The revolutionary Corvette Stingray C8.R made its first public testing laps during Friday’s opening session at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona – with the team drivers impressed with the new car.
Driver Tommy Milner, who shares the silver No. 4 Stingray with Oliver Gavin and Marcel Fassler, has done much of the development and testing of the new race car. He was happy with the opening “official” session.
“There’s a lot of ‘new’ here, and I’m excited for the fans to finally see this car ‘in the flesh’ and hear it for the first time,” Milner said. “Marcel and Nicky (Catsburg) are driving the car for the first time, and getting them track time is crucial here, because you never knows what’s going to happen here. But so far, so good.”
This is actually the second time at Daytona for the mid-engine Corvette.
“We were here in a private test in November,” Milner said. “We did two days, but that was more of a shakedown because these cars were brand-new.
“But overall, we probably had five or six test events, and on top of that, we had some other roll-out sessions. We also had sim work before that. So this car has been in the works for quite a while. We’ve been happy with the progress we’ve made, and happy with the reliability it’s shown in all things that matter. It’s obviously a big change for this team — a whole new platform, a whole new car — so we’re looking to do more testing to learn more about the car and how to make it faster. The more time we get, the more we’ll understand how to make these cars go fast.”
Team newcomer Jordan Taylor, who is driving the yellow No. 3 Corvette with Antonio Garcia and Catsburg, was happy with his time in the new car.
“The last time I drove a GT car here was in 2012, so a lot has changed,” Taylor said. “This is my first time here in a Corvette. I drove the C6.R and C7.R in the past at Sebring, Road Atlanta and Le Mans, and I think the C8.R is a huge upgrade. From a driveability point of view, it feels very comfortable and very responsive. That’s exactly what you want in an endurance car.
“I’ve only had two days testing this car, so I’m still figuring it out. But they’ve been testing this car for about two years now, and it’s pretty strong right out of the box. We’re not too far off from the quickest GTLM guys, so we have stuff to keep working on so we can keep ticking it away.”