The sole C8.R entry of Corvette Racing will be a bit heavier during this weekend’s IMSA race at Laguna Seca.
The only Corvette C8.R in the IMSA WeatherTech field has received a rather significant 176-pound (80 kilogram) ballast weight increase for the two-hour, 40-minute race at Laguna Seca, along with a 12 percent decrease in engine airflow. These Balance of Performance changes were made in an attempt to slow Corvette Racing down after the factory-backed Chevy squad took a commanding victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring last month. The team also displayed race-winning pace at Long Beach earlier this month, but its chances at victory were thwarted after it was handed a drive-through penalty.
While these Balance of Performance changes will slow the Corvette C8.R down a bit, drivers Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia are more concerned about tire management. The tires were the biggest change in moving from the GTE-spec package it raced last year to this year’s GT3 package. Chevy was able to use a Michelin tire formulated specifically for the Corvette when it competed in GTE, however GT3 rules require teams to all use an identical Michelin control tire. The team has less experience running this off-the-shelf tire than its rivals, which could make this weekend’s race particularly challenging due to the old, abrasive surface at Laguna Seca.
“We’ve already learned quite a bit this year about tire management and how important tire degradation will be,” Taylor said. “Sebring was a great learning experience for us in a positive way for understanding the car and tire. Laguna Seca is usually a big tire degradation race. Whoever can manage that the best is usually at the front at the end. Historically we’ve run well there so we have a good understanding of what we need to do.”
Garcia echoed Taylor’s thoughts about tire management.
“Laguna Seca always has been a track where you need to make the tire work at its best,” added Garcia. “Usually the performance window is narrower than it is anywhere else on our calendar. We’ve never run this specification of car there or this tire there. We have some information that can transfer from other tracks, so I hope we are in the right spot when we get there.”
The two-hour, 40-minute Hyundai Monterey Sportscar Championship race will kick off on May 1st at 3:05 p.m. EST.