Corvette Racing newcomers Nick Tandy and Alexander Sims won Sunday’s Motul 100 Rolex 24 qualifying race, securing pole position for the No. 4 Corvette C8.R team for the 24-hour endurance race.
Sims started the 100-minute sprint race from third position, just behind the two BMW M8s of BMW Team RLL. The 32-year-old Briton, a former BMW factory driver himself, managed to snake past the two BMWs on the opening lap and kept the two front-engine coupes behind him as the track dried from a pre-race shower. The caution then came out with just over an hour remaining, sending Sims and his No. 4 Corvette C8.R into the pits for a driver change and for a set of dry condition slick tires.
The No. 3 Corvette C8.R of Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg, meanwhile, slipped to fifth on the race start before coming into the pits at the same time as the No. 4 sister car. The two Corvettes then ran third and fourth as two other GTLM entries elected to stay out under the caution period. When the two leading GTLM cars elected to pit for fuel and tires, the Corvettes were able to move into first and second and started to build a sizable gap to their rivals.
Catsburg came into the pits for the second and final time around the 50 minute mark, taking fuel only. Tandy then followed suit shortly after, coming in for his fuel only stop around the 43-minute mark. The two cars remained largely uncontested from this point forward, with Tandy beating Catsburg to the finish by a significant 12 seconds to take a dominant 1-2 result for the Pratt & Miller-run squad. The WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Cooper Macneil and Kevin Estre finished third after a failed attempt to stretch the 911’s fuel until the end of the race.
This result means Corvette Racing will start first and second for the Rolex 24 at Daytona this Saturday. The qualifying race, which is a new addition to the Roar Before the 24 test weekend for 2021, also paid 35 championship points to the winner – giving Corvette Racing an early jump on the competition as it strives for its second straight IMSA GTLM driver’s and manufacturer’s titles.
The 2021 Rolex 24 will go green on Saturday, January 30th at 3:30 p.m. ET.