Jordan Taylor says the next 3 weeks will be “hectic” for C8.R Corvette Racing as it tackles this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round at Road America before jetting off to France for the team’s highly anticipated return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Pratt & Miller-run squad, which currently leads the IMSA GT Le Mans class championship standings, is set to give the mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette C8.R its Le Mans debut later this month after missing last year’s race due to the COVID-19-related complications.
With just a three-day turnaround between Road America and the day the team needs to be on the ground in France, it has built up a fourth race chassis to deal with the challenging logistics involved.
The postponed French endurance classic is set for Aug. 21-22, with the mandatory test day on Aug. 15.
“I think the biggest part is logistics for the team getting parts, cars and people back and forth between the two,” said Taylor, who will be making his first Le Mans start since 2017.
“They’ve been shipping stuff for the past couple of months overseas to get ready for Le Mans.
“Timing-wise, it’s difficult having Road America this weekend, but at the same time it’s always good to go racing.
“It was a 1-2 last year for Corvette Racing, but it was pretty wild circumstances at the end there with the rain. I think Antonio and Tommy were fourth and fifth on the last restart and survived at the end to get the 1-2.
“Hopefully it will be a little cleaner and smoother this year.
“It’s always been a good track for the team and the car. We did a test there earlier this year, kind of prepping for this week’s race and prepping for Le Mans in the low-downforce kit. We feel confident going back there and to Le Mans.”
Despite being primarily focused on Le Mans, Taylor feels the Road America test in May will also help them in this weekend’s two-hour and 40-minute WeatherTech Championship race.
Taylor and co-driver Antonio Garcia head into Sunday’s race with a 191-point lead over teammates Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy.
“The test was important,” said Taylor. “We learned a lot from the very beginning.
“We started on our sprint configuration and went to low-downforce. From the beginning to the end, we made a bunch of improvements.
“Had we not had those tests, we would have been learning those things at Le Mans, but the time there is crucial to get on track.
“We had two days there with low-downforce, and I think Tommy has done 45 days in the simulator around Le Mans with me watching! We’ve put in a lot of time and effort into it.
“A lot of it is also coming from that simulator time when we saw last year how important, how crucial and how well it worked. That was reiterated and confirmed at our Road America test as well.
“We knew from the simulation what to expect and what kind of changes we wanted to make. It’s looking positive from that point of view for Le Mans.”
“Things Have Just Clicked” For No. 3 Crew Since 2020
Taylor and Garcia have been riding a wave of momentum since IMSA’s return to racing in July 2020, with the pairing having earned nine class wins out of 17 races, including last year’s GTLM drivers’ title.
“It’s kind of crazy how well it’s gone starting in the last year,” said Taylor. “After the COVID break last year, things have gone so well. Things just clicked, especially on the 3 car side.
“A lot of things have gone our way, strategy-wise.
“If you look at the Road America race from last year, we were fourth and fifth until the rain came, and that’s what switched things around and got us back to the lead.
“There were a lot of circumstances like that where we shouldn’t have been in contention and things just flipped around. At the same time, you need to be prepared for those opportunities.
“The team needs to be prepared to call the strategy on tire changes in that situation. A lot of times that can fall on experience.
“We’ve had a lot of close battles with the 4 car where they could have very easily gone the other way, and they could have won all those races. Putting ourselves in the right position in a lot of times and having the little things going our way a lot of the times. Antonio and I have been working well together and the chemistry has been good.”