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CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: WEC Zoom Transcript (1/1)
 3/3/22 7:48pm
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Milner, Tandy preview FIA WEC season, Sebring 1,000 Miles



CORVETTE RACING AT SEBRING: FIA WEC Zoom Transcript

Ahead of the 1,000 Miles of Sebring and the kick-off of the FIA World
Endurance Championship, Corvette Racing drivers Tommy Milner and Nick
Tandy – teammates in the No. 64 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R –
discussed the team’s first venture into a full WEC season and touched on
preparation for the Sebring weekend in the GTE Pro class. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
ATTENTION EDITORS

TOMMY MILNER, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R
YOU’RE STARTING YOUR SEASON AT SEBRING, AS WAS THE CASE FOR YEARS IN ALMS.
WHAT’S THE MINDSET GOING INTO THIS EVENT? “I was a bit surprised at making
125 starts with Corvette … that’s more than I would have thought. But along
those lines while the team is starting a new endeavor by racing in the WEC,
it still feels very much like home. It feels normal in some ways by starting
off our championship at Sebring. It’s the same team, same co-driver as last
year with Nick and lots of carry-over, which is the name of the game in many
ways for Corvette Racing. While it is new in the sense of racing in a new
championship, the feeling I get from the team is not business as usual
because there is a lot more behind the scenes that makes this happen than
just that, but it still feels very familiar and very normal, but also very
exciting to get started with a new chapter in Corvette Racing’s history.”


THERE HAVE BEEN TWO STAND-ALONE WEC RACES FOR THE C8.R AND BOTH WERE TOUGH
RACES, PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE BoP. HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT MIGHT AFFECT THINGS?
“In both of those situations and events for the team, there was some
planning to make those events happen but there were add-ons and extras to
our calendar. In those situations, and looking specifically at performance,
we were hoping for a more competitive situation. Both those races were
unique. The COTA race (in 2020) was pretty early on with the C8.R, and last
year’s race at Spa was a super cold event. In this situation for this year
and knowing as long as we’ve known that this was the plan to split the two
cars, this feels much more like (normal). While this is a new championship
in general for Corvette Racing, the experience we have at Le Mans is a part
of that. But we do have some new tracks that the team hasn’t been to. We’ll
use the DiL (Driver in the Loop simulator) as much as we possibly can for
the engineers and us as drivers to get as much time as we possibly can
leading up to these events. We finished last year and started this year
knowing what the program is. The BoP process does play a big role at times
in the pace, performance and results. For us, it’s probably the best-case
scenario in some ways starting at Sebring. We know the racetrack, we know
the tires, we know the car. We should be pretty competitive out of the box,
I would imagine. If that’s not the case, then we will have some data that us
as a team and the WEC can use to hopefully make the racing close and
exciting as this class always seems to provide.”


AS IT’S YOUR FIRST WEC SEASON, IS THERE A CIRCUIT YOU’RE LOOKING AT VISITING
FOR THE FIRST TIME? “To be honest, I’m excited about all of it. I’ve never
raced at Spa, Monza, Fuji or Bahrain. For many of these races, it will all
be new for me. Over my racing career, I’ve been a big fan of and done a lot
of sim racing, so I’ve driven all these tracks multiple times in different
sims. I’m excited to have the opportunity to go to these places on our DiL
and also in real life. In general, I feel as prepared as I can be for these
new tracks. As always, going to these new places in real life, it’s always a
little bit different. There are always elevation sensations that you don’t
get in the sims. While most of the bumps and things like that are there, the
different track surface changes don’t always translate over very well on
these sims. There definitely is a learning curve that will be involved
there. We have lots of tools and experience from Nick, our engineers and
other drivers that we can pull from to get us all up to speed as quickly as
possible. It’s exciting to be part of a World Championship and have a chance
to go for a World Championship. It’s exciting to take Corvette Racing and be
one of the drivers of the car around the world and showcase this Corvette
C8.R – especially now with the Corvette street car being available
worldwide, it just seems like a perfect fit for this team.”


