DETROIT (Sept. 16, 2014) – With 15 years of competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Corvette Racing is more than familiar with competing against the world’s top production-based sports car teams. What’s new is that for the first time, that fight takes place at Circuit of The Americas. Tommy Milner, Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor will drive a Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s six-hour endurance race Saturday.
The trio – teaming in the No. 65 Konica Minolta/Michelin Corvette C7.R – is the only all-American tandem in the race. It will mark the second part of a day-long doubleheader as each will compete in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race earlier in the day.
Milner will drive Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Corvette C7.R alongside Oliver Gavin in the GT Le Mans class with the Taylors in their No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype. The two-hour, 45-minute TUDOR Championship race will precede the six-hour WEC round that will offer the challenge of running from day into night.
The FIA WEC is a global championship that features the 24 Hours of Le Mans, sanctioned by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). Corvette Racing has won Le Mans seven times since 2001 – most recently in 2011 when Milner was part of the winning trio.
The Corvette will find itself among familiar foes in the WEC round. Factory and works-supported efforts from Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche make up the GTE Pro category. Corvette Racing competes in the class annually at Le Mans, where it finished second and fourth this year. Jordan Taylor was in the No. 73 Corvette C7.R that finished as the runner-up, and Milner’s No. 74 Corvette was fourth.
Taylor has been part of Corvette Racing’s Le Mans efforts for the last three years, and this year’s result marked his first podium in the race. He has one start for the team in the TUDOR Championship when he replaced Jan Magnussen in the most recent round at VIR. It was the first time Taylor drove the Corvette C7.R in a high-downforce aerodynamic package.
Ricky Taylor drove a Corvette C6.R last year at Le Mans. This will be his first race in the Corvette C7.R although he drove the car during a couple of demonstration laps at the new National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park two weeks ago.
The FIA WEC’s Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas will be televised live starting at 6 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2. Online coverage also will be available on the WEC website with live radio coverage available via radiolemans.com.
I’m of the mindset that we’re going in there to do the best we can and go for a win. We don’t want to hurt someone’s championship. But that’s more for them to think about and less of my problem, Ricky, Jordan and I will look to put forward a good effort for the fans and for Chevy. It’s not that we have something to prove, but want to represent our team and our series as best we can. We’re all in the same mindset there. In the end, we’ll push for a win.
“There are some differences in how qualifying works (in the FIA WEC race) and being in a six-hour race instead of one that’s two hours and 45 minutes. That will alter the approach a little bit as how we go about the weekend. We’ll be there in the WEC race not to just run around. We’re there to compete and go for a win. But there are guys there that are there regularly who have their own championship to think about. But we want to show the capabilities of the Corvette for potential customers around the world at different tracks other than Le Mans.”
“VIR was sort of a blessing in disguise. It was obviously under terrible circumstances with Jan’s accident and him not being able to drive. I was happy to fill in for him to help the team for the weekend. It was my first time driving the C7R in high downforce trim. At Le Mans we were fully trimmed out in low downforce, so it was a big difference. It couldn’t have been better timing before COTA. I was able to get a feel for the car not just in a normal testing condition but in a competitive environment. So not only did I get a feel for how the car handles, but also what it’s like battling with other GTLM cars. It gives me a little more confidence heading to Texas. With that knowledge I can also give Ricky a few tips as to what to expect from the car when he jumps in it for the first time in COTA.
“It’s good to have gotten some experience at Le Mans racing with these guys. Getting to know how they race and how the different GTE cars balance out against each other. The biggest thing is getting used to the traffic, mainly the P1 cars and their closing speeds.”
“I drove the C6.R at Le Mans last year and have heard so much from the other drivers about the major improvements that have been made. I am most excited about getting to work alongside Jordan, Tommy and the entire Corvette Racing team as I have always said “hi” to the guys but never had a chance to actually work with everyone. This will be a different group of drivers than I have raced with before so it will be a new field of competitors for me although I have seen a number of them on track from being in the P2 car at Le Mans this year.
“I had the chance to drive the Corvette C7.R at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park. It was a great opportunity to get comfortable with the team, the car and its systems during a few laps. The cockpit and ergonomics of the C7.R are great improvements, which makes it more comfortable than the C6.R. I’m ready for the race and eager to learn all I can from Tommy, Jordan and the rest of the Corvette Racing team.”
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving