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Corvette Racing Sebring Recap: How Did The Z06 GT3.R Fare At The 12-Hour Race?

Has the new Z06 GT3.R worked through its teething phase, and will the teams be able to get that monkey off their backs?

AWA's No. 13/Photo Credit: Richard Prince for Corvette Racing

On Saturday, March 16th, the Corvette Racing program continued to work through the learning curve of having a completely new machine (the Z06 GT3.R) at the challenging Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, presented by Cadillac. This task of working with a brand-new race car is further complicated by this year’s shift from factory-backed to factory-supported racing, an announcement that sent ripples through the community.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series opened up their season on January 28th at the iconic Rolex 24 At Daytona, and the results were mixed, with a best Z06 GT3.R finish of 5th (see full CorvSport recap here). As the IMSA teams moved to their second race at Sebring International Raceway, the question was: Can these two teams get the Daytona monkey off their backs and have consistent top finishes?

IMSA Team Profile Recaps:

♦ GTD PRO: Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports

  • The No. 3: Antonio Garcia, Alexander Sims, and Daniel Juncadella
  • The No. 4: Tommy Milner, Nicky Catsburg, and Earl Bamber


  • The No. 13: Orey Fidani, Matt Bell and Lars Kern
  • The No. 17: Thomas Merrill, Charlie Eastwood, and Anthony Mantella

Race Recap Positives:

  • The No. 13 AWA Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R led the collection of first-year GT3.R Corvettes, with the trio of Fidani, Bell, and Kern placing NINTH in a 22-car GT Daytona (GTD) field.
  • Despite starting from the rear of the field, the No. 13 team methodically worked its way through the field and ran as high as third in class before a successful fight in the closing hour to maintain its top-10 finish.
  • The No. 13 trio completed 314 laps and finished on the lead GTD lap in a mostly trouble-free run.
  • The biggest mover early was No. 3’s Sims, who started the race and went from ninth to first in the first 67 minutes.
Pratt Miller Motorsports’ No. 3 with a special Mobil 1 gold livery to mark the company’s 50th anniversary

The Not So Positive:

  • All four Z06 GT3.Rs started from the rear of the field due to a post-qualifying technical infraction.
  • The No. 3 Oshkosh/Mobil 1 Z06 GT3.R of Garcia, Sims, and Juncadella appeared as if it would take the honors as the highest-finishing Corvette in the race before being slammed from behind and spun off track in the final minutes while running second in GTD PRO.
  • The No. 4 Z06 GT3.R lost precious time in the first half of the race while attempting to resolve clutch issues. The team tried to remain in GTD PRO contention and serviced during pit stops, but near the halfway point, they elected to change a clutch component and lost multiple laps in the process.
  • AWA’s second Corvette (the No. 17 Z06 GT3.R in GTD) retired early in the race with an electrical problem.

Comments from the Top Performing AWA Drivers:

Matt Bell, No. 13 Z06 GT3.R:

It was pretty intense out there. Obviously in Daytona we just had to circulate around a bit after that unfortunate start. It was good to be back in the GTD battle properly there. There was some intense battling, and I managed to fight my way from the back to P8, I think, so it was nice to be in the fight. We’re still really learning the car and optimizing things we learned in practice. Chevrolet and Pratt Miller have built an impressive piece of GT3 machinery. We’re still getting to grips with it a little bit, but as the race went on we jumped up and down the leaderboard and think at one point we were P3 after cycling through some stops. That was a proper, old-fashioned GTD stint doing some overtaking, which was nice to be in the fight. You’re always learning and you’re always pushing as well. We’re not just cycling around trying to be in school. We’re going as hard as we can.

Lars Kern, No. 13 Z06 GT3.R:

It was a pretty tough race. It seems like we haven’t had the pace, so we need to figure out why. We didn’t have the pace to fight with the top guys so that was a bit frustrating. It was a hard race and really hot in the car. There were some little hiccups but didn’t have any penalties or any big incidents. So generally I’d say we executed pretty well. It’s good after Daytona to finish this race, gain some experience and move on.

What’s next for Corvette Racing?

The next IMSA round for the Corvette Z06 GT3.R program is the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (featuring the GTD class) on April 20 from the Long Beach, CA, Street Circuit.

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Additional Source:

AWA’s No. 13/Photo Credit: Richard Prince for Corvette Racing