Photo Credit: Richard Prince for Corvette Racing
OYAMA, Japan (Sept. 11, 2022) – Try as it might, Corvette Racing couldn’t replicate its Monza magic on Sunday as it finished fifth in the GTE Pro class of the Six Hours of Fuji for the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy, coming off a victory together in the previous WEC race in Italy, soldiered through a difficult day in the No. 64 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R during the team’s first race at Fuji Speedway.
Milner, Tandy and the rest of the team had a tough time coming to grips – figuratively and literally – with the unfamiliar Fuji circuit and track surface.
The Corvette team found itself in a hole early as the No. 64 had to serve a drive-through penalty for exceeding track limits just shy of the 30-minute mark. Tandy rejoined the track undeterred and managed to gain a spot up to fourth with an inside dive on the No. 91 Porsche – which also was called in for a similar penalty – at the first corner just shy of the one-hour mark.
The tire management of the Corvette progressed nicely for the remainder of Tandy’s stint compared to the other GTE Pro runners. Another stroke of misfortune struck, however, as the Corvette ran out of fuel on pitlane as Tandy headed for his first stop. After some assistance from the Corvette Racing crew, the No. 64 took on fuel and left-side tires for Tandy’s second stint.
The struggles continued with Tandy reporting a severe lack of rear grip and a tire issue through the back half of his run.
Milner drove the middle two stints and took on four tires for each run in an effort to claw back into contention. Unfortunately the continuing struggles with pace and grip plus a caution-free race limited any ground that he and Tandy could make up at the end.
Corvette Racing closes its first-year WEC campaign with the Eight Hours of Bahrain on Nov. 10-12.
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:
“Today was not our best day on many fronts, for sure. It was a frustrating day I think for Nick, frustrating for our engineers and frustrating for me all in our own ways. We’ll give ourselves some time after the race to decompress and think about those lessons and take them with us to Bahrain. In general, we had some struggles through practice and we improved the car for Nick through FP3 and qualifying. We were still behind the eight-ball a little bit, and in the race we saw some residuals from that. I was pretty slow the first couple of laps of my stint just because I was realistically driving a new car from what I had from the practice sessions. The second stint was a bit better but for me not as good as it needed to be. In the grand scheme of things, no thing that one person did or one group did had an ultimate effect on today; it was a collection of many things. We’ll isolate the mistakes and at the same time highlight the positives and find the things we did well. We’ll take our lumps from today and focus on Bahrain to be more prepared, be faster and make less mistakes. Hopefully that’s enough and we can have a good race there.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:
“The story of the race wasn’t so great. Really since Friday morning, it’s been a struggle. I think the characteristics of this track and the track surface just don’t suit our car. You’re never going to have the fastest car at every track you go to; that’s not how racing works. So what we have done is learned a lot. If we could start the race again tomorrow, there are things we absolutely would change but you only learn things from experience. This is something we can take forward. We’re not going to win every race. What we need to do is capitalize on days where the car is competitive. We had some issues but this was the one take because this was our least competitive showing from a pace perspective. This shows again the things we need to focus on in practice and in simulation when we are coming to a new track. And it shows that racing is difficult. It shows that the day we had Monza is just as big as we thought it was at the time. This weekend shows just what a good job we did there and how tough it can be if the stars don’t align.”