CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: Jordan Taylor & Nick Tandy Media Transcript
IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP
SEBRING INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
MOBIL 1 TWELVE HOURS OF SEBRING
CORVETTE RACING JORDAN TAYLOR AND NICK TANDY MEDIA AVAILABILITY TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 18, 2021
Corvette Racing drivers Jordan Taylor and Nick Tandy met with members of the media during a Zoom conference call Thursday ahead of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R
IMPRESSIONS OF FIRST PRACTICE AND THE SILVER MOBIL 1 LIVERY ON THE CORVETTES:
“Practice was good. We did a test here last month, coming off last year where we raced here twice and had some good success. We had some stuff we wanted to work on and felt like we learned some stuff during that day and rolled off the truck well today. There are still some things work on and things to understand about tire life for the weekend, which we will do later today. It is weird driving a silver car. Obviously the 4 car was silver last year, but it’s cool to commemorate the 25-year relationship with Mobil 1. It’s why Corvette Racing… to develop technology that transfers to the street, and that goes hand-in-hand with what Mobil 1 does as well. That relationship has been super strong and brings a lot of success to the team. It’s super cool to be part of this 25-year anniversary.”
WHAT’S YOUR REACTION TO THE NEW LIVERIES?
“I think it’s cool. Racecars are iconic with their look. You can look at the history of Corvette Racing, and it’s been predominantly yellow. Those one-off and unique paint schemes are just as famous because it’s so rare that Corvette changes its color. For us to do a one-off livery like this shows how much the Mobil 1 relationship means to the team.”
REMIND US HOW FAR YOU LIVE FROM THE TRACK AND HOW MUCH THIS RACE MEANS TO YOU BEING A LOCAL.
“It’s two hours for me from home. I’ve been coming here since the mid-90s to watch my dad race here. It was the first place where I drove a racecar in my Skip Barber Racing School car for a three-day session. I’ve been coming here since I was a driver since I was 15 and as a fan since I was four or five. It’s definitely a special place, and it’s rare you get to grow up around such an iconic track.”
DID YOU EVER GET LOST FROM YOUR PARENTS WHEN YOU WERE A KID?
“I think when we were here as a kid, we were looked after pretty close! I don’t think we were able to get away too far. Daytona was where I got into the most trouble as a kid!”
ARE FANS PROTECTIVE OF LIVERIES, NUMBERS AND THEIR FAVORITE THINGS?
“Just because there is a bad reaction, I don’t necessarily think it’s bad; it just means they are passionate about something, they care about it and it means a lot to them. So when you see a bad reaction to something, it can be looked at as a positive that they are so involved and so into it. Like Nick said, liveries can be iconic. You look at the past in sports car racing at something like the Brumos livery was so simple and basic. It’s an iconic look. If you saw Brumos with some different color, I’m sure it would be it odd or if it didn’t have a 59 on it, it would be weird. I understand people’s reactions but at the same time when the Mobil 1 livery come out, it was cool to see people posting the old Corvette liveries like the Goodwrench one, which is iconic on its own. When Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. drove the car, there were some subtle changes when they changed the font on the number when he drove it. Those are iconic looks. After this weekend, this will be an iconic look and we’ll be seeing pictures and videos of the Mobil 1 livery that we did for the Sebring 12 Hours in 2021 for years to come.”
BEING BACK IN MARCH AND WITH MORE FANS BACK, DOES IT FEEL A LITTLE MORE NORMAL AND A 12 HOURS OF SEBRING WEEKEND?
“Yes and no. This morning, I got to do the install lap, so you drive around slowly before driving back to the pits. You’re able to look around, and it’s great to see all the fans throughout the infield. It definitely gives you that aura that the fans are back and it’s the Sebring 12 Hours. I think it’s only going to feel the same again when fans are allowed back in the paddock. Sports car racing is known for being fan-friendly where fans can come talk to the drivers and get close to the cars. That’s the way we grew up racing here in sports car racing, so until we get back to that where we can have an autograph session and we can go back to the Corvette Corral and talk to them in person, it’s not going to have that same effect and you’re not going to have that same kind of build-up before the race.”
ARE YOU BREAKING OUT THE BEEKEEPPER SUIT AGAIN THIS YEAR?
