Rain, bad luck conspire against Milner, Tandy in fourth-place run
SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (May 7, 2022) – Misfortune and Mother Nature worked against Corvette Racing on Saturday as an early-race advantage turned into a fourth-place class finish for the No. 64 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at the Six Hours of Spa.
Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy finished a lap down in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s GTE Pro class but had hopes for much more early on. Nevertheless, the team will take all the information it gained from this weekend into its next event – the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Saturday’s race was a disjointed one, to say the least, with a mix of 11 full-course yellow or safety-car periods, plus three red-flag stoppages. All totaled, there were less than three hours of green-flag time in the race.
Tandy started third in class and was in a position to gain track position and potentially the lead by going a lap longer than the rest of the GTE Pro field before his first stop for fuel and tires. An untimely safety-car period for a heavy prototype crash and a subsequent red flag closed the pit entry and exit just before the Corvette could make it into pitlane, which meant Tandy had to stop for a five-second emergency service for fuel.
Not only did that cost Corvette Racing a shot at the lead, it also meant a loss of more than a lap of track position. Due to the sporting regulations, Tandy wasn’t allowed to leave the pitlane until the field made a full lap past the pit exit after race officials lifted the red flag. Heavy rain showers arrived at the track during the stoppage as the GTE Pro field went to grooved wet-weather tires.
More rain halted the race twice more as Tandy stayed in the Corvette past the halfway point. He swapped over to Milner a little after three hours running but with the No. 64 C8.R back on the lead lap. More rain fell on the circuit to cause another red flag with about two hours and 40 minutes left. As the track began to dry during the next hour, Milner began to lose performance as the fully grooved rain tires grew hot and lost grip.
He stopped with an hour and 45 minutes left for a driver change and newer rain tires for Tandy, who eventually went on slick tires 30 minutes later under another full-course yellow with Milner closing for the final hour.
The next event for Corvette Racing is the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 11-12 with two Corvette C8.Rs set to compete in GTE Pro.
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FOURTH IN GTE PRO: “It’s a little unfortunate for us. The pace of the car, as we saw in qualifying and practice, was pretty good. We basically got punished for stretching our fuel on the first stint… just unlucky in reality. I don’t think we really ever got back from that situation. It’s nothing that anyone else did or that we did. It’s just the way the rules are. But it was fun. I really enjoyed my laps around Spa. The Corvette was very good. The race conditions were very difficult but we had fun.”
NICK TANDY, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R – FOURTH IN GTE PRO: “It was an interesting race. We started well and made our way to second position. We were trying to stretch the fuel out a bit to give us some options on strategy. In the end, it hurt us with a safety car and red flag. Obviously we were out of fuel so we had to pit. The rules state that if you pit under red, you have to wait a lap which put us behind. Through good work, strategy and taking a risk on tires, we made that lap back and got on the back of things. But we were always that step behind from then on in. We maximized what we could in the end. It’s good practice to see all these scenarios work out ahead of Le Mans. It wasn’t our day today. The luck didn’t fall our way but we learned a lot and got decent points in the championship.”
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