DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 24, 2021) – Corvette Racing took first and second in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category of Sunday’s 100-minute qualifying race for next weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona as Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims won in their debut with the team.
The victory for Tandy and Sims in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R means they and Tommy Milner will start from the GTLM pole position for Saturday’s Rolex 24 – the opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The Roar Before the 24 test weekend also ended with Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg coming home second in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette. They will drive with Antonio Garcia in the Rolex 24.
Tandy won by 12 seconds over Catsburg as the two Corvette teams played the strategy perfectly during a race that started damp but ended under sunshine. Sims began third but took the race lead on the opening lap with the GTLM field on wet-weather tires, and Taylor ran fifth during a hectic opening. Two full-course caution periods interrupted the early going, and the two Corvettes pitted during the second yellow and went to slick Michelin tires.
Tandy emerged first out of pitlane but third on the track as two other GTLM cars elected not to stop during the yellow, with Catsburg in fifth. He made quick work of the fourth-place car, and the two Corvettes moved to first and second shortly thereafter when the two leaders stopped for the first time.
The No. 3 Corvette team elected to be the first car to make their second and final fuel-only stop with 50 minutes to go while Tandy came in with 43 minutes left. That allowed both cars to bide their time and wait for the then-leading Porsche to stop for its final time with 17 minutes remaining. Both Corvettes comfortably went back through to first and second to the end.
Sunday’s race wrapped up three days of testing and development at Daytona ahead of the Rolex 24. Both Corvettes went through various chassis and suspension adjustments, among other
Corvette Racing is a three-time winner of the Rolex 24: it won the race overall in 2001 and scored back to-back GTLM wins in 2015 and 2016. A year ago, the team debuted the C8.R with a fourth-place finish for Garcia, Taylor and Catsburg as the No. 3 Corvette recorded more miles than any Corvette in the race’s history.
The mid-engine C8.R and Corvette Stingray street car were developed simultaneously, and the race car and production vehicle share more technology and parts than any previous-generation Corvette. When initial Corvette C8.R design and development work began more than six years ago, Corvette Racing engineers worked closely alongside Corvette production personnel with a heavy emphasis on wind tunnel and simulation testing.
Corvette Racing will open its 2021 season with the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31, which will air beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 30 across NBC, NBCSN, TrackPass and the NBC Sports App. IMSA Radio will air full practice and race coverage at IMSA.com.
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM WINNER:
“It was awesome. The car was really good. It’s great to work with my new teammates – Alex (Sims), Tommy (Milner, full-season teammate) and all the boys and girls at Corvette Racing. The car went round and round for an hour and 40 minutes. We’ve now got a week to sit on the pole for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. So that’s pretty cool.”
“It was fun, actually. Like Alex says, I think it’s been really good for the Roar. It enables you to get some sort of different testing in, but it’s obviously meaningful. Everyone wants to start the Rolex 24 from pole position, and we got to do this in a pressure situation and run through all the procedures. The Corvette was great. We have been working through a program as normal. Even working with the strategists and things like this is something we don’t expect to go through before our first race with a new program. It was good to race with the other GTLM cars, and I’m sure it will be equally fun and probably a lot more close this time next week. It obviously is a great start for me and Alexander to kick off our time with Corvette Racing.”
IMPACT OF NOT HAVING AS MANY FANS AT THE TRACK: “One hundred percent, it takes away from the event. Our sport is based on people’s excitement of the competition and watching and following. A lot of us get to go racing because people enjoy watching what we are doing. Car brands and companies get behind our sport as such. I think I said to Alexander when we walked in the track on Friday, it’s very strange not to have people around. Once you get into the race, when you put on your helmet on and you’re in a competitive environment, you concentrate on your team’s job – and that’s to do the best for your car and for the people that are following you racing. The rest of the week outside the car, it’s very different. I’ve made a lot of friends here in Daytona at this event and in the area over the last few years; it’s a shame not to see them. Hopefully we are back here in 12 months’ time and I’ll get to say hello to a lot of them again.”
THOUGHTS ON FIRST RACE WITH THE CORVETTE C8.R AFTER RACING AGAINST IT: “Racing against it last year, it looked like a car that could go around and around doing great lap times pretty consistently. Sure enough, these guys at Corvette Racing know a thing or two about building endurance race cars. Everything is slightly different than what I’m used to, but ultimately it’s designed to a similar set of regulations. The two of us have watched it race last year, and it’s as I expected. The team that work around it are champion class; they are multi-time champions for a reason. We’re both very lucky to be part of this program and hope we can carry on and take the C8.R to its first proper endurance, long-distance victory. That is the plan.”
ONE THING TO REMEMBER 10 YEARS FROM NOW AFTER WINNING YOUR FIRST RACE WITH CORVETTE: “I hope that it was the beginning of many. That it was the first time we sat in front of the media and you guys after winning a big race. Hopefully we will be here in seven days’ time also.”
