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Posted: 09/22/14 08:55 AM
GM Press Release:
CORVETTE RACING AT COTA: Hard Rain Leads to Hard Luck for Team America
Milner, Taylors finish seventh in class in FIA World Endurance Championship race
AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 20, 2014) – Indeed sometimes when it rains, it does pour… as was the case Saturday for Corvette Racing’s No. 65 Konica Minolta/Michelin Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The entry of Tommy Milner, Jordan Taylor and Ricky Taylor was a victim of cruel luck as the trio finished seventh in the GTE Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas.
The Konica Minolta/Michelin Corvette was the only All-American entry in the FIA WEC field. It followed the earlier TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race in which Corvette Racing ran its two full-season Corvette C7.Rs.
Milner drove a solid opening stint that saw him quickly move up a position thanks to laps that were consistent with the leading cars. He spun the Corvette midway through his stint but immediately began setting quick laps again. He handed off to Jordan Taylor at the one-hour mark, but 30 minutes later heavy rain pelted the circuit and caused numerous cars to slide off track in the monsoon.
Taylor was able to get the Corvette into the pitlane in the midst of the chaos as the Corvette Racing crew changed to wet Michelin tires. While in the pit, the race was red-flagged due to the conditions, and the pit entry and exit was closed. Several other cars were stopped at the pit exit while the rest of the field – including many who crashed or became stranded during the downpour – stopped on the frontstretch.
When the track went green 50 minutes later under the safety car, the cars on the track were dispatched first, which meant the cars that pitted were effectively a lap down. By the time the pit exit opened and the race restarted, a helpless Taylor found himself down two laps.
Thankfully conditions improved for Taylor, who switched to slick tires late in his stint. He handed over to Ricky Taylor with two-and-a-half hours to go for his first stint driving the Corvette C7.R in racing conditions. After a solid double-stint with no issues, Taylor handed back over to Milner who drove the final stint and set the car’s fastest lap in the final 40 minutes.
The next event for Corvette Racing is the final round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – Petit Le Mans on Saturday, Oct. 4 from Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga. Live coverage will be available on FOX Sports 2 and IMSA.com.
CORVETTE RACING FIA WEC QUOTES
“I guess they say when it rains, it pours! It’s just really unfortunate the rules are written. We got bit by probably the worst-case scenario possible. There’s nothing we did wrong. Jordan did a great job getting the car in during those treacherous conditions. Basically we lost two laps because we made it to pit lane without spinning. We would have been better off spinning on the track or trying to keep going and maybe crashing the car, which would have been the most beneficial thing. But it’s the wrong way to go about it. It is what it is.
“It was a lot of fun to come here and experience the WEC with the Corvette Racing team, Ricky and Jordan, with the help of Konica Minolta, Michelin, Mobil 1 and Chevy for making this effort. Hopefully we can do more of this in the future.”
“We did everything we could have done right. We made it into the pits in that big downpour on slicks when pretty much no one else did. We went the right way. Logically that’s what we should have done. In hindsight I should have gone off the track, gotten stuck in the gravel and gotten pulled out. It’s just frustrating to have that kind of thing happen. But this is still been a good experience to operate in this environment.
“Every time I’ve been in the Corvette – either at Le Mans or Petit Le Mans – I’ll be out there in the middle of the race on slicks and then the rain comes. At least I had some experience dealing with that. Thankfully today Dan Binks was on the radio telling me what to expect. When I hit the downpour, it was shocking how bad it was. It definitely was the worst conditions I’ve ever driven in on slicks.”
“It was a big learning experience for sure – getting comfortable with the Corvette C7.R and the entire Corvette Racing team. It was really exciting to come here and have this opportunity. We were three laps down and I didn’t want to make any mistakes. It was all about learning as much as I could, and I did learn a ton. It was great to be out there and I didn’t want to get out! I was really having fun there at the end. It was a great weekend and was nice to get a feel for the car. For sure I’d want to this again. Maybe not Jordan’s stint but mine again definitely!”