“Last year it was brutally hot, and I think it’s just as hot this weekend! It’s not going to make it out this weekend. That also was the finale last year, so I think I got away with it. This weekend would have taken some more negotiating!”
NICK TANDY, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R
A LOT OF PAST SUCCESS AT SEBRING, SO HOW DOES YOU FEEL COMING INTO THE WEEKEND?
“Feeling good. We tested here a couple of weeks ago after Daytona. It was a good test. The car feels very suited to this style of racetrack. The C8.R, with the development that happened over the course of last year and the winter, it seems like a pretty tough car. It handles the bumps well, it has good downforce, so it handles the bumps at Sebring well. So it feels good to drive. It’s different to what I’ve been used to at Sebring, but we have done a couple of tests here since the end of last season. Tommy (Milner) drove most of the session this morning and Alexander (Sims) turned some laps toward the end to get involved back to the race circuit. I’ll be heading off into FP2. Tommy says the car feels good. Obviously the track changes a lot here at Sebring from week to week, let alone year to year. Getting the cars dialed in and the right tire choice selected for the track conditions is part of the challenge of the 12 Hours. I’ve been able to win here the last three years luckily enough, and the previous three were taken by Corvette Racing. We’re hoping to keep that streak going for the pair of us.”
WHAT’S YOUR REACTION TO THE NEW LIVERIES?
“The special liveries are pretty spectacular. Racecar liveries are iconic. The good liveries and the winning liveries go down in history. The cars are reproduced in other forms. The liveries are seen in pictures for years to come. It’s great that Mobil 1 are on board with us. Personally, it was nice to walk in, and the first time I saw the cars was as I walked into the race paddock yesterday morning. We’re just as big a fan of racecars, how they look, the special liveries and things like this as much as anyone else. It’s good to see.”
HOW OFTEN DURING A LAP AROUND SEBRING WHERE THE CAR IS SO FAR OUT OF THE TRACK AND OFF THE LINE?
“The obvious one and the one we see most often is under the bridge at Turn 17. In this sort of area, you’re typically in an off-throttle or just going back-to-throttle phase. It’s not too difficult to deal with. The one that we struggle with most is when you are hard on power at the exit of Turn One. There’s a couple of big bumps; you’re going back hard on power and the car snaps loose. There’s a big dip and bump in Turn 13, which is quite a critical corner to get speed on the straight down to Turn 15. This track is pretty challenging all the way around.”
NASCAR IS LOOKING AT CHANGING THE NUMBER PLACEMENT ON CARS, AND SOME PEOPLE THINK THE SKY IS FALLING. IN SPORTS CARS, DO FANS REACT DIFFERENTLY THAN NASCAR FANS WHEN YOU DO THIS KIND OF THING?
“I’m kind of with you a bit, to be honest, on the number placement. One of the big things about stock car racing and especially with Cup stuff is that the liveries are based around the big number being on the roof or a door. As far as sports car racing, it’s probably similar. Going back to what we said before, the Corvette Racing colors have always been yellow. When something changes after what’s been iconic for such a long time, it brings out reactions. Everything I’ve seen so far is positive. It’s not like we are ditching the yellow and the normal color scheme forever. It’s a celebration of what we’ve done in the past. I think people appreciate that and we appreciate the fact that we are part of these partnerships that allow us to do these iconic color schemes because of certain successes and reasons. I think it’s all good.”
KEYS TO PERSONAL SUCCESS AT SEBRING?
“It’s a good question and I’m not really sure, to be honest. Last year, we were pretty lucky to be quite fair. We probably had a third- or fourth-place car, but things happened and we were there to pick up the pieces. It wasn’t undeserved, I would say. One of the unique things about the 12 Hours of Sebring typically for the finishing driver… the penultimate time you get out of the car is in the middle of the day and bright sunshine, and the next time you get in for the run to the flag, it’s pitch black. As a driver, you have to deal with this. Maybe there’s something about night racing that suits some people better than others. I know from previous years that we’ve always looked to have cars that were very good in the cool of the night; the track is very different to how it is in the middle of the day. But then everyone knows this, so there’s probably no difference in how you go about setting the car up for the run to the flag. Maybe it’s just a bit of experience. I’ve been coming here since 2013 in the GT or GT Le Mans class, so maybe a bit of experience helps as well.”