The C8.R is unbeaten at the track, having won in the hands of Taylor/Garcia in 2020, and scoring a 1-2 led by Nick Tandy/Tommy Milner this past year.
However, in both cases that has been in the now defunct GT Le Mans category, and adapting the C8.R to the GTD Pro class in 2022 is not the task of an instant. Weighed against its GTLM spec, the Corvette is heavier, has slightly less horsepower, and uses ABS brakes. Yet Garcia and Taylor have discovered the largest struggle has been obtaining the most from the spec Michelin tires across a complete stint, in comparison to once the C8.R ran in GTLM class on a compound/construction unique to the Corvette.
However, the 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR road course has been among Corvette Racings happy hunting grounds because it first raced there. In the elegant C6.R, Milner and Oliver Gavin triumphed in the GT class in 2012, in the C7.R Garcia and Jan Magnussen won GTLM in both 2016 and 17, and the C8.Rs recent triumphs ensure it is five wins altogether.
This will be considered a good weekend for all of us, said Garcia. It’s another ‘first’ weekend for the GTD Corvette. We have no idea where we shall stand. There are several long straightaways, so we will need to decide on the very best aero package to see what’s most beneficial. It is a track where we will have fun and also have a huge amount of success. Hopefully it is the same way this season again.
“There are some tracks where we need to find aero balance like what we are in need of at VIR. I’d think about this track like Canadian Tire Motorsport Park or Watkins Glen where you can find fast speeds and slow sections, nevertheless, you probably have to look after your top speed. Sometimes, it pays to become a little lighter on downforce and being fast on the straights.
When it comes to enjoyment, Taylor rates VIR as probably in the top-three of the tracks we head to. It’s among those natural-terrain tracks that still feels as though an old-school track. There’s very little margin for error… high speeds and a lot of elevation changes.
He also observed: It’s among the better tracks we head to because it’s an all-GT race. If we’d prototypes there, it could be pretty difficult due to how narrow it really is. Each time we go there, the racing is definitely tough and tight. We saw that this past year in the GTLM class with only three cars. Heading back there this season with a bit bigger grid, the racing ought to be super good.