CONCERNED ABOUT THE PORSCHE COULD MAKE IT ON ONE STOP: “Yes because if there was a heavy crash and a long caution period, it was possible for cars to stretch their fuel a lot. They had already made their stop and driver change. I think their plan was to stay out, hope for a lot of yellows and roll the dice that way. We rolled the dice and went with the slick tires on our first stop whereas a couple of the other cars kept their wet tires. It proved to be a great strategic call from Corvette Racing to get us the 1-2 in the end.” M
WAYS TO IMPROVE CORVETTE RACING AND THE C8.R AFTER ITS FIRST YEAR: “At the end of the day, Corvette Racing had a fantastic season with the C8.R in the debut year of the car with a ton of race wins and championships. I do know they are keen to score a long-distance victory, and it’s something we obviously are keen to help with. How we go about that is difficult to say other than just being consistent. From what I’ve seen in our limited together, it’s doing things the Corvette Racing way – going out and consistently being in and around the pace of the front-running cars. As we all know in longer races, you have to have a bit of luck come the end of the race. That’s the plan for this season: try and get a few marquee event wins.”
ALEXANDER SIMS, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM WINNER:
“It was an interesting first taste of the conditions in the Corvette. Very quickly, I was given a lot of confidence from the car as to how to push. I was able to get around the BMWs on the first lap and then really just find my feet lap by lap. With the couple of cautions, it didn’t feel like there was a huge amount of laps but nevertheless it was nice to get some experience in the wet and get a feeling for how the C8.R was working. Doing a hot pit stop under a reasonable amount of time pressure was nice; not a lot of the race had gone so we didn’t need to fuel up too much. It was nice to go through all the procedures and have a taste of it before the 24 Hours.”
IMPACT OF NOT HAVING AS MANY FANS AT THE TRACK: “I echo what Nick said. It’s strange, particularly the pre-race procedure… you normally have the grid with all the fans. Thinking ahead to next week and not having that sort of awesome fan interaction is a shame. But it’s how it is and it’s the right thing for the moment. We’re all looking forward to getting back to those days.”
THOUGHTS ON FIRST RACE WITH THE CORVETTE C8.R AFTER RACING AGAINST IT: “I only drove against the C7. I remember a month or two ago from my first time in the C8.R at Sebring, it was super impressive… it really exceeded my expectations and was very, very good in many different phases of the corner. Working here this week so far, things have gone pretty well. Here in Daytona with the different conditions and the track being green, there have been some things to work on. But the Corvette Racing team has been doing a fantastic job of getting the car and us up to speed.”
CORVETTE WON THE LAST TWO SPRINT RACES AT DAYTONA. CAN IT WIN THE ROLEX: “Personally I think it’s definitely possible. The competition is always strong in GTLM. We’ll have to keep working hard to improve things. But for me, everything is pointing in the right direction. We’ve done some good learning over the last few days. We need to keep things clean the first 16, 18, 20 hours to make sure we are there to fight at the end.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:
“Great job today by everyone at Corvette Racing. It’s great to see Nick and Alexander get a win in their first race with the team, and we are on pole as a result. You couldn’t ask for much more. We had a little bit of a bumpy start to the weekend, but since then the Corvette and the crew have been spotless. It’s been a great test. It’s been good to get Nick and Alexander some quality time in the car. We’ve all been happy with the balance and the changes that we are making; we are seeing good progress on all fronts. The C8.R is getting better, we are getting our processes down better with driver changes and every aspect to be as successful as we can for be ahead of a 24-hour race… trying to go through all the details, shore up processes and those type of things. This is what the Roar is good for when you have new teammates, new crew guys and that kind of thing – anything that’s new from years past. It’s good opportunity for everyone to get comfortable again with their jobs and roles. I think we can that for us on the 4 car side, we’ve had a very productive test.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM:
“The name of the game for us was getting into next weekend with this Corvette in one piece. I think we’ve done a good job of that. We used today as a test session for the Rolex 24, and everything went really well. We did try some different setup stuff to help prepare us for next week so we can pick one. When we came back here in July last year, we showed everyone how much we were able to develop the C8.R since the Rolex 24. It was a little bit of a short offseason, and we went back and looked everything again. We came here with whole new philosophy on the car. Some things worked and some things didn’t, so I think it’s good we had these test days to try things. We continued to try thing today and I’m sure we’ll be able to come back with a couple of new options come next week.”
NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FINISHED SECOND IN GTLM:
“The race was awesome. It was a good start to our weeks here at Daytona. It’s always good to come off with a 1-2 finish, and now we get to start ahead of everyone else in the Rolex 24. The team did a good job with the strategy calls, and the Corvette was good in both the wet and the dry. We learned some stuff and have some items to improve on in the car. But this has been a great way.”
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:
“We were able to cycle through all three drivers this weekend, which is good. Knowing that I wasn’t doing the race today, I had a little bit of limited time but did get almost half of the night practice Saturday. That was good. Our goal was to carry on to know where we are in testing different things in order to have the most data we can headed into the race. We still don’t know what next weekend will bring with track conditions, the weather and the like to know how to react. It was a classic Roar because you get track time but it’s limited because there are three of you in the car. It is a continuous working effort between all three drivers. In a way, it’s good that the car is going in one direction. We are starting to know what we need to do ahead of Saturday.”
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