Corvette Racing Stymied By Penalty At Laguna Seca 20231
The Corvette Racing duo of Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia certainly didn’t get the finish they’d hoped for on May 14th, 2023, as a late-race penalty proved to be the end of their hopes of bringing the No. 3 C8.R to victory.
The No. 3 Corvette Racing team ran near the front of the the GTD Pro class during the early stages of the two-hour 40-minute race. Taylor was called into the pits after 30 minutes, and assumed the lead when the No. 9 Porsche of Patrick Pilet and Klaus Bachler was penalized for exiting Pit Road while it was closed.
Taylor maintained the lead in the No. 3 C8.R until he pitted once again an hour into the race, when he swapped control of the race car to Garcia. Garcia and the No. 3 C8.R rolled out in second place in the GTD Pro division, behind the No. 23 Aston Martin of Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas.
The Corvette Racing machine continued to chase the taillights of the No. 23 Aston Martin until a full-course yellow slowed the field with less than an hour left on the clock. Garcia mistakenly followed the No. 23 Aston Martin around the safety car, incurring a penalty that would ultimately relegate Corvette Racing to a fourth-place finish in the GTD Pro class.
After the race, Garcia said, “It’s a situation where when it’s green, you’re fighting all the GTDs. But when it comes to the safety car, we aren’t the same category. So we need to figure that out. The safety car split the GTD field. The GTD leader was the real GT leader, so that’s why everyone behind us moved to the right to get a pass-around, and the 23 moved to the right, as well. But because we were the GTD PRO leaders, we should have stayed where we were. But that’s the way the rules are. I just made a mistake and went to follow the 23 when they were wrong.”
Taylor was also disappointed in the way the cards fell for the No. 3 Corvette Racing team. “We definitely didn’t have the fastest car,” he said. “But we had track position, and around here that’s so important. The guys did a good job. All our stops were smooth and clean. It’s one of those things where one little thing where can really impact a race. It’s one of those things that happen, and I can guarantee you it won’t happen again. This will be a big learning lesson.”
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An unfortunate mistake but the pit manager as well as the racing engineers monitoring the race should have called Garcia and made him stop. Good thing that the Ashton was not going over a cliff!!!