 12 leading on to the backstretch to take the lead.
Corvette Racing will close the 2021 season at Petit Le Mans from Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Saturday, November 13.
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R GTLM RACE WINNER:
“What a great win. I got a pretty poor start and was in the wrong engine mode. That was my fault and that let Jordan get pretty far up alongside me. With the conditions as they were, I just went a little bit wide in Turn One and that was the spot gone. From there it was just about trying to get back up to him and saving as much fuel as I could. When the Porsche came in so early there, the plan for us was to try to cover them on strategy in case a yellow came out.
Today we definitely needed a bit of luck and got that. We also had this guy next to me (Nick Tandy) in the car at the end. He did an absolutely incredible job. He got raced really hard and raced back pretty hard for a pretty good show! I’m super happy for our whole team another win for the 4 Corvette. It’s another 1-2 for Corvette Racing. It definitely didn’t look like was going to go that way for us, but a lot of hard work, good racing and here we are 1-2 again. It feels great, feels good for the team and I’m happy to get one of these Michelin Man trophies.”
EMOTION BEHIND THE WIN AND WINNING THREE IN A ROW:
“Nick and I were talking after Lime Rock. We felt like we had a car that was fast and a crew that was having good pit stops. We were just missing the last little piece. Sometimes it’s luck and sometimes it’s the little mistakes that we all make. I will say that for the whole year the team has been really good on our side. We had a super-fast car at Daytona. Sebring and other things didn’t go our way. It was frustrating for us and frustrating for our crew guys. It was a time for everyone on our side to buckle down and get every last little detail just right so we get these wins. I’m a firm believer of making your own luck. From our side, we made another conscious effort to make sure we were doing everything we could possibly could to get the result.
We had the speed and all the ingredients to get these wins; it just wasn’t getting put together. When you make that extra effort and get the results, it’s one of those things that encourages that same intensity, same drive and same passion that got us three wins. Today was about making sure we continued down that path. To be honest, we got a little bit lucky today. My start was pretty poor and by trying to cover the Porsche on their pit strategy, that put us in a bad spot if the race had gone green the whole way. Obviously it didn’t but were still behind the eight-ball a little bit by having to cover them. Today we had the luck plus the right guy in the car at the right time. It’s worked for us. We’re making our own luck but also working super hard for it.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R GTLM RACE WINNER:
“I’ve got to give full credit to Corvette Racing, Chevrolet and the guys and girls on this team. It started with Tommy putting it on pole and Jordan again on the front row for Corvette Racing. From the start, we split strategies and nailed all the stops on the strategy from there. The car was bullet-proof. Hats off to everyone on the team.”
FIGHT FOR THE WIN:
“It was an interesting one. There was about an hour-and-15 minutes to go with the three GTLM cars in a line. I especially know how fast that RSR should be around this circuit because I sat in it last year. If there’s a circuit you want to take that car to, it’s this place. With the change in the BoP from last year, we knew they could have walked away with this race. Kevin (Estre) is a good friend of mine. I respect him a lot and he’s a great driver. When you start smashing into cars in front of you when you have no real room or right to put your car where he did… I think what happened was karma or what-not. It was a good race but it’s always great to win the races when you really shouldn’t. It was fun out there. I always enjoy a good fight. When you race people like Kevin, Antonio (Garcia), Tommy and Jordan (Taylor), there’s always going to be a good fight. We enjoyed it, and we got the better of it. I’m really glad the Corvette was up to the job and kept the wheels on it.”
CONCERNED ABOUT A PUNCTURE FROM TURN FOUR CONTACT?
“Yes. The first real contact was a big hit on the wheel. I checked the steering but it was straight. You never know if you’re going to get a puncture or knock off the splitter. I saw where we lost some aero parts at the front. You never really know so you just hope. But what I do know is how strong are these Corvette Racing C8.Rs from experience in the past! It was nerve-wracking but that is IMSA GTLM racing.”
“Personally, it was probably one of the best because we had such a performance deficit. The Porsche couldn’t stretch its legs because it was stuck behind the Corvettes. We just managed to keep him there. We’ve said before that it only takes two cars to make a good race. So when you have three out there at the front fighting for the overall win for us it makes no difference whether we’re fighting for second or third in a class with eight cars in the class or whether it’s the Corvette and Corvette in the third-fastest class. I hope the interest in this race and the interest in GT racing around this weekend made it a good show.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R SECOND IN GTLM
“It was an up-and-down race that ended in another Corvette 1-2. It looked good for us on the 3 car side for much of the race until the yellow came out. That really gave the tire advantage back to Nick as well the 79 since they both were on a three-stop strategy. It made it difficult to defend from the Porsche, and to be honest it wasn’t a clean overtake. In the end, we ended with a 1-2 team finish. Sure we would have liked to be back on the top step but it didn’t work out. We’ll try to get back there at Atlanta.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R SECOND IN GTLM:
“It’s not the way we wanted to end the day after being in control of it from the green flag through the first half of the race on the two-stop strategy. Once the yellow came out, it kind of mixed things up. It was a tough fight all the way to the end. It was a good job by the 4 Corvette and a tough fight with the 79 there in the middle. Good job today for Corvette Racing with another 1-2. We can go to Petit Le Mans now and race as hard as we want to for a win there.”
Re: C8.R CORVETTE RACING AT VIR 2021 - 10/13/2103:45 AM
Tommy Milner revealed post-race that he lost the lead at the start of the race to Corvette Racing teammate Jordan Taylor due to being on the wrong engine map.
There was an uncharacteristic mistake for the No. 3 Corvette Racing crew as well during its first pit stop when it lost nearly 30 seconds due to attempting to put the wrong side tires on the car. The error put co-driver Nick Tandy out into the lead at the time.
Taylor and Antonio Garcia only need to start next month’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans to wrap up their second consecutive GT Le Mans title and another manufacturers’ championship for Chevrolet.
WeatherTech Racing’s Cooper MacNeil described the final hour GTLM scrap between Estre, Garcia and Tandy as “some good hard racing” but “some fair and maybe some not fair.” He added: “That is GTLM; it’s hard and scrappy racing. You hope to be on the good end of it, but today we weren’t.”