Team Chevy, Corvette Racing and their No. 65 Konica Minolta Corvette C7.R have qualified seventh for the GTE Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship race at Circuit of The Americas on Saturday. Drivers Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor posted a joint average lap time of 2:08.674 around the 20-turn COTA course, slotting in behind the Aston Martin V8 Vantage of Kristian Poulsen, David Heinmeier-Hansson and Richie Stanaway.
The FIA WEC race at COTA is the first FIA-sanctioned event Corvette Racing will participate in outside of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The team is running the race in tandem with its two-car entry in the IMSA-sanctioned Tudor United Sportscar Championship, which is also racing at COTA on Sunday morning. Usual Corvette Racing suspect Milner is being joined by Ricky and Jordan Taylor of Wayne Taylor Racing in their effort.
The C7.R’s fastest lap time was put in by Jordan Taylor, with a time of 2:06.878. Milner’s fastest time was a 2:09.558, however he had to deal with rainy conditions at the start of the qualifying session and the track dried as qualifying went on. Corvette Racing says this race will be particularly difficult for them, as they are jumping into an unfamiliar series for a single event.
“It’s hard to have high expectations coming into it as a one-off race, but we made a lot of progress with the car through practice and made it close in the last session,” said Taylor. “Unfortunately qualifying was a bit of a mess with the rain and the format in how it works; it was tricky with a wet couple of corners but we got a good feel for the car. We have got some good ideas for the race to make a few more improvements but it’s a six-hour race so if we just stay out of trouble, we can be there at the end.”
The No. 65 car with Milner, Taylor and Taylor as the pilots is the only all-American effort in the FIA WEC paddock. Friday was the first time both Taylor and Milner to participated in the FIA WEC’s qualifying format, which averages the two best laps from each team’s two qualifying drivers.
“That was probably the most difficult situation (the weather and qualifying format) you can put a brand new team in,” Milner said. “It was very unfamiliar, and we have never tried a qualifying session like that before. So as far as the average goes, we certainly could be quicker and it is what it is.”
The FIA WEC’s Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas will be televised on FOX Sports2 at 6. P.M. today. Online coverage of the race also will be available on the fiawec.com with live radio coverage available on radiolemans.com.