Garcia on Corvette pace: "We just have to keep working and not worry"

Antonio Garcia, a class winner at both Le Mans and Daytona, is hoping Corvette's qualifying speed is not indicative of their race pace.

Garcia on Corvette pace: "We just have to keep working and not worry"
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller
Mike Rockenfeller, Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Corvette Racing
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller
Antonio Garcia, Corvette Racing
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fässler
#4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fässler

While Ford was sweeping the top three starting positions for GTLM, Corvette was, curiously, nowhere to be seen. The two C7.Rs clocked in seventh and ninth in class with the former nearly a full second off the pole-sitter.

In need of more speed

"I think you just have to optimize what you have," he told Motorsport.com. "We definitely didn’t show good speed, compared to our opponents in qualifying. Have to say, we were a little bit far."

Being a 24-hour race, speed isn't everything and Garcia understands that, saying, "It’s not all about speed. We just have to keep working and not worry about how fast everybody else went. We won this race a few times, so we just need to carry on with what we do and execute the race as we always do.

"Who knows, maybe we will improve. We just need to follow how the race and track progresses and we will see. There is some rain coming too, so there is a ton of variables. We definitely don’t know, so we just need to be prepared."

Battling traffic

Another challenge that Corvette Racing and the entire GTLM class will face is traffic. Although the PC class is being phased out, there are still five on the grid and do to their lack of speed, they could end up being in the way more often than not.

"Traffic is always difficult, but for sure, I don’t know how it’s going to play out this year for the PCs pace against us. They seem to be a little bit slower than they were in the past, so I don’t know how that will affect the race. Also, the GTDs are getting faster so I don’t know. I think the whole thing is a question mark and we don’t really know … At least the prototypes seem to be very fast on the straights. That makes things easier. They go by quickly and we kind of stay away from each other, when in the past, there was more interference, especially in the infield.

GTLM in need of an update?

As for the direction the sport is heading, Garcia agrees with the majority of drivers who think the recent changes are a good thing. However, he has one suggestion.

"At the end of the day, the Prototype class really needed an update and they did that in a good way. For sure, the GT3s are very nice, but I feel we probably need to go a little bit faster than we are now because so far, we seem to be as fast or actually a little bit faster than them down the straights. That makes things a little tight during the race. So even if we have outright pace, 60% of the race track, they are faster than us.

"The last ten years, they’ve been speeding up prototypes and everybody ... I think it’s time for an update (for the GTLM class) and go a little bit faster. I mean, it seems a little bit sad that ten years ago at Le Mans, we were six or seven seconds faster than we are now. They speed up P2s and everybody, I think next would be to really speed up GTLM."

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