Potent Corvette lineup adds Jordan Taylor for 2020 IMSA season

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Corvette Racing’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team in 2020 will feature a four-driver lineup with a combined 102 wins and 13 championships. It’s the first time in nearly a decade the team will have a new full-season driver roster as the team gears up to compete with the new Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.

Jordan Taylor, who has 21 wins and two championships in IMSA competition, has been named to the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C8.R. He will join Antonio Garcia, who has 17 wins and three championships.

Taylor replaces the legendary Jan Magnussen, who retired at the end of the 2019 season.

Oliver Gavin, who has an incredible 48 wins and six championships, returns with Tommy Milner (16 wins and two championships) in the No 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette for the ninth-consecutive year. They are the longest-running driver pairing in IMSA.

Both cars with all four drivers will compete in the entire GTLM season.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have this group of talented drivers behind the wheel of the mid-engine Corvette C8.R for the 2020 IMSA season,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S. vice president, Performance and Motorsports.  “Given our rich history at Daytona International Speedway, we are proud to debut the C8.R at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.”

Taylor has previous experience as a driver for Corvette Racing, having been part of the team’s endurance lineup from 2012-2017. In that span, he was part of a Corvette Racing victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 and finished second at Sebring and Petit Le Mans in 2012. Taylor, a two-time IMSA Driver’s Champion, will partner with Garcia. The two were endurance teammates in 2012-14 and again in 2017.

“It’s a huge honor to be back with Corvette Racing for 2020 and part of the full-season lineup,” Taylor said. “I’m very proud to be joining one of the most successful teams in sports car racing history and to represent the Corvette and Chevrolet brands. I was very fortunate to spend six years with Corvette in the endurance races driving both the C6.R and C7.R. Now being back with the brand new C8.R is really special. I am especially happy to be back driving alongside Antonio, who I believe is one of the best GT drivers in the world. I know I will have a lot to learn over the next few months leading to Daytona, but I’m ready and looking forward to the challenge of GTLM.”

This will be Garcia’s ninth full season with Corvette Racing, having partnered with Jan Magnussen for the previous eight. Garcia has 16 wins with Corvette, including three at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Garcia is also a three-time GTLM Driver’s Champion.

“First off, thanks to Jan for all the great years we had in Corvette Racing,” Garcia said. “I’m proud of what we all were able to accomplish together as a team.

“Now as I look ahead, welcome back to Jordan. I am happy to have him now as a full-time teammate. We obviously know each other very well, so I’m looking forward sharing the car together and hopefully returning to our usual Corvette Racing form. The 2020 season is an important one for all of Corvette Racing with the new C8.R. It’s very different from any Corvette I have ever driven but in a positive way. I’m anxious to continue testing and development with all our team.”

Gavin and Milner continue a partnership that is the standard-bearer for Corvette Racing and modern-day IMSA. They’ve won 14 races and two IMSA titles together, the most recent in 2016.

Gavin will compete for the 19th consecutive season with Corvette Racing and is the longest-serving and most successful driver in team history. He has 50 victories with the program including five at Le Mans; his most recent was 2015 with Milner and Taylor.

“It’s another honor to represent Chevrolet and Corvette Racing again in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship,” Gavin said. “If you had told me back in 2002 when I first joined the program that I would continue for 19 years, I’d never believe it. I’m appreciative of the confidence that everyone at Corvette Racing has in me, and I’m absolutely delighted to be back with Tommy now in the Corvette C8.R. It’s a wonderful car to drive and is a huge step forward for Corvette Racing. Tommy and I have been together for many races and many seasons. Certainly, last year was full of misfortune and things not going our way. The great thing about Corvette Racing is that we always try to take that next step above our competitors, and I think we have an excellent chance to do that with the C8.R.”

Milner joined the team in 2011 and won Le Mans for the first time the same season. He was teamed with Gavin the following year, and they went on to win the American Le Mans Series’ GT Championship.

“I can’t wait to start this next chapter of Corvette Racing with the entire team, which has worked so hard on the new 2020 Corvette C8.R race car,” Milner said. “This will be the biggest adjustment the program has ever had to make with an all-new car. But with the time, effort and testing spent so far, I’m confident we will be ready to take on all challenges. I’m really looking forward to be continuing with Oliver again in the No. 4 car, and I think we’re both eager to get back to winning races and championships with this new Corvette.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

Tom Blomqvist keeps eye on IndyCar during impressive rise: ‘ I would love to give it a go’

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In between two of his latest superstar-driver-in-waiting performances, Tom Blomqvist walked through the Daytona International Speedway garage in anonymity.

“Nobody knows who the (expletive) I am,” he said to a team member with a laugh (and without a trace of being miffed), evincing the cheeky humor of someone born in England, raised in New Zealand and also of Swedish descent.

The lack of recognition in the garage might have been because he was clad in a relatively nondescript shirt, hat and sunglasses instead of a colorful firesuit covered by sponsor logos. But he also was on the way to a Friday race eve media availability where his entrance was greeted by only one reporter (after a few minutes).

During a news conference a day earlier, he sat patiently on the dais while his Indy 500-winning teammates and car owner fielded nearly all the questions – even though Blomqvist had turned maybe the most impressive lap of the month to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole position in the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category.

The Meyer Shank Racing driver still might lack the attention commensurate with his already world-class CV (which expanded Sunday with his second consecutive Rolex 24  victory for MSR), but Blomqvist, 29, clearly isn’t bothered by it.

He carries the quiet confidence of knowing his immense talent will ensure results that will make him impossible to ignore.

