Garcia, Milner just miss out on pole in dynamic GTLM qualifying session
BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 4, 2020) – Corvette Racing will start second and third in class for the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship’s TireRack.com Grand Prix following a stunning GT Le Mans (GTLM) qualifying session Friday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Antonio Garcia and Tommy Milner just missed pole position in their Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs by a whisker ahead of Saturday’s six-hour race. Garcia’s best lap in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R was a 1:16.181 (120.029 mph) effort that ended 0.014 seconds off Nick Tandy’s pole-winning time. Milner was basically Garcia’s equal with a 1:16.212 (119.980 mph) lap in his No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette – just 0.045 seconds off the fastest GTLM lap.
The entire GTLM field was within 0.192 seconds at the end of the 15-minute session. It sets up what should be a tantalizing race – the first long-distance event for Corvette Racing since a February round of the World Endurance Championship and the first in IMSA since the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, which also was the debut of the mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
Garcia and teammate Jordan Taylor enter as the GTLM Drivers’ Championship co-leaders, as does Chevrolet in the Manufacturers’ standings. The Garcia/Taylor pairing has won three times in the last four races including two in a row.
Milner and Oliver Gavin sit third in points with a victory at Sebring in July to their credit. Corvette Racing’s four-race winning streak is its longest since the 2014 season.
The Corvette Racing program has won 10 times at Road Atlanta, eight of those in long-distance endurance rounds. Gavin is IMSA’s winningest active driver at the circuit with five wins, and Taylor is a past IMSA winner at the track, having won twice in a prototype. Road Atlanta is one of the tracks at which Corvette Racing tested the mid-engine C8.R during its development phase, albeit more than a year ago. It has been a good omen so far with victories at Daytona, Sebring, Road America and VIR – all places where the Corvette C8.R was tested in the past.
The TireRack.com Grand Prix is scheduled for 11:35 a.m. ET on Saturday with live coverage on NBC Sports Network starting at 11:30 a.m. ET before continuing on Trackpass at 12:30 p.m. and returning to NBCSN at 2:30 p.m. IMSA Radio will have the race on IMSA.com, which also will host live timing and scoring.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – QUALIFIED SECOND IN GTLM:
“I know where those hundredths of a second are! That’s what hurts a little bit. When it’s that close and you don’t know how close they are, you have to guess where pole position is. I knew pole was a 1:16.1 but I didn’t know where in that range of 1:16.1. I knew I had the slowest 1:16.1 you could get, and I still improved by a hundredth on that last lap. I’m sure I could find a tenth on those laps but everyone else can do the same. I really enjoyed this qualifying where it’s all out and you’re really pushing to go for it. It’s a shame it wasn’t enough and being that close. But we probably chose the best race to do this. We have six hours tomorrow to move up. It’s a good start. The Corvette is there. We had reasonably good practice sessions and good data. The cars should be good in the heat so let’s see where we are in the heat. If we win tomorrow by a hundredth then I’ll be good with that!”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – QUALIFIED THIRD IN GTLM:
“When it’s that close, you replay every single lap and you think, ‘If I had done the entry to that one corner the same way on my quick lap, that would have been pole.’ I’m sure every guy in the class had bits and pieces where if you put it all together, it would have been good enough. Congrats to Nick and the 911. They did better job of all of us. This was classic GTLM qualifying with everyone super close. It’s a longer race tomorrow, so qualifying doesn’t matter too much. I think we feel really good about long-run pace based on practice today. It’s certainly good to be toward the front today but I think I’m more excited about the race tomorrow and the pace we have. It was fun to qualify. This track really lends itself to close racing and close lap times between all of us. It should be a good race tomorrow.”
Links and Info for the 2020 Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
Corvette Racing at Road Atlanta: Right Places, Right Times
IMSA Dings Porsche in Latest BoP Update Ahead of Road Atlanta