Milner second in ultra-close GTLM qualifying between two Corvette C8.Rs
SEBRING, Fla. (March 19, 2021) – Antonio Garcia put Corvette Racing on the GT Le Mans (GTLM) pole position Friday for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Advance Auto Parts as the team looks to continue its strong opening to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Garcia, driving the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, set a GTLM record with a 1:54.910 (117.169 mph) around the 3.74-mile, 17-turn circuit for Saturday’s race in central Florida. He was a sliver quicker – by just 0.034 seconds – than teammate Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette. His time was a 1:54.944 (117.135 mph).
Garcia was the GTLM pole-winner for November’s rescheduled 2020 Sebring 12 Hours, and he shared the GTLM Drivers Championship with teammate Jordan Taylor. The pairing, along with Nicky Catsburg, won the Rolex 24 At Daytona to open the 2021 season.
Milner, Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims were second at the Rolex but were the GTLM pole-sitters there. Milner also won a two-hour, 40-minute sprint race at Sebring in July with Oliver Gavin.
Corvette Racing and Chevrolet sit 1-2 in the early-season GTLM points standings. The No. 3 Corvette group leads over the No. 4 C8.R in full-season points, but the positions are switched in the Michelin Endurance Cup. The four-race championship is made of IMSA’s four long-distance races with Milner, Tandy and Sims claiming the most points at the pre-determined marks of the Rolex 24. Sebring serves as the second round of the MEC.
All signs point toward Corvette Racing contending for its 13th victory at Sebring International Raceway and 12th in the annual 12-hour enduro. The program’s last two Rolex 24 victories in 2015 and 2016 led to race wins at Sebring only weeks later.
Pole position in #GTLM for @AntonioGarcia_3 in the 3 @TeamChevy #Corvette… by just .034 seconds over @TommyMilner in the 4 #C8R. Always good to start #Sebring12 w/ a #Corvette 1-2 pic.twitter.com/bphZFhPP07— Corvette Racing (@CorvetteRacing) March 19, 2021
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.
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET on Saturday. The race will air on NBCSN from 10 a.m.-noon and 7-10:30 p.m. ET. The full race will be streamed on TrackPass via NBC Sports Gold and the NBC Sports App. IMSA Radio will air full qualifying and race coverage at IMSA.com along with Sirius 216, XM 392 and SiriusXM Online 992.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM POLE-WINNER:
“It was very stressful! We are not used to qualifying together with the GTD cars, so initially it was very difficult for us to gauge how much room you had to fall back in order not to catch them. It seemed like no matter how much we were back, we were still catching them. I knew Tommy was coming from behind me, so I couldn’t really open a gap; I didn’t want to bother him. The first attempt was really bad. The second one I thought I had enough gap but had to dive for a pass going into Turn 17. I knew it was a good lap, so I had to go for it. I’m very happy for Corvette. It’s always good to have Corvette Racing up there 1-2 even if it is a long race. Let’s see if we can keep those positions like we did at Daytona.”
ON QUALIFYING WITH GTD CARS: “We are just used to qualifying alone, so we need to get used to it. For the first race, it was a little bit of a shock for us because we didn’t know how to place ourselves on track not to interfere with them and for them to not interfere with us. That’s the key thing. They have 12-13 cars in that category so it’s always difficult around Sebring anyway. When it comes to shorter races, I don’t know what’s going to happen. Sebring is a long track. I think we all more or less got a clean lap but for sure it was stressful.”
TELL US ABOUT THE POLE RUN WHICH IS A NEW TRACK RECORD AND BEING BACK WITH JORDAN AND NICKY AFTER WINNING THE ROLEX 24: “It is always good to be back at Sebring and always special to do qualifying with lighter tanks and going for it. I really enjoy doing that even though with the new rules this year we are sharing the track with the GTD category, so that brings a little more excitement into the qualifying because you need to place yourself in the right position not to catch them. It was very stressful and I didn’t know what the gap would be between the two categories. On my fast lap, I had to pass a car into (Turn) 17 but it didn’t seem to disturb me too much. I think it was (Earl) Bamber driving the other car. He didn’t block me or put me in a bad situation, so sorry if I destroyed his lap but I had to go. I’m pretty happy with that and a 1-2 for Corvette Racing. We will see if we can keep this for tomorrow’s race.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE IS UNFINISHED BUSINESS HERE FOR THE C8.R? “I think so. Last year we were in position as we proved by setting the pole and then being up there fighting with the BMWs and Porsches. I think we had the pace at the end, but unfortunately we couldn’t fight for it. So tomorrow is just another race, and we need to focus on that… on trying to win this thing. It’s going to be tough as Sebring has always been. It’s different conditions. Hopefully it won’t be as hot as it was yesterday. Maybe things will be a tiny bit easier. We will go through all three different conditions – cooler at the beginning, then very hot, then cooler again at night. We just need to survive out there and then when it gets to the last two hours, it’s game on. Let’s see how it goes, and as you said, unfinished business from last year so let’s see if we can take home this one.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – QUALIFIED SECOND IN GTLM:
“We can’t be unhappy with first and second. To be that close and not having scored a pole in IMSA competition is frustrating! But the cars were obviously super-quick today. The competition is also close, too. It looks like we will have a pretty tough race tomorrow. It’s tough no matter what at Sebring, but when you have three other cars that are going to be competitive for the whole race, that makes it trickier. We still have a little work to do with car setup and get it as good as we can for the whole 12 hours. We’re starting from a good spot in terms of position on the track but from a comfort standpoint, we’re in a good place too. We’ll do a little more in the warmup, and we have 12 hours to make little tweaks and tunes as we need.”
EVOLUTION OF C8.R FROM FIRST TIME AT SEBRING IN 2020: “It’s hard to compare to our first time here. Every time we go to the track, the guys are taking lessons from data and from the simulator to improve things. If we went back to exactly how we ran for the first time here in February of last year, I’m sure the cars would feel significantly different. It’s being refined and evolving over time. Certainly we are going in the right direction.”
2021 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – GTLM
(After One of 10 Events)
1. Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Nicky Catsburg – 382
2. Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy/Alexander Sims – 355
3. Augusto Farfus/Jesse Krohn/John Edwards/Marco Wittmann – 325
4. Davide Rigon/James Calado/Jules Gounon – 308
5. Bruno Spengler/Connor De Phillippi/Philipp Eng/Timo Glock – 286
6. Cooper MacNeil/Gianmaria Bruni/Kevin Estre/Richard Lietz – 280
1. No. 3 Corvette Racing – 382
2. No. 4 Corvette Racing – 355
3. No. 24 BMW Team RLL – 324
4. No. 62 Risi Competizione – 308
5. No. 25 BMW Team RLL – 286
6. No. 79 WeatherTech Racing – 280
1. Chevrolet – 385
2. BMW – 348
3. Ferrari – 330
4. Porsche – 312
Corvette Racing at Sebring: Special Mobil 1 Livery for 12 Hours
[PICS] Corvette Racing Heads to Sebring with New Liveries for the C8.R (And They Aren’t Yellow!)
Corvette Racing at Sebring: Aiming for Florida Sweep