CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD AMERICA: Taylor Puts Corvette on Pole
CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD AMERICA: Taylor Puts Corvette on Pole
1-2 GTLM start for team’s 20th race at Road America; Milner second in qualifying
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 7, 2021) – Jordan Taylor gave Corvette Racing its second pole position at Road America in three years with the fast time in qualifying for the IMSA SportsCar Weekend race – the team’s 20th event at the historic road course and a fourth straight 1-2 qualifying result in GT Le Mans (GTLM) on the season.
Taylor, driving the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R with Antonio Garcia, set a best lap of 2:20.979 (103.368 mph) ahead of Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race. Taylor and Garcia arrived at Road America after three straight victories and lead the GTLM Drivers Championship, as does Chevrolet in the Manufacturers standings.
Taylor went 0.627 seconds quicker than Nick Tandy in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette that he shares with Tommy Milner. Tandy and Milner were second in the two most recent GTLM races at Watkins Glen and Lime Rock, and they also won the non-points Detroit round in mid-June.
Directly after Road America, Corvette Racing departs for France and its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As is tradition, the team in May used Road America – with its long straights and sections of fast, flowing corners – to test and develop the Corvette C8.R’s low-downforce setup and aerodynamic package.
Corvette Racing will race at Road America in IMSA competition at 1:40 p.m. CT on Sunday. Same-day coverage on NBCSN starts at 8 p.m. ET with live streaming coverage on TrackPass and NBC Sports Gold at 2:35 p.m. ET. Live audio coverage from IMSA Radio will be available on IMSA.com.
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – GTLM POLE-WINNER: “Obviously a good session for us. We had a wet session to get an idea of what the car might be doing. So heading into qualifying, we had some confidence to know what to expect with tire pressures and to how to warm up the tire. It was a little bit drier than yesterday with not as much standing water. Getting the lap time in early when the tire was at its peak is what got us the pole. We almost replicated the lap at the end but I think that was just figuring out where to go in the wet. The C8.R was consistent and it was strong. It’s another 1-2 in qualifying for Corvette Racing so that bodes well for us in the race no matter if the race is wet or dry.”
MORE ON QUALIFYING: “It’s good to be back at Road America. It’s one of our favorite events of the year. It’s Corvette Racing’s 20th race here so it’s special be part of that kind of history at this track. Another 1-2 for the team but it was definitely tricky. We had in-between conditions today for qualifying – we had a wet session yesterday, dry this morning and in the middle for qualifying. It’s good getting the car in these different conditions, especially leading up to Le Mans next week where all these conditions can play a part of it. The more miles we get on the Corvette in these mixed conditions and learn, the better we will be at Le Mans and for tomorrow.”
ARE MIXED CONDITIONS SOMETIMES MORE DIFFICULT THAN FULLY WET? “It was a tricky session. Just watching the first GTD session, they were on slicks but it looked like it was raining on half the track so we didn’t know what to expect. For us, it seemed kind of damp everywhere – like a light rain. But even then, each corner felt different each lap. It was hard to tell if that was tire degradation or grip level or rain. It’s hard when you don’t have that many cars around you to kind of judge from. Thankfully we were able to get that lap in early and set a second pretty good lap at the end. No matter what conditions we get tomorrow, the C8.R will be strong.”
DESCRIBE WHAT IT’S LIKE TO DRIVE THESE CARS IN THE RAIN: “It’s definitely sketchy. When I joined them in 2012 as a third driver, it was known that Gary Pratt (team principal) doesn’t like testing in the rain just because it’s so easy to make a mistake; you’re in a knife edge the whole time. In testing you can’t learn a whole lot, but at the same time you need to test some amount to be prepared for a weekend like this where it is in these conditions. From a driving point of view, it’s on edge… more on edge in the brake zones and everything than it would be in the dry. Locking front tires, locking rears, sliding the car… thankfully the team has developed so many bits of technology in the car: lock-up lights to warn the driver when you’re locking up a tire, traction control lights to let you know when the rear is slipping to give you more signals than what you’re feeling in the car. They’ve definitely made it easier for us throughout the years, but I think that’s what everyone is doing around the world to elevate racing and competition. That’s why I think you’ve seen everyone come so close when it comes to laptime.”
IS THERE A FUN FACTOR TO IT? “It’s fun when you’re fast! When you’re slow, it’s very stressful because it’s so easy to make a mistake. If you just touch the paint at the wrong angle, you’ll be spinning off and you can’t catch the car. It’s impossible. You’re very on-edge but at the same time there is a bit of thrill with that where you are on edge, and the more on-edge you are the more laptime there is. So it’s risk versus reward. Robin Liddell was the one who said years ago in GRAND-AM that any driver who enjoys the rain is lying because at any moment you can send it off pretty quickly. Hopefully tomorrow isn’t as bad as last year. Antonio drove yesterday where it was more wet than today. I think no matter the conditions, the car has been proven. We’re looking forward to it.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – QUALFIED SECOND IN GTLM: “We just missed it a bit with the setup. We’re still working on getting the balance where we need to be. Tomorrow is going to be the challenge if it’s dry with the temps and the tire degradation. If it’s wet, which is looking likely, that presents its own challenges as well. We got some good work in today but the majority will come tomorrow in warmup to make any last-minute improvements.”