DAYTONA — Corvette Racing is back in action during the Roar Before the 24 with their new Corvette C8.R but for team manager Ben Johnson, this testing time at Daytona International Speedway wasn’t about finding speed, it was about refining the small things.
“We looked at this test as a more operational execution practice. We knew the pace of the car coming in and we’ve done a lot of testing so we gotta make sure we drilled ourselves in what the new car will make us do,” Johnson said. “Everything is fairly similar but pitstops are a little bit different. Brake changes are a little bit different and driver changes just making sure that things that were second hand on the C7 are getting to that same spot on the C8. Performance-wise we’re happy with the car. It’s getting all the little details sorted out. In this racing nowadays you gotta hit every little detail. Car performance is just a piece of it.”
This marks a lot of new for the Corvette Racing team, a new lineup, a new car and even some of their equipment is new to mark the start of 2020. Johnson says that it’s a big learning curve on all the fronts they’re used to.
“It’s a good challenge,” Johnson said with a smile.
Outside of the operational stuff, the Corvette Racing squad is facing a situation that it hasn’t necessarily needed in a few years. A new driver has joined the ranks due to the departure of Jan Magnussen this past offseason in American Jordan Taylor, however, Magnussen still had a hand in the development of the Corvette C8.R.
“Jan was a big part of the development of the car. Super influential in the sim work and on track,” Johnson said. “Jan, I know is racing in Europe right now and hopefully we see him again in the U.S. Jordan is younger, has a new perspective it’s good to see him. Having a new driver who’s seen other programs and brought other knowledge with them is always interesting. Jordan’s clearly had success in all forms of racing.”
Taylor wasn’t new to the Corvette fold though, for a few years, there was some moonlighting for the 24 Hours of LeMans. On top of that, he’s not new to the General Motors brand of racing either but he brings a little more experience to the car seeing as the Cadillac DPi he recently ran is a mid-engine car like the new C8.
Johnson says that it isn’t a big departure for him from what he last drove. Had the car still be the C7 generation, there may have been a problem from an adjustment standpoint.
“When people get in the C7, there’d be a pretty big learning period because it was just such a different animal to drive than any prototype car or any GT car,” Johnson said. “Now this car is a little bit more traditional in terms of driving style so Jordan can use from DP driving and just be up to speed that much quicker. He’s been able to give us feedback on what he’s felt, and the DPi is not really comparable but there are some tendencies that weight distribution that applies to the C8.”
The season kicks off with the 24 Hours of Daytona, a big endurance race to launch the 2020 IMSA season, where the Corvette Racing team is looking to return to its winning ways once again.