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David Malsher-Lopez

Despite heroic comeback, Corvette missing speed at Daytona

The Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3s and Aston Martin Vantages appeared to have more favorable Balance of Performance throughout practice sessions at Daytona, last week and this. But come the race, slick pitwork along with fast and almost error-free driving from Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner ensured the Corvette carved its way up the GTD Pro order.

Despite having to recover from two laps down, following a puncture that led to brake damage, necessitating new rear calipers and rotors, the lone C8.R eventually led 201 of its 729 laps. However, while the last three hours were enlivened by a spicy battle between the Corvette, the WeatherTech Racing Mercedes and the #14 Lexus RC F, it was the Benz that prevailed, beating the C8.R by 3.9sec.

“It was a bit crazy out there,” said Garcia, “With the P3 cars ahead of us, it was a lottery, especially in Turns 1 and 3. Everybody was getting super crazy. When you have a car with ABS, you can just go for it and that’s what people are doing.

“But we did all we could. That was all we had. A lot of times, I was very surprised to be where we were. We seemed to be good on fuel, which seemed to be our only chance. We just didn’t have the outright pace.”

Added Taylor, “If you look at our race as a whole, we had some adversity during the night but came from two laps down. Everyone executed well. We were in the hunt most of the way.

“We didn’t have the outright pace, but it was a true Corvette Racing race where we battled our way back to second. We started with a third-place car and finished second, so that’s a win in our book.”

“Based on how everything was going in practice and in the Roar, I think P2 in the end is quite good,” said Milner, who will be accompanying Taylor and Garcia in the endurance rounds this year, while also testing the 2024 Corvette Z06 GT3.R. “When you have a chance to fight for the win like that and for us to run up front for so much of the race, to miss it by that much at the end is tough.

“We knew going in that the Mercedes guys were quick, the Aston was quick, the Lexus was quick. It was a great job by the team to persevere and to keep pushing all throughout the race. My teammates did a great job. We were just missing a little bit of pace at the end. It was a good race for all three of us. We were racing super-hard and pushing super-hard. We just came up a little short.”

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