Initial response to the Corvette C8.R wasn’t especially great, to say the least. Before the car even entered in a race, fans weren’t happy with the mid-engined Corvette racer’s lackluster sound, at least compared to the iconic American thunder that its pushrod-V8-powered predecessors were. Then, at the 2020 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the No. 3 car finished a mediocre fourth and the No. 4 car’s mechanical issues caused it to finish last in the class. But the team was hard at work during the main Coronavirus shutdowns, and the C8.R is doing what racing Corvette Racing does best: winning.
At the Daytona WeatherTech 240 race July 3 to July 4, the No. 3 Corvette C8.R notched its first GT Le Mans class victory in the second race of the season, after a pretty rough showing at the 24 Hours of Daytona just a few months ago. It was a hugely significant win for not only the C8.R, but Corvette racing as a whole. It was the 100th IMSA Corvette victory in history, and driver Antonio Garcia’s first outright win since 2017.
But last weekend’s race at Sebring only built on those successes. In qualifying, Jordan Taylor posted a GTLM Sebring lap record of 1:55.634 before going on to win the race outright. Better yet, the No. 4 car finished second in the race. Here’s a clip of Taylor’s record setting qualifying lap:
New GTLM Sebring lap record this weekend in the Corvette C8.R. 👊🏻🚀 pic.twitter.com/iK3o6pKd5I
— Jordan Taylor (@jordan10taylor) July 20, 2020
It’s worth noting that all-new race cars often have some issues in their first year as the teams try to nail down aerodynamic, suspension, and powertrain setups as the season progresses. Because of this, it wasn’t entirely unsurprising to see the C8.R struggle slightly in its first race. But the team’s efforts refining and fine tuning both the Corvette and their driving technique during the Coronavirus shutdowns seemed to have payed off immensely. The Corvette C8.R is finally showing off what the move to a mid-engined configuration can really do.
It also shows that flat plane crank V8 powered Corvette Z06 is going to be an absolute weapon.