YOU’LL DO THE 1,000 MILES AT SEBRING AND THE OTHER WEC RACES OUTSIDE OF LE
MANS WITH JUST TWO DRIVERS. WILL THAT HAVE AN IMPACT? “It’ll probably be
about the same driving as it has been in the past with a little bit of a
shorter race. Obviously, Sebring is tough physically and mentally. From my
point of view, I’ve found that the more driving you do in a race, the more
comfortable you get. You have more time to really understand what the car
needs from every lap and every corner to figure out how to get the most out
of the car. Not that I don’t like driving with multiple drivers. For 24-hour
races, it’s a necessity. But there have been times at some Sebring races –
while for 12 hours having only two drivers would be difficult – it’s a
situation where at the end of the race and when it’s all over, the ones I’ve
done quite a bit of the driving, you are tired for sure. But there is a
sense that you had every opportunity to maximize the potential of the car. I’ve
always enjoyed the races where, for whatever reason with the way the
drivetimes worked out, I drove a lot of the race. There is a sense of
accomplishment at the end of it all where you feel like you’ve had a big
role in the performance of the car, and you feel like you get the most out
of it. From that point of view, I’m excited about that challenge. There’s
nothing extra special; it’s business as usual with what I’ve done in the
past with training has always worked well for me. I’m continuing on that
path as I always have. For me, I think the biggest challenge will
fundamentally be getting used to new racetracks and getting up to speed. Our
competitors will have had quite a bit more experience than I have at these
tracks. That, for me, will be the biggest challenge – finding the maximum
out of the car and getting the most out of the car on these new tracks.”


NICK TANDY, NO. 64 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C8.R
YOU’RE GOING BACK TO FIA WEC COMPETITION FULL TIME AND HAVING BOTH CORVETTE
RACING ON THE GROUND AT SEBRING ALONGSIDE THE IMSA ENTRY. “The thing I’m
looking forward to most is seeing how the different weekend plays out. The
fact that we have our first weekend in the WEC as a single-car team, we’re
actually sharing the weekend with our teammates, even though they are
different race and different category. I’m looking forward to having another
car to cheer on in another class and in another race and how the weekend
plays out. It will be the first time that all of our crew that will be
working in WEC all year will be split from the IMSA side. The good thing is
that we know how to make our No. 64 Corvette go well around Sebring. Yes,
the race is a bit less in time than what we are used to with the 12 Hours.
But it’s still an endurance race at Sebring, so this is a good way to start
the year. I’m glad we get to start the year in North America. It’s a
familiar place to race and get things started. Hopefully, it’s a good start
and something we can learn on the way the races are structured, the way we
work as a team and take that through the rest of the season.”


HOW IMPORTANT IS A TOOL LIKE THE DRIVER IN THE LOOP SIMULATOR GIVEN NEW
TRACKS ON THE CALENDER FOR CORVETTE RACING? “I’m off to Huntersville (North
Carolina) on Wednesday. We have some work to do on not just Sebring but also
the upcoming races after that in both IMSA and WEC. Having these tools
available to us … there are certain things that stay pretty similar with the
car and how the setup of the car is from track to track. But there are a lot
of things that are track specific. Going to places like Monza and Fuji, for
example. I know from previous experience that these places – maybe not Monza
because it’s more of a Le Mans-type setup of aero level – like at Fuji with
a great long straight but also a technical infield, you can run through
simulations of aero level and not just figure out what makes the car work
but what makes the best lap time. The trade-off between downforce and drag
at certain places like Le Mans and Daytona is pretty simple to work out what
makes the lap time. At somewhere like Fuji and Spa to a certain degree, you
can trade off some of the cornering ability to make up time on the straight.
The DiL sim that we have for this sort of thing is quite useful. We can test
things to see how much time we are giving away in certain areas and how to
then tune around it. We like to have two kinds of setups ready to go that we
can try in testing. It gives us a head start before we get to the track.
Going to new circuits, it will be even more important and play a bigger role
than ever.”


