GTD PRO points lead for Garcia, Taylor, No. 3 Corvette and Chevy
Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Corvette Racing will complete the west-coast swing of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this weekend with an eye toward the horizon and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Sunday’s Monterey Sports Car Championship is the final IMSA round for Corvette Racing ahead of the team’s challenge for a ninth class victory at the French endurance classic. But first thing’s first: maintain the lead of the new GT Daytona (GTD) PRO championships in the Driver, Manufacturer and Team standings heading into the break.
Garcia and Taylor lead in points as they seek their third straight IMSA championship together, having taken the GT Le Mans (GTLM) titles in 2020 and 2021.
This time around, they’re in the GTD-spec No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R that differs from the GTLM version in a couple of key ways.
For one, the Corvette has 80 additional kilograms of mass (176 pounds) and a 12 percent decrease in air flow, per updated GTD rules. The other big difference is the use of customer Michelin tires for GTD instead of specially designed Michelins that were allowed in GTLM.
Lots of testing and hours of hard work have paid off as the team continues to understand how best to extract the maximum amount of performance from the current Michelin tire. That should come in handy given the high amount of tire degradation that typically occurs around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit.
What’s more, this is the first “normal” two-hour and 40-minute IMSA race of the season.
The previous three events have been 24 hours (Daytona), 12 hours (Sebring, a Corvette victory) and 100 minutes (Long Beach).
Garcia and Taylor would like nothing more than to win on the Monterey coast and head into the Le Mans break with the championship lead.
They placed second in GTLM the last two years, but there is a considerable amount of experience and success that they can use to challenge for a victory this year.
Corvette Racing has won eight times at Laguna Seca since 2004, and the circuit is one of two that the team has raced at in each of its 24 seasons to date. Sebring is the other, and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will join the list at the end of the season with the 10-hour Petit Le Mans.
The Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship is scheduled for 3:10 p.m. ET/12:10 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 1.
The race will air live on the NBC Network and stream on Peacock starting at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT. IMSA Radio will air all on-track sessions at IMSA.com along with XM 207 and SiriusXM Online 992.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:
“Laguna Seca always has been a track where you need to make the tire work at its best.
The performance window is usually narrower than it is anywhere else on our calendar. We’ve never run this specification of car there or this tire there.
We have some information that can transfer from other tracks, so I hope we are in the right spot when we get there.
Everything is so dependent there on weather conditions, so we won’t know where we are until we get to the track.”
Away from the circuit:
“Running in the area is always great around the Monterey coast.
I try to do that every time I go there, one or two training sessions while I’m there. Golf, for sure. You have so many good options in the area.
The food is usually wonderful in the area, with a lot of great places. All three make a great trip and are, really, superb.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:
“We’ve already learned quite a bit this year about tire management and how important tire degradation will be.
Sebring was a great learning experience for us, positively for understanding the car and tire. Laguna Seca is usually a big tire degradation race.
Whoever can manage that the best is usually at the front at the end.
Historically, we’ve run well there, so we have a good understanding of what we need to do.”
Travel tips for Monterey: “There is an Italian restaurant in Carmel with a little bar where you can watch the chefs cook right in front of you.
It’s excellent, and most of the stuff is handmade. Running on the beach is cool there. It’s a great spot. Coming from Florida, there’s no humidity.
At the track, I like going around the circuit. I always walk up to the Corkscrew and walk up turns Nine and 10.
It’s great viewing up there when we have time to watch some other races.”
Keep in mind that C8.R again was BOP'd by Weathertech going into this race