General

Corvette C8.R is “the best I’ve ever had at Le Mans”

David Malsher-Lopez

Corvette Racing has split its commitments this year, with a C8.R full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, and another full-time in the World Endurance Championship for Milner and Nick Tandy.

The two cars then race together in the respective events of each championship, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Le Mans.

On Thursday, Tandy (car #64) and Garcia (car #63) secured a GTE Pro class front row lockout for Corvette, as well as finishing first and second in final practice that evening.

Milner, who has been with the team since 2011 and has won the class twice at Le Mans, says the iteration of team and car in 2022 is the best he has experienced there.

“For me it feels like we’re the best prepared we’ve ever been with a car that’s the best I’ve ever had at Le Mans,” he said of the C8.R that he won not only with Tandy but also with Alexander. sims. “From that side I’m looking forward to the race.

“Having said all that, there are years where we didn’t have the best preparation and won, and there are years where we had good preparation and didn’t get the win.

“We did everything we needed to go into this. As Le Mans always is, the race is its own beast of its own. To be successful, we have to use all the things we’ve learned so far, put that to the test, make no mistakes and have a good, clean race. We were fast in the practice sessions, but performance in the race is the most important.”

Milner added that running the full WEC schedule has played a vital role in Corvette Racing’s strong preparation for the event, but was reluctant to say it was vital to the win as the team eight Le Mans wins, despite never running a full race. -time WEC campaign before 2022.

“It’s easy to say the WEC program has helped in its current state as we’ve had a good week,” he noted. “There are a few areas where you could definitely say, ‘Yeah, now that we’ve done the WEC, we’re better.’

“Things like pit stops and the chance to put them to the test in Sebring and Spa. We saw there was room to improve there, and the team did a great job figuring out how to get faster. That’s one area. Many other areas can also be argued for.

“But I hesitate to say that it is necessary to do WEC to be successful here. In many ways things feel as they have always been. The attention to detail is the same, but nothing beats experience. I think the team is in a good place.”

Tandy commented: “This year feels different from last year. We have clearly taken a step forward with what we know about this car and this track. But also the basic preparation of the team in this WEC paddock with this Corvette and these regulations, there is a bit of pressure… It is a familiar environment.

“We have the experience of how to get the most out of the pit stops and with the way the sporting regulations work, which is different from how we normally choreograph pit stops. We organized and practiced it beforehand. We know what to do with heated tires – this sort of thing with the WEC specific tire compounds.

“It’s all these kinds of things that we normally experience for the first time. Now it’s in our pocket.”

Tandy, like Milner, warned that nothing can be considered read, but the team couldn’t have done better.

“I’m pretty sure we are the team that has put in the most laps and run the most quality,” he said. “The race is yet to come, anything can still happen, but looking at the build-up from last week, we couldn’t ask for more. With qualifying both cars on the front row and having a good knowledge through practice about all the different conditions we can experience. There isn’t much extra we could have done as a team to prepare: we covered all the basics.

“Now we have to go into the race and perform and hope for a bit of luck. The drivers are ready. The car and the team are ready. Now let’s go out and win a 24-hour race.”