IT'S YOUR FIRST FULL WEC SEASON IN QUITE A FEW YEARS. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT
THAT AND IS IT STRANGE TO NOT DO A FULL IMSA SEASON FOR THE FIRST TIME IN
AWHILE? “There are mixed kind of feelings. I think all of us are excited to
do a World Championship, to do something new and something different. This
is exciting. But we are leaving a lot of people, a lot of tracks and races,
and a lot of fans and stuff that we are used to seeing and racing with on a
week-to-week basis in IMSA. I will miss going places like Virginia, Watkins
Glen and events like this. But we are going for a World Championship and
that is something not a lot of people get the chance to go for. Le Mans is
always big, but a full World Endurance Championship season is something
else. It was really nice to start the year in Daytona. When you do the IMSA
series and then you get to do Le Mans in the same year, that’s a fantastic
calendar. To do a full WEC calendar and include Daytona as a single event
from our side, it was a really nice thing to do. To have this opportunity to
do these races and have the chance to be successful in not just a series but
in these big, single events is something that’s always good. We were lucky
to start off at Daytona and we’ve got this full chance at a World
Championship, which is the aim of what we are doing. I’m looking forward to
it. But I am not looking forward to not looking back to going to
Silverstone, though. It used to be a home race in the WEC. I’m a bit sad we
don’t go to Silverstone anymore. But I’ll be looking forward to going back
to Monza. It’s been since 2017 since the last time I’ve raced there so
looking forward to that.”


THERE HAVE BEEN TWO STAND-ALONE WEC RACES FOR THE C8.R AND BOTH WERE TOUGH
RACES, PARTLY BECAUSE OF THE BoP. HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT MIGHT AFFECT THINGS?
“Tommy was probably more involved in previous WEC single events. I was part
of the team when we did Spa last year. We know that the BoP process from all
the series is getting better and better. They have the tools to make this
process as fair as possible. Yes, we have run the car in normal
configuration at Spa last year. Nothing has really changed since then, and
of course we had all the running at Le Mans last year. We also have the
Prologue this year. I hope everything will be a decent window to start with.
I have no reason to think they won’t. Of course, the process takes time, but
cars evolve and tires evolve, and from track to track it’s different. It’s
pretty simple that we make sure our car and everything on our side is 100
percent. You just hope for a fair run at it.”


YOU’LL DO THE 1,000 MILES AT SEBRING AND THE OTHER WEC RACES OUTSIDE OF LE
MANS WITH JUST TWO DRIVERS. WILL THAT HAVE AN IMPACT? “From a strategic
point of view, when you have only two drivers you get more time, like in
practice. You don’t just have more driving time in practice. With things
that you’re testing in free practice, you don’t have to worry about changing
drivers as much. There is a strategic advantage to having less drivers a lot
of the time. You can get through more work in practice. Of course, when it
comes to the actual racing, we typically do the Six Hours of The Glen
regularly with two drivers in GTLM. That’s been the normal kind of thing.
With GTE being nearer to one-hour stints on fuel stops, the four-, six-,
eight-hour races become a bit easier to manage with two drivers. With
classes that have maybe 40- or 45-minute fuel stints, you would have more
options with more drivers from that point of view. The 1,000 Miles and even
in the eight hours at Bahrain, it’ll be tough. As Tommy says, doing a
12-hour or 24-hour race with three, that’s still a lot of driving time. If
we both do three stints in Sebring, it’s still three double-stints, which
isn’t out of the ordinary in testing. A lot of the time when we do long
endurance testing, we drive a lot more. If you can get away with having less
drivers, then it’s better for the team as a whole. The problem comes if
someone has an issue, as I know about from Spa last year. Doing the Spa 15
Hours with two drivers is quite difficult! Having the extra guy sometimes
gives you a bit of safety net if one driver has an issue. Other than that,
we’re good to go with two and I think you’ll see all the other teams in GTE
Pro doing the same.”




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