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An up-and-down middle eight hours saw Corvette Racing re-emerge from two laps down and back into contention for a class victory as daylight approached for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.


The No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R ran third in the GT Daytona PRO (GTD PRO) class and fifth among all GTD runners after 16 hours in the season-opening race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship


The three Corvette Racing drivers – Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner – each drove triple-stints as they rotated through the C8.R for the second time. 


Garcia, who started the race Saturday, worked with the Corvette Racing engineers to improve tire performance through his three stints. By the time he handed over to Taylor a little before the 10-hour mark, the C8.R was in a better state than when Garcia took over as Taylor left the pitlane in the class lead thanks to a solid stop by the Corvette pit crew.


Things began to look dire near the 10.5-hour mark when the No. 3 Corvette suffered a left-rear flat tire just before Taylor came on the Turn 1 speedway banking while running second in class. He nursed the car back to pitlane even as the tire came off the wheel before the Corvette made it back to pit entry.


The team quickly changed tires but had to stop a lap later to change the Corvette’s rear brakes due to damage from the flat tire. It dropped the No. 3 C8.R to two laps down.


Critically, Taylor was able to stay ahead of the GTD PRO leader and not lose another lap before a full-course yellow just before the halfway point of the race. The Corvette Racing crew got a lap back during a pass-around before stopping for fuel and tires, and then the crew changed the front brakes a lap later to return the Corvette to full strength – and the lead lap – with just over 11-and-a-half hours to go.


Taylor gave way to Milner from the sixth position in class about an hour later with the Corvette rejoining in fifth. Less than an hour into his opening stint, the race’s eighth full-course caution drew Milner closer to the front. He ran third in class and seven seconds from the lead as the race entered the final eight hours.

Photos: Richard Prince, Chevrolet Racing

ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: "Things are still not bad. I don't know where the pace will be come the morning time. Temperatures will be completely different. So far the pace has been good. Overall, everyone is pushing hard I believe. I'm sure that will lead to some mistakes. But we're almost halfway through and let's see. We're still up there and that's good. Hopefully it comes our way a little bit. But I'm not complaining. The car feels decent. We are up front, and that's where we need to be."

JORDAN TAYLOR, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R: “Oh my gosh… leading for awhile to begin with and then we lost a tire and two laps. The guys made some kind of crazy call timing-wise to where we could do a brake change and not lose any time. Then we got a lucky yellow to get back on the lead lap and new front brakes too. It was a wild stint to go two laps down and then back on the lead lap to stay in contention. The car is still good and is in one piece. The name of the game is still staying out of trouble. Hopefully we can make up a couple more spots now this morning and be in a good spot come sunrise.”

Evolution of the Corvette during the night: “The driving style feels kind of weird. I think the car in the cold doesn’t like to be pushed on too hard and leaned on too hard. I think it’s a driving style in the way our car works the tire. When the sun comes back up… Antonio was really strong at the start of the race when it was warm, so hopefully that bodes well for us.”



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