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Starting Line with John McGann: A Corvette Racing Success Story

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 10/30/2020 John McGann
a car driving down a road: Corvette C8.R Mid-Ohio © Hot Rod Network Staff Corvette C8.R Mid-Ohio

In the midst of what can technically be called a pretty bad year, it's encouraging to see professional motorsports persevering, which in this year should be seen as a raging success. Initially, many NASCAR and Indy Car events were cancelled or rescheduled, but as the year has progressed, it seems that those organizations have gotten pretty clever in how to complete their schedule by combining events at the same track on the same weekend or running doubleheader races.

Related:When a Dodge Charger and Ford Torino Raced in Europe

I've especially been enjoying the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship series this year, and the success of the Corvette Racing team with the mid-engine C8.R, which competes in the GT LeMans (GTLM) class. The team is comprised of the yellow No. 3 car driven by Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, and the silver No. 4 car driven by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner. After nearly two years without a win for Corvette, the brand-new C8.R race car has been saying CUL8.R to the competition. The first win of 2020 came on July 4 at Daytona. The No. 3 car took the win in this abbreviated 2-hour, 40-minute race that was added to the schedule in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak. This was also Corvette Racing's 100th victory; nice timing for this historic event on a national holiday.

a car driving on a race track © Hot Rod Network Staff

Corvette Racing nailed the top two podium spots at the next event held at Sebring on July 18, with Milner and Gavin taking the top honors. Since then, the Corvette Racing team has dominated the GTLM class, winning six of the seven races so far this season. In addition to the sweep at Sebring, Corvette has taken the top two spots at Mid-Ohio. Their latest victory was an exciting race under wet conditions on the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jordan Taylor qualified the No. 3 car on the pole for GTLM, and he and Antonio Garcia held the top spot in GTLM throughout the race with some brilliant driving. After what some critics were calling a poor showing at the Rolex 24, the debut race for the C8.R in January, the team has silenced the naysayers with solid driving, excellent work by the mechanics and pit crew, and very reliable cars.

Yes, it been great to see this new car winning, but it's also provided a respite for me from the drudgery of quarantine and work-from-home conditions. I look forward to the Saturday races and listen to them on IMSA Radio online. I don't have cable, but the races are broadcast on NBCSN, and you can also watch through IMSA's app or on IMSA TV through a paid streaming service. IMSA also uploads race coverage of each event to their YouTube channel about five days after the event was run. My plan so far has been to listen to each race live in IMSA Radio then watch it on YouTube a few days later.

© Hot Rod Network Staff

It seems as if I'm not the only one paying attention to professional motorsports these days, either. Sportscar365.com reported that the NBCSN broadcast of the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring was the most watched IMSA race in the two years that the series and broadcaster have been partnered together. At a time when professional "stick and ball" sports are seeing record-low ratings, it's encouraging to see that doesn't seem to be the case with motorsports.

If you're interested in sports car racing or the C8.R, follow the drivers on social media. I follow them all on Instagram, and Jordan Taylor is an especially funny person. Subscribe to IMSA's YouTube channel, IMSA Official, and check out IMSA Radio; their hosts do an excellent job covering the race on-track and in the pits. As I write this, the Corvette Racing team is gearing up for the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca, the penultimate event of this odd racing year. IMSA wraps the season up with the 12 Hours of Sebring on November 11-14.

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