ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Even the drenching wrath of Mother Nature couldn’t prevent the hottest team in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans competition from continuing its winning ways.
In Sunday’s headlining event at the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America that finished in a drenching downpour, Corvette Racing collected a 1-2 finish. Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia drove to victory in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, with Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner bringing the sister No. 4 Corvette home in second place.
It marked the third straight Corvette win and second straight 1-2 finish, though the positions were reversed two weeks ago at Sebring Int’l Raceway.
Taylor and Garcia started strong and finished smart, earning the 102nd Corvette win in IMSA history. Taylor got the jump at the green flag on GTLM polesitter Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 to grab the lead and hold it for the first 30 minutes on the high-speed road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
Vanthoor passed Taylor for the lead on Lap 15 and it looked like the Porsche’s day. That changed as quickly as the Wisconsin weather, however. Rain began falling around the 4.048-mile circuit with 55 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race. Soon after, GTLM competitors Earl Bamber in the No. 912 Porsche and Connor De Phillippi in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE were among cars spinning off course to bring out a full-course caution.
Heavy rain, hail and lightning then arrived, forcing all cars to pit lane under red-flag conditions. Following a 21-minute hold, the race resumed under a full-course caution to allow a cycle of pit stops. When the green flag waved with 7:35 on the clock, John Edwards led GTLM in the No. 24 BMW, with Garcia in the No. 3 and Nick Tandy in the No. 911 Porsche on his heels.
Amid the skirmish in the wet with limited visibility on the white-flag lap, both Edwards and Tandy went off course and Garcia snuck through to take the checkered flag. It marked IMSA win No. 18 for the Spaniard.
“It was a very, very intense (last) three laps,” admitted Garcia, who notched his first Road America triumph. “I knew from Sebring practice that the C8.R was really, really good in the wet, even if today was more than wet. I had Tandy all over me; we had many, many times where we were alongside and kind of sailing together instead of racing together.
“I knew the Carousel and the Kink was really bad, like going into a swimming pool. I took the line I took on the previous lap and it seemed to work while defending from Tandy. … At some point while I was full off to the left, I saw the 24 (Edwards) spinning by himself very, very slowly.
“I was probably one of the few cars that made it through and luckily enough Tommy did the same, so another 1-2 for Corvette Racing, which is amazing. My first victory at Road America, finally!”
Taylor picked up his 22nd career win and added a first by winning on the same day in a different car as his brother Ricky, who took the overall and Daytona Prototype international (DPi) win with Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05.
“It was a wild day, very unexpected,” Jordan Taylor said. “The race started out strong. We took a different strategy with the three stops at the beginning and thankfully that turned out to work well in timing with the rain, and track-position-wise.
“Antonio never gave up. It was a tough fight in the tough conditions, but he survived when he needed to survive and he pressured the 24 when he needed to.”
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