The No. 3 Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor spearheaded a Corvette Racing 1-2 finish in the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park after lightning caused a red flag that eventually ended the race. After nearly an hour of waiting for the weather to clear, race officials conceded to mother nature and called the race with just under 25-minutes still on the clock.
Taylor had started the No. 3 Corvette and was able to control the entire first half of the race before handing over to Garcia just after halfway. With Cooper MacNeil starting in the No. 79 WeatherTech Porsche, the two Corvettes were able to pull away from the lone Porsche.
“We knew this [weather] could happen, so I’m happy that [Taylor] drove so well and managed to keep the No. 4 Corvette at a distance and kind of control [the race],” Garcia said after the race. “That gave me a little bit of room to have a really quick driver change so that actually extended our lead to compared to the [No. 4] car.”
After Mathieu Jaminet took the controls of the No. 79 Porsche, he was nearly 30s behind the No. 4 Corvette C8.R. The WeatherTech team needed a full course yellow to bring them back into contention which they go in the form of the lightning delay. The lightning didn’t let up in time for the race to resume, however, leaving them to settle for third.
Tommy Milner, who started the race in the No. 4 Corvette, complained of a lack of rear grip in the first half of the race. Taylor in the No. 3 Corvette didn’t seem to struggle with that as much, pulling out a modest 5s gap on Milner. Taylor also credited that difference to getting lucky or unlucky in traffic. The No. 4 Corvette ended the day second in class.
In GT Daytona, Ross Gunn and Roman De Angelis claimed victory after a stellar drive from De Angelis left the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in control of the race from the drop of the green flag. This is the second win for Gunn, De Angelis, and the team in their career following triumph at Detroit.
The No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers was second while the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz rounded out the podium.
“It was getting to quite an interesting stage of the race,” Gunn said about the red flag coming out.
“The Lamborghini was starting to close in on me just before the red flag. I believe they were close to a pitstop but I feel like we had it under control we had a very, very, good balance in the car and that enabled us to maintain the tires really well.”
— Lime Rock Park (@limerockpark) July 17, 2021
Besides the red flag for lightning, there were no interruptions to the race and all of the GTD teams had completed their first pitstop. It’s hard to say if anyone was in a position to move up the order on strategy, but with no full course yellows, strategy options were limited.
In both GT Le Mans and GTD, it’s fair to say the fastest car won. The No. 3 Corvette and the No. 23 Aston Martin both started from pole, led the first half of the race with ease, and had successfully completed their driver changes and pitstops without incident when the lightning arrived.
With this win, the No. 23 Heart of Racing team extend their lead in the GTD Sprint Cup championship and take the lead away from the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 in the full-season GTD championship.
UP NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship will now head to Road America on Aug 5-8 where IMSA President John Doonan is slated to give his annual “State of the Series” address where he details the series’ past year and plans for its future.