Corvette Racing had all the right “stuff” to win last Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at the Virginia International Raceway (VIR), but an untimely caution forced the team to settle for a second-place podium finish against championship rivals Pfaff Motorsports. The Canadian Porsche race team landed the GTD Pro class victory – their fifth victory of the season – thereby extending their points lead to 265 points.
Antonio Garcia started the race in the second position as Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute event got underway, but drifted back to third place behind the Pfaff Porsche 911 GT3R. An early pit stop by all of the class leaders allowed the Corvette Racing team to capture the lead ahead of rivals from BMW, Aston Martin and Porsche. For the next thirty-plus minutes, Corvette Racing worked to expand their class lead and successfully increased their distance from the second-place contenders with each completed lap.
But the tides would turn for the Corvette Racing team as the race reached its halfway mark. With one hour and twenty minutes remaining on the clock, a full-course yellow flag was issued due to debris on the racetrack. As the cars lined back up for a re-start, the Corvette suddenly found itself back in the thick of it. As the restart got underway, the Corvette Racing team got shuffled back several positions.
Not deterred by this setback, Jordan Taylor dominated the field and worked the No. 3 C8 Corvette race car back to the front of the GTD Pro field, quickly securing second place behind the race-leading Pfaff Porsche team. As the final minutes of the race clicked down, Taylor shaved seconds off the gap between first and second.
The Corvette Racing team also expected the Pfaff Porsche to pit as it was running dangerously low on fuel. However, driver Mathieu Jaminet (of France) was able to balance fuel consumption with an aggressive driving style that prevent the Corvette race car from passing. Despite having a narrow margin of victory, the Pfaff Porsche secured the checkered flag, only to run out of fuel as it attempted to complete a cool-down lap after securing the win.
“We called the strategy well at the beginning and jumped ahead,” Taylor said post-race. “If the race had gone green (to the finish), we would have maintained that track position, but the yellow kind of killed it. The car felt good, it’s just frustrating to come up a little bit short again.”
While Corvette Racing has had a respectable season this year, it seems highly unlikely that the team will be able to secure the points needed to defeat the Pfaff Porsche race team this season The final race of the season – the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta – will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2022. While it seems likely that Corvette Racing will have to settle for a second-place finish in the inaugural season of the GTD Pro division, there’s no denying that both Garcia and Taylor have maintained an outstanding level of performance throughout the 2022 IMSA race season.
We can’t wait to see what Chevrolet has in store for 2023!