Corvette Racing aims for third straight VIR win

Ahead of the second GT-only race on the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor are optimistic they can clock up the C8.R’s second win of the season at VIR.

#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD: Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor

The C8.R is unbeaten at the track, having won in the hands of Taylor/Garcia in 2020, and then scoring a 1-2 led by Nick Tandy/Tommy Milner last year.

However, in both cases that was in the now defunct GT Le Mans category, and adapting the C8.R to the GTD Pro class in 2022 has not been the work of a moment. Compared with its GTLM spec, the Corvette is heavier, has slightly less horsepower, and uses ABS brakes. Yet Garcia and Taylor have found the biggest struggle has been getting the most out of the spec Michelin tires across a whole stint, compared to when the C8.R ran in GTLM class on a compound/construction unique to the Corvette.

However, the 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR road course has been one of Corvette Racing’s happy hunting grounds since it first raced there. In the elegant C6.R, Milner and Oliver Gavin triumphed in the GT class in 2012, in the C7.R Garcia and Jan Magnussen won GTLM in both 2016 and ’17, and the C8.R’s recent triumphs make it five wins altogether.

“This should be a good weekend for us,” said Garcia. “It's another 'first' weekend for the GTD Corvette. We don't know where we will stand. There are some long straightaways, so we will have to decide on the best aero package to see what is most beneficial. It's a track where we always have fun and have a ton of success. Hopefully it's the same way this year again.

"There are a few tracks where we have to find aero balance like what we need at VIR. I would consider this track like Canadian Tire Motorsport Park or Watkins Glen where there are fast speeds and slow sections, but you probably need to take care of your top speed. At times, it pays to be a little lighter on downforce and being fast on the straights.”

In terms of enjoyment, Taylor rates VIR as “probably in the top-three of the tracks we go to. It's one of those natural-terrain tracks that still feels like an old-school track. There's not much margin for error... high speeds and lots of elevation changes.”

He also observed: “It's one of the better tracks we go to because it's an all-GT race. If we had prototypes there, it would be pretty difficult because of how narrow it is. Every time we go there, the racing is always tough and tight. We saw that last year in the GTLM class with only three cars. Going back there this year with a little bit bigger grid, the racing should be super good.”

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