Corvette “Bring Knives to Arms Fight” After Red Flag – Sportscar365

Photo: MPS Agency

Nick Tandy said that a red flag just before the halfway point of 1000 Miles of Sebring likely cost Corvette Racing its chance to win the GTE-Pro class, saying it was like “bringing a knife to a gunfight” against a Porsche with fresher tires.

Tandy and Tommy Milner finished the abbreviated FIA World Endurance Championship race at Sebring International Raceway in second place in their class, behind race winners Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen at No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19.

The two cars engaged in a fierce battle throughout the first hour of the race, with the Corvette in front of the Porsche as the halfway mark approached.

It was then that the race was marked with a red flag when Jose Maria Lopez had a major crash with his Toyota GR010 Hybrid No.7.

The stoppage erased the lead Milner and Tandy had already achieved over the Porsche.

After the restart, Estre used much fresher rubber than Milner, who had double stinted his Michelin tires.

That left the Corvette effectively defenseless against the Porsche, with Estre reclaiming the class advantage shortly after the race resumed.

“The first red flag really jeopardized everything we did because we were effectively trying to build the margin by not using the tires and getting time in the pits,” Tandy explained to Sportscar365.

“Porsche always wear tires and we try to double them.

“We had a gap of about 20 seconds this. So the red flag not only cleared that 20 second gap, but then we were behind to do a double stint on the left-hand tyre.

“I think No. 92 just took four tires. So it’s like bringing a knife into a gunfight. It’s a bit bitter.

“It’s disappointing because I think if it went green for the whole race we would be somewhere against 92. But we were also lucky that we managed to get P2. It was a great start to the season.”

The podium finish marks a Chevrolet Corvette C8.R’s best finish in the WEC outside of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“We are happy with how the weekend went. We have a chance to fight, that’s what you want,” said Tandy. “Then you just have to do a perfect race.

“We can’t use fuel as long as a Porsche. This is one of the main things we should probably pay attention to.

“We actually ran out of fuel up to 30 laps and they seemed to do 30 to 32 laps.

“So there is a slight difference here, which then affects the strategy in the race later. But past that, pretty good. Quite happy.”

Porsche: Corvette Double Stint “A Bold Step”

The Corvette’s decision to double its tires in the race surprised Alexander Stehlig, Porsche’s motorsport manufacturer director for WEC, who labeled it a “bold move.”

“To be honest, they surprised us at the start that they did a double,” said Stehlig.

“It was a bold move. We had a problem in Prolog and training sessions where everyone wasn’t doing long-distance running. We have Full Course Yellow and red flags.

“We didn’t really know what to expect when we went into double duty.

“When we saw them do the double – no tire changes at the start – we thought ‘they know what they are doing.’

“But at the end of the day, I think it’s a classic endurance race where in every condition the race is in the afternoon. One manufacturer has a slight advantage over the other. It was an entertaining race between us.

“In the end, they save on tires.

“Obviously they lost, because the race was interrupted due to red flags and Full Course Yellows. That’s the risk.

“You have two strategies. You burn your tires and you gain or you hang on and try to survive.

“Do you save and save and save, and attack at the end? Both strategies can be heavily influenced by yellow or red flags.”

Stehlig also noted that the red flag caused by Lopez saved the Porsche, as both cars had to serve a 15-second sentence for fouls during the starting procedure in the second hour.

“That helps us, because we— [screwed] until the formation lap,” he explained. “Both drivers did not do what the race director ordered.

“We have a 15 second time penalty on our account. I would say the red flag is not against us.”

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

Davey Euwema is a Netherlands-based Sportscar365 reporter, covering the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship, DTM, AWS-backed Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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