Aug 22 2021 Randall Shinn 2021, Le Mans, Le Mans, News Comments Off on CORVETTE RACING AT LE MANS: Halfway Report

No. 63 Corvette C8.R remains in the GTE Pro hunt on Le Mans debut

LE MANS, France (Aug. 22, 2021) – Corvette Racing remained firmly entrenched among the GTE Pro class leaders as the 24 Hours of Le Mans reached and passed the halfway point early Sunday morning.

The No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg ran third in class as the race entered the final 12 hours. Taylor completed his second double-stint of the event just prior to halfway, handing over to Catsburg, who was next in the rotation.

All three drivers in the No. 63 C8.R drove double stints to open this year’s Le Mans – the first for the mid-engine Corvette. Each driver led for a time as well as the race began to evolve into primarily a battle between Corvette and Ferrari, although five cars remained on the lead lap in GTE Pro.

Unfortunately, the No. 64 Mobil 1/SiriusXM C8.R wasn’t one of them. The entry of Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims was three laps down and in sixth place at the 12-hour mark.

Milner was the early GTE Pro leader despite being hit from behind as the cars rolled off the starting grid for the formation lap. Nevertheless, Milner charged to the head of the category as moderate to heavy rain fell across the circuit. The No. 64 Corvette fell back in the order due to a pitlane refueling penalty and lost additional time when it was separated from the GTE lead pack by one of the three safety cars in the opening three hours.

The biggest blow, however, came in the fifth hour when the Corvette crew had to change the damaged diffuser, which had created a severe vibration for Sims during his second stint. That trip to the garage cost the No. 64 team two-plus laps to the leaders.

Corvette Racing’s next update will come at the 18-hour mark.

JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “We’re at the halfway point now and constantly in the top-three depending on the pit rotation, driver rotation and tire strategy. There’s a long way to go and a lot has already happened. We’re still trying to take care when we can and be careful. Teams are starting to line up their driver rotations and tire strategies for the end. So far, so good.
Improvements to come: “The car felt good in the day yesterday when the track temp was a little higher. Obviously in the night the track temp dropped a bit, and I feel like we struggled a little bit more with pace especially with slow zones. Once the sun comes back up, I think we’ll be in a little bit better shape on pace.”

NICKY CATSBURG, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Unfortunately it started raining in my first double stint, right when the sun was setting. It was very difficult to see where the grip was with a lot of cars going off left, right and center. I think in many ways I took it a little bit too easy, but we’re still in the game and we didn’t make any mistakes. It seems the car is quite decent and we have some pace. So hopefully we can stay in the pack with the leaders and see here we are come Sunday morning.”

NICK TANDY, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “This is Le Mans, unfortunately. We’ve taken a setback and are a few laps behind now. The race is still long. The things that have happened to us can happen to anyone, so we have to stay positive. What happened before the start of the race is out of our control, of course, but damaged the car. A mistake from another driver has cost us a lot of time for our entry. We’re very disappointed that this can happen at all. The thing that makes it more disappointing is that the C8.R, even with the damage, was running so well. Fingers crossed that we can work our way back into it, but it’s going to be a long night.”

ALEXANDER SIMS, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “It was quite a long time in the car. But the beauty the C8.R is that is actually really comfortable and really cool to drive in terms of temperature. It wasn’t stressful from my point of view in terms of the duration. It was good. Obviously to have the floor finally fail – I don’t know the exact analysis, but I’d have to guess it’s to do with the contact the very start – was a real shame. Aside from that we could be in a really good position. That’s the way it goes in these 24-hour races. We’ll stick it out and see what we can get out of it. Stranger things have happened but at the moment it’s a shame.”