The #3 Corvette C8.R was running second during the dry portion of the fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship albeit 15sec behind the leader Earl Bamber in the #912 Porsche. However, the Garcia made it into pitlane in time to change from slick tires to wets before the rain became a torrential downpour.
By contrast, Bamber in the #912 Porsche 911 RSR stayed out for another lap and skated into the Turn 1 run-off, bringing out the caution flag. Thus Garcia was on the right rubber for the conditions before pitlane was closed.
The Spaniard was battling with new leader John Edwards (BMW M8) and Nick Tandy (#911 Porsche) in the final eight-minute sprint to the checkered flag following the race stoppage, when the BMW and Porsche went off in the Kink while negotiating some GT Daytona-class cars.
Garcia held on however, for he and Taylor to head Corvette’s third straight win, the #3 car’s second victory in three races, and C8.R’s second straight 1-2 finish.
“”Finally…It took me forever to win here!” exclaimed Garcia, who has twice won the IMSA GTLM championship for Corvette. “How wild was that? I don’t know how I got through the Kink there.
“From the Carousel, Tandy and I were navigating and we had to go around the GTD cars… their leaders probably. I was risking a lot and obviously Nick was risking a lot too, as I saw later on.
“I don’t know how I made it through and I saw the #24 [BMW] spinning too. It was just amazing.
“Obviously the Corvette C8.R navigates as well, too! We will take it. Another Corvette 1-2 today is just awesome.”
Taylor, who qualified second and ran the first two stints of the race, commented: “I was happy I wasn’t in the car at the end; It looked pretty miserable, especially on that lap before it went yellow.
“It looked like at the Kink that it had started pouring again. I don’t know if the BMW and Porsche got that message, but our guys relayed that to Antonio and thankfully he was able to tip-toe through there and make it through for the win.
“It’s proof that Corvette Racing never gives up, even when we were down-and-out a bit there in the middle. We never gave up.
“Our race went to a three-stop race strategy pretty early on. The way we were track-position wise, we saw the rain before the other guys and were able to duck in the pits before it went yellow for the first time. It was a great call and Antonio did a great job to survive the conditions and bring home another 1-2 finish for the Corvette C8.R.”