The Corvette C8.R is “the best I’ve had in Le Mans”

Corvette Racing has split its commitments this year, running one full-time C8.R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, and another full-time in the World Endurance Championship for Milner and Nick Tandy.

Then the two cars ran together at the respective marquee events of each championship, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Le Mans.

On Thursday, Tandy (car #64) and Garcia (car #63) secured the front row of the Corvette a GTE Pro-class lockout, and then also took first and second in the final practice of the night.

Milner, who has been with the team since 2011 and has twice won the class at Le Mans, said the 2022 iteration of the team and the car was the best he has experienced there.

“To me it feels like we’re the best we’ve ever had with the best car I’ve ever had at Le Mans,” he said of the C8.R he will share with not only Tandy but Alexander Sim as well. “From that point of view, I’m excited to race.

“Now, having said all that, there are years where we don’t have the best preparation and win, and there are years where we have great preparation and don’t get wins.

“We have done everything we need for this. As Le Mans has always been, race is its own separate beast. Success will require using everything we’ve learned so far, testing it, making no mistakes, and having a nice, clean race. We were fast in practice but the performance in the race is the most important.”

Milner added that running the full WEC schedule had played a vital role in Corvette Racing’s strong preparation for the event, but was reluctant to say it was essential to a win, as the team have amassed eight Le Mans wins, despite never having run a full run. -WEC campaign timing before 2022.

“It’s easy to say that the WEC program has helped in the current state because we had a good week,” he said. “There are areas where you can definitely say, ‘Yeah, after doing the WEC, we were better.’

“Things like pitstops and having the opportunity to test it at Sebring and Spa. We see there’s room for improvement there, and the team is doing a great job of figuring out how to make them even faster. That’s one area. There is a case to be made for many other areas as well.

“But I hesitate to say that the WEC needs to be done to be successful here. In many ways, things felt like they always were. The attention to detail is the same, but nothing beats the experience. In my view, the team is in a good place.”

Tandy commented: “This year does feel different from last year. We’ve definitely taken a step forward with what we know about this car and this race track. But also the basic preparation of the team being in this WEC paddock with the Corvette and this regulation, there’s a bit of pressure… It’s a familiar environment.

“We have experience of how to use pitstops and how sporting regulations work, which is different from how we choreograph regular pitstops. We have set it up and put it into practice. We know what to do with heated tires – these kinds of things with the WEC-specific tire compound.

“All these things we usually experience for the first time. It’s in our pocket now.”

Tandy, like Milner, warns that nothing should be considered read, but the team couldn’t have done a better job.

“I’m pretty sure we are the team that has done the most laps and made the most quality runs,” he said. “The race is still to come, anything can happen, but seeing how things have improved last week, we couldn’t ask for more. By qualifying both cars in the front row and having very good knowledge through practice of all the different conditions we can experience. There’s not much extra we can do as a team to prepare: we have all the basics covered.

“Now we have to go to the races and perform and hope for a bit of luck. The drivers are ready. The car and team are ready. Now let’s go out and win the 24 hour race.”

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