Corvette’s young Americans ready for WEC

September 15, 2014

Corvette’s young Americans ready for WEC

September 15, 2014

vette_driversAs the world’s top sports car endurance teams arrive at the Circuit of The Americas for their only North American stop, they will find new, yet familiar competitors waiting.

The factory backed Corvette Racing team is a fixture at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the top GT class seven times, but the team traditionally focuses on the North America championships and leaves the global FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) competition to the Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin factory teams.

vette_drivers2That approach changes here as Corvette Racing does the double, racing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race Saturday morning then rolling out a fresh Corvette C7.R artillery piece with a trio of young American drivers for the evening’s WEC event.

“The team is excited. It certainly adds another element,” said Tommy Milner, a Corvette Racing factory driver and 2011 GTE-Pro class co-champion at Le Mans and the 2012 American Le Mans Series GT co-champion.

Milner, age 28, will be joined in the WEC fray by Corvette prototype aces Ricky and Jordan Taylor, ages 25 and 23 respectively, as the only Americans entered in either of the two top WEC Pro classes.

“It is a good opportunity and we are all motivated,” said Milner, who will drive factory Corvette Racing C7.Rs in both races. “It will be a big challenge, especially for Ricky and Jordan to jump from their DP prototype car in the morning race into our Corvette GT car for the WEC race the same day.”

While the competition in WEC is fierce, it would be a mistake to expect the young Americans to go for a joy ride, with a ‘we’re just happy to be here’ attitude.

“We aren’t worried about WEC points or anything, so we can take some chances on strategies and we fully intend to go for the win, if we can,” said Milner. “We are not here just to run around.”

Also jumping into the WEC fray here are Americans Scott Sharp and Ed Brown, who will be joined by Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel aboard the Extreme Speed Motorsport P2 class entry and Texan Tracy Krohn will team with Nic Jonsson and Ben (“The Stig”) Collins, co-driving Krohn’s Ferrari F458 Italia in the GTE-Am class.

One challenge that awaits all of the WEC drivers is darkness. The six hour race is scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. with sunset due at 7:28 pm, meaning roughly half the race will be run after dark.

“Racing into the darkness at COTA will be a new experience,” said Milner. “This will be a tough place to race at night. There are very few landmarks here at night. Most tracks, or circuits like Le Mans, have landmarks like trees or structures. I expect there will be some track lighting at certain sections of the track, but COTA is a modern F1 track, so it is a sea of asphalt.”

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