Garcia and Taylor took the new-for-2020 C8.R to victory lane in just its second IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Daytona International Speedway, more than five months on from its race debut back in January’s Rolex 24 at the same track.
Both Corvettes struggled on a wet track early on but moved back to the front of the GT Le Mans field as conditions improved before Taylor pitted to hand over the #3 car to Garcia after some 45 minutes of the two-hour-40-minute contest.
That left Garcia at the wheel for the bulk of the race, and the Spaniard expertly soaked up late pressure from the Porsche of Earl Bamber to clinch Corvette’s first IMSA win since the Long Beach race in April 2018, ending a victory drought of more than two years.
It also marked Garcia’s first victory since he and former co-driver Jan Magnussen triumphed at Virginia on their way to the 2017 crown. The following year, the pair took title honours despite failing to notch up a single race win.
More significantly, it was the 100th victory for Corvette on American soil, coming almost 20 years on from Ron Fellows and Andy Pilgrim taking the C5-R to its first win at Texas Motor Speedway in the American Le Mans Series.
“I think we deserved this moment,” said Garcia. “We came up just short so many times even though we won championships. All I could think about when I went across the line was remembering about Kyle [Millay, race engineer], Jan Magnussen and us coming so close.
“It’s the first win for the Corvette C8.R, 100th in IMSA for Corvette Racing and the first victory with Jordan. This is huge.”
The sister #4 Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner was in the mix for a podium finish but a late fuel stop with 15 minutes to run left the pair fifth of the six cars in class.
“That was the big thing,” said Garcia on the importance of saving fuel. “Jordan did a perfect job on that. He saved one lap in his stint, and I saved one on my first stint.
“We were going for a green race and made it to the end. We didn’t know if the Porsche would make it, and when we came out after the last stop we knew it was going to be between us.”
Describing his first win as a Corvette driver “amazing”, Taylor added: “I think the off time gave the Corvette Racing guys some decent time to make some headway with our new C8.R.
“Our fuel mileage, engine and drivability at the beginning of the race was much better than the first race. Pit stops were improved as the guys were training through the quarantine once they could get back in the shop.
“I’m very proud to be here with Antonio for the first win for the C8.R and the 100th win for the team. It is a very special day.”
#3: Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R, GTLM: Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images