With the GTD Pro No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette looking at a pace deficit in the Thursday practice sessions at Sebring — much like it did at Daytona — IMSA gave the car a small gift before qualifying, granting it a 1mm larger engine air restrictor, now up to 42mm in diameter. That extra air/fuel flow is good for 15-20hp. It seemed to make a difference, as Antonio Garcia qualified the No. 3 third, just over half a second to Daniel Serra’s pole time in the Risi Competizione Ferrari.
“It was difficult to gauge,” said Garcia after qualifying. “Not even the short practice before qualifying was nice because we didn’t have really any laps where I had one lap plus the in-lap to see how the car would behave. It’s not ideal but it’s the same for everybody. It would have been nice and less of a question mark to have had a normal session so we could know what our real pace will be, instead of having to nail the only lap available. That would clear up some stuff on some setup work we’re trying.
“I think we have a decent car. It’s still our first race at Sebring on these tires and in this spec. We should be decent. We’re not that far back now. Let’s see where we end up.”
With Chevrolet and IMSA trying to figure out how to bring a GTE-spec car into parity with the rest of the GT3 cars in GTD, both have struggled to hit on the right combination of specs to make the car competitive while also not making it an overdo. The team has especially struggled with the customer Michelin tires. Making the task even more difficult is that there is now only a single Corvette in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as Corvette Racing is dividing its resources into one car for that series on one for the full season of the World Endurance Championship.