CORVETTE RACING AT COTA: Next Steps in Corvette C8.R Development
While the Corvette community was thrilled to see the 2020 Mid-Engine C8.R Corvette compete in the 24 Hours of Daytona last month, some of the teams struggles during the race suggested that the car still needed some tempering to become the world-class contender that everyone believes it can – and will- become.
Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller will share duties piloting the No. 63 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C8.R in this weekend’s race. This race, which takes place in the heart of Texas, will be the first of two FIA WEC rounds for the dynamic driving duo. The will compete together again at the 1,000 Miles of Sebring in March. Magnussen and Rockenfeller will be competing in the GTE Pro category.
The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is a familiar race venue for Corvette Racing. The team is a two-time winner at the 3.4-mile, 20-turn track that resides just outside Austin city limits. Magnussen helped pilot past Corvettes to both of those past victories – in 2013 with the Corvette C6.R and again in 2017 while driving a Corvette C7.R.
While Magnussen brings years of experience to this track, this weekend’s race will be the first effort in a Corvette at this venue for Rockenfeller. In order to learn the layout and gain track knowledge of the Circuit of The Americas, Rockenfeller has spent a good deal of time learning the circuit through simulation and video.
The Six Hours of COTA will be the second event for the Corvette C8.R following its successful debut at the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Rolex 24 At Daytona. Each of the two Corvettes finished their first race with the No. 3 C8.R finishing fourth and covering more mileage than any previous Corvette at Daytona.
Corvette Racing’s primary goal competing in the WEC rounds at COTA and Sebring is the continued development of the mid-engine Corvette race car against similar manufacturer-backed competition as those the Corvette Racing teams face in the IMSA GT Le Mans class. A mix of track testing and simulation has been the backbone of the team’s development program of the C8.R for nearly two full years.
The return of Magnussen and Rockenfeller, past endurance teammates with Corvette Racing, allows for the team to focus on technical and mechanical improvements to the Corvette with drivers already familiar with piloting various iterations of the Corvette. Magnussen spent 16 years driving with Corvette Racing team and won four times at the 24 Hours Le Mans, once at the Rolex 24 and captured four IMSA Driver’s Championships. Rockenfeller was a past winner with Corvette Racing at the 2017 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, sharing driving duties as an endurance driver with Magnussen and Antonio Garcia.
The FIA WEC’s Six Hours of COTA will air Sunday on the MotorTrend Network from 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. ET and 6-7:30 p.m. ET.
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:“I’m looking forward to getting back to Austin and COTA. It’s a new car obviously, and I’m excited to drive the Corvette C8.R at COTA. I’ve had some really good experiences with the C7.R at COTA in the past. Hopefully this will be another great result for Corvette Racing.”
“We are going against the best in the business in the middle of their season, so we will go in there a little bit on the back foot. We’ll go in there to see where we are, what we can do and will make the best of it. We have high hopes with the new C8.R, so we’ll do the best we can to get the best possible result.”
MIKE ROCKENFELLER, NO. 63 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R:“I’m really looking forward to feel in reality how the new Corvette is. I’ve been in the team shop for a seat fitting during a couple days. So I know the car in detail sitting in it and looking at it. I followed the team closely at Daytona. The mid-engine Corvette looked very fast and competitive at Daytona… going that distance and being in contention for a win this early is a good sign. But for me, it will be great to be behind the wheel on the racetrack. That’s what I’m really looking forward to.”
“What I have done and will continue to do is drive the track on my simulator at home. I’ve already done several laps already so I know the track from that. But I do want to do that more in preparation for the race. I have heard now nice Austin is from a lot of people in different categories. So I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we have a good race… that’s even more important!”