DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R showed promise during its competition debut in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and although Sunday’s checkered flag flew without a Corvette win, there are plenty of positives and lessons to carry forward to the Z06 GT3.R’s upcoming events in IMSA.
Both Corvettes from Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports completed the full 24 hours with the No. 3 of Antonio Garcia, Alexander Sims and Daniel Juncadella leading the way with a fifth-place finish. The trio led 118 laps during Saturday and Sunday with the sister No. 4 Z06 GT3.R of Tommy Milner, Nicky Catsburg and Earl Bamber leading 38 additional laps.
Both of the Pratt Miller Chevy’s experienced separate mechanical issues – the No. 3 had a cracked oil tank and the No. 4 had to replace a power steering pump inside the final six hours.
Despite missing out on a fifth class victory for the Corvette Racing brand since 2001, the competition groups learned a considerable amount while running four cars (two cars entered by AWA in GTD category) in the season-opening race.
Throughout its history, Corvette Racing has prided itself in taking lessons away from the racetrack and making its racecars – and production vehicles – better. That will continue being the case as the Corvette Z06 GT3.R moves forward.
The next race for the Corvette Z06 GT3.R in IMSA is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 16.
Although finishing fifth in the circumstances is pretty reasonable, ultimately it’s a disappointing result.
Despite leading a number of laps, as the race developed we just didn’t have an answer to the strong pace of the Ferrari or BMW. That said, given it was the Z06 GT3.R’s competition debut we’ve gained a lot of new insight and knowledge which we can take forward to Sebring.
Personally I felt really at one with the car and the tyres and also the Daytona circuit, although there are still areas I can improve. Overall though it was just great fun to battle against a large GT field in what was a real showcase for hard, fair racing.