Thirteen years after winning their first Rolex 24 at Daytona, Corvette Racing are back with their new C7.R as they aim to take a debut victory.
Having taken 90 wins under the Corvette Racing banner in the last 15 years, the team – engineered by Pratt and Miller – will be hoping that their C6.R replacement can take a win straight out the box after a strong showing in the Roar Before the 24 in which the #4 and the #3 were second and third respectively.
Antonio Garcia, who will be racing his customary #3 alongside regular team mate Jan Magnussen and Corvette first timer Ryan Briscoe, said: “The Daytona test is always very important because the race week is very short. Everything needs to be very sorted from the test days. We got to know a little bit more about it and know what we might need for the race. The important thing is that we came out of the test knowing what we need and what we can expect for the test. We have a clear idea of what we need to compete during the race. So far things look very good and I think we are headed in the right direction for the race. With the schedule and amount of time on the track, the car you unload for the race is pretty much what you will end up racing. There is no time to change a lot at that point.”
Briscoe has only been in the car for the Roar but had positive things to say about his experience: “I was really happy with how the test went and my comfort level in the car. We all seemed to click right away, and that’s what you want. You have to work together and have happy compromises. But to be honest, it didn’t feel like there was a lot of compromise because things went so well.”
The cars, which will again race with their customary velocity yellow, have had significant changes in comparison to the C6.R. One of the biggest was the implementation of direct injection in the engine which was last seen on a Corvette in 2009 on the final GT1 iteration of the Detroit muscle car.
Oliver Gavin, who will race the #4 alongside full season team mate Tommy Milner and third driver Robin Liddell, believes the Florida speedway has a lot of technical challenges for all the competitors: “Daytona is a lot of braking and accelerating and going up and down the gearbox. When you look at the circuit layout, it really is a lot of high-speed, flat-out work with some heavy braking and slow corners mixed in. Tire temperature will be at a premium, especially if it’s cooler like on the test days. The long straights won’t help that at all. It’s going to be a big, big challenge. But that’s one of the great things about motor racing and the Daytona 24 Hours. It’s a mighty challenge, and the guys at Corvette Racing are ready to face it head-on.”