One year removed from a frustrating debut for the Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, Corvette Racing scored its first endurance race win with the eighth-generation Corvette at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in a dominant 1-2 class finish.
Jordan Taylor made the decisive move around the outside of his teammate Tommy Milner in Turn 1 in the final hour and fended off the sister car to the finish en route to a narrow 3.519-second win.
Taylor and co-drivers Nicky Catsburg and Antonio Garcia overcame a stall in pit lane and a drive-through penalty in the final hours in the No. 3 Corvette, while the sister No. 4 entry overcame an intermittent gear selection issue that troubled them for much of the race.
Garcia, meanwhile, was pulled from the eventual class-winning entry after testing positive for COVID-19 mid-race.
The Corvettes emerged as the class favorites in the opening hour and led at every hourly interval throughout the twice-around-the-clock enduro.
Both the Nos. 3 and 4 took turns at the front throughout the race, which started inauspiciously for the class when the No. 25 BMW of Bruno Spengler hit Kevin Estre in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 coming to the green flag.
The contact sent Estre into a spin and inflicted serious damage to the Porsche from which it could not recover.
Spengler was assessed a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility for the encounter.
The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE Evo was also involved in the opening-lap fracas but escaped without major damage.
The Houston-based team and drivers James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Jules Gounon, and Davide Rigon led late on an alternate fuel strategy but didn’t get the late yellow they needed to pull the upset.
They overcame a drive through penalty of their own in the third hour and clawed their way back into contention before ultimately finishing fourth behind the No. 24 BMW when the fuel gambit failed to pay off.
The car never was a factor for the class win despite it setting the fastest lap of the race in class in the hands of Pier Guidi.
The top-finishing BMW entry of Augusto Farfus, John Edwards, Jesse Krohn, and Marco Wittmann were the most consistent challengers to the Corvette dominance but faded in the final hour to come home a distant third.
The No. 25 BMW, meanwhile, recovered from its early penalty to run in podium contention but dropped off the lead lap in the final third of the race.
Spengler, Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, and Timo Glock finished fifth, two laps off of the class leader and ahead of only the WeatherTech Racing Porsche of Estre, Cooper MacNeil, Gimmi Bruni, and Richard Lietz.
RESULTS: Rolex 24 at Daytona