The No. 3 Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg finished Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans second in class, although the team was extremely close to securing its third straight IMSA WeatherTech Championship victory.
The No. 3 Corvette C8.R was second in class and in contention for the win after nine hours of racing when a late yellow came out that forced the race to end under caution. That meant Garcia, who finished the race off with an expert triple stint, couldn’t challenge the race-winning No. 911 Porsche GTLM of Nick Tandy, Frederic Makowiecki and Matt Campbell for the win in the closing laps.
“Without a yellow, it would have been a question as to who would make the tires last the longest,” Garcia said post-race. “We were both pushing hard. There was a chance for us but it was another second at Petit Le Mans.”
Garcia started the race from pole position but fell to fourth in his opening stint as the mid-engine Corvette C8.R struggled for pace against the Porsche 911 GTLM and BMW M8 GTLM entries. Fast pit work helped the team get Garcia back out in front before he pitted to turn the car over to Taylor, who drove a double stint before giving it over to Catsburg for a double stint. Taylor took the reigns once again just past the halfway point before handing it back over to Garcia for his triple stint, all the while remaining in a tight fight with the Porsches and BMWs.
“We didn’t have the pace against the (No. 24 BMW),” Garcia said. “I tried very hard in my first stint when I got back in the car at night. We managed to gap both of the Porsches, and they went on a different strategy than us. I got held up by the (No. 25 BMW), and that hurt. I don’t know if he didn’t know I was there. I had to pit a little sooner than expected, and from that point we were on the back foot.”
The No. 4 Corvette C8.R of Marcel Fassler, Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, meanwhile, was fourth in class after struggling for pace later on in the event. The sister car was fast early on, however, and even lead the GTLM class at points.
“We just weren’t good enough today,” rued Milner. “It was tough and frustrating. At times the car was good. It looks like we were off a little bit there at the end pace-wise compared to everyone else.”
The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship, will go green on November 1st, 2020.