Photo Credit: Richard Prince for Corvette Racing
Team eyeing three straight Michelin GT Challenge victories from second-place grid spot
ALTON, Va. (Aug. 27, 2022) – Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia qualified second in the GT Daytona (GTD) PRO class and overall Saturday for the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, an event that Corvette Racing has won the previous two years at Virginia International Raceway.
Garcia’s time of 1:44.677 (112.470 mph) in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R put him only behind Ross Gunn’s pole-winning time ahead of Sunday’s 2:10 p.m. ET race (CNBC, Peacock). Garcia will start the No. 3 Corvette and will share driving duties with Jordan Taylor.
Oppressive heat and humidity were major themes from practice sessions Friday and Saturday, plus the afternoon’s qualifying. Air temperatures climbed into the low 90s and humidity levels crept into the 60s, which sent track temperatures well above 105 degrees for qualifying.
As a result, maintaining life and performance out of the Michelin tires will be key to Sunday’s race, which will be run in nearly identical conditions. That is an area where Corvette Racing has excelled this season, including at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March – the program’s lone IMSA victory this year.
A Corvette Racing entry has claimed overall wins four times at VIR in IMSA competition. Garcia and Taylor were victors in 2020 in the now-extinct GT Le Mans (GTLM) category. They were second a year ago to Corvette teammates Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy, who are partnering this season in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
This year is the first for Corvette in the new GT Daytona (GTD) PRO category, and as such is the first at VIR for the GTD Corvette – which runs with more weight, less power, an anti-lock braking system and a spec Michelin tire compared to the GTLM class.
Corvette Racing’s love affair with VIR goes back to 2012. This will be the team’s 11th appearance at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course. The configuration of the circuit – two long straights and a mix of low- medium- and high-speed corners – creates opportunities for a number of engineering and strategic decisions. That’s an area where Corvette Racing has a distinct advantage given its 24-year history of competition.
The Michelin GT Challenge at VIR is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 28. The race will air live on CNBC and stream live on Peacock beginning at 2 p.m. ET.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – QUALIFIED SECOND:
“I feel like I got a lot out the car but not all of it. It was a decent first laps with a few mistakes. Track conditions were tricky. We had to kind of guess where the track would develop. I think I was expecting more grip overall. At the end of the day, it’s the first row. I don’t think we had anything for pole, but looking at tomorrow I think a lot of things will happen. The conditions will be tricky again, and the track can bite you. It will be the same for everybody so we need to see as much of the data as possible so we can fine-tune and be as prepared as possible for the race.
“I’d say qualifying was more like what we will have for the race (compared to Friday practice). Warmup (on Sunday) can give us a direction but that will be at eight in the morning. I’m sure the car will feel great then. We’ll focus on what we have and we did yesterday and today to get our Corvette to where it should be for the race. Generally over the long run, we’ve been more competitive on pace in the race than in qualifying. Let’s see if that’s that case again tomorrow. This is still a new race and new track for this spec of car. Having said that, I think we are in good shape. Let’s see if we can keep it up.”