“To a degree, I guess, it’s definitely ramped up a lot for me,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports. “In America, I’m starting to get a lot more (attention). In the last year, I’ve quite often got a lot of maybe what you’d call the glory moments. It’s been fun. And within the paddock, there’s a lot of respect for me anyway. It’s been good.”

There have been several moments of acclaim since he joined MSR barely a year ago in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In his first start for the team at last year’s Rolex 24, Blomqvist turned in a Herculean performance to position the No. 60 Acura for the victory (giving way to Helio Castroneves because he was too “cooked” to complete the last 74 minutes).

He was even better this year at Daytona.

He ripped off a monster “one and done” pole-winning lap to beat the clock in qualifying on the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course. During the race, Blomqvist was as dominant in his first stint as his last in the ARX-06 while taking the checkered flag. He set the mark for the fastest time on Lap 6 that no one topped over the final 755 laps.

The 10 fastest laps in the race belonged to Blomqvist, carrying over his speed from the 2022 when he won the Petit Le Mans season finale to clinch the premier prototype championship at Michelin Road Atlanta.

A year earlier at the same track, he had burst onto the radar of car owner Mike Shank, who was intrigued by Blomqvist’s results as a BMW factory driver in the Formula E and DTM series. In 2014, Blomqvist also finished between second in F3, between champion Esteban Ocon (now with Alpine’s F1 team) and Max Verstappen (who has won the past two Formula One championships).

“He did a lot of high-level stuff, and then kind of fell out of favor, or I don’t know what happened, but he was a free agent,” Shank said. “I started looking at his numbers, and I’m like, ‘We should test this guy. So I take him to Road Atlanta in the fall of ’21, and he got in the car and just slayed it.”

Within minutes, he had called co-owner Jim Meyer.

“I’ve got our guy,” Shank said. “This is our guy. There’s no question about it.

Honda Performance Development president David Salters hugs Tom Blomqvist after the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).

“Now what’s happened, though, and I think if you look back at the Rolex here last year (and) what he did, he’s a gold nugget. He reminds me a little bit when (Robert) Wickens came into IndyCar out of DTM (as a rookie in 2018).

“He truly believes he’s the fastest guy out there, and he proved it (at the Rolex 24).”

Said David Salters, president for Honda Performance Development: “We love Tom. He’s the real deal, isn’t he? Immensely talented, super smart, and on it.

The great thing about our teams, the strength in depth is tremendous. But if you look through the sports car racing now, that’s the standard you have to have. Tom, brilliant, Filipe (Albuquerque), brilliant. Ricky (Taylor). You can go through that list. They’re all superstars. Tom is awesome. His lap in qualifying quite frankly was unbelievable.”


Having conquered one of the world’s greatest endurance races twice with Acura, Blomqvist could be ticketed for the world’s biggest race next – the Indy 500 — with HPD’s primary brand.

He tested a Dallara-Honda for MSR last October at Sebring International Raceway, and while he plans to focus solely on IMSA this season, he remains very intrigued by IndyCar.

And with Castroneves, 47, beginning a one-year deal with MSR’s IndyCar team, there could be an obvious opening in 2024.

“Obviously, it’s not in the cards this year,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports the day before the Rolex. “Yeah, I would love to give it a go. To be honest, I think that would be an amazing step for me in my career. I enjoy the sports car stuff so much. It’s been really good to me lately. I really enjoyed the style of racing.

“But I feel like IndyCar would be a step up for me and my career. It would be fantastic if I could get that opportunity. But yeah, I guess I have to keep pushing Mike or something to give me a shot. But obviously for now, the focus is here in the sports car stuff. It’s not really down to me at the end of the day. And I’ve got to do my job and then the people who pay the bills and make the decisions obviously have to decide if that’s something worth pursuing.

“But yeah, I’d love to give it a go, and I definitely would be up for it.”

Tom Blomqvist after winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole on the final qualifying lap (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).

A transition from IMSA to IndyCar naturally would be easier than switching teams, but it also would be comfortable because Blomqvist already seems such a good fit at MSR.

It might have seemed an unusual pairing given his European-heavy background, but Blomqvist likes the Midwestern culture that’s been built at MSR. Based just outside Columbus, Ohio, the team’s shop has “no egos, and that just enables each and every one of to reach our potential.

“Obviously, with Honda, we obviously have some great resources, but we’re up against Porsche, BMW and some big heavy hitters in the motorsports world,” he said. “I wouldn’t say we’ve got a huge team compared to them, but we’ve obviously got a very capable team, and I think that’s what has been so impressive and really, really nice to see about the work that’s been done. No stone has been left unturned.”


Blomqvist still is living in Europe and planning to commute for the nine-race GTP schedule (which has a nearly two-month break after the Rolex 24 until the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring). But though he’s “got good friends in America, so I do have places to stay,” he seems open to being based more permanently near MSR in America.

“Let’s see what the future brings, and if that means me spending more time over here,” he said. “It’s a fantastic team. It’s a different environment to what I’m used to. It’s obviously now a hugely successful team, but it is a small team. It does feel like a very small family-operated team, which it is.

“I think Mike’s really just built this thing. It hasn’t happened overnight. Mike’s a great guy and put a lot of trust and faith in me, and I played a relatively good part in some of the success last year. I was able to reward him and give him my all every time I’m on track, and he respects that. But we are still a small team. In the grand scheme of things, we still are a really, really small team.”

Blomqvist said the BMW factory program would have two or three times the staffing of MSR – just on one of its two GTP cars.

“But it’s not the number of people that makes a difference, it’s the quality of people, and obviously Mike and HPD are a fantastic operation to go racing,” Blomqvist said. “We’re racers at heart.

“I’ve been part of some big outfits, and the European way of working is very, very different to how people go about racing in America. I’d say it’s more seat of your pants. A lot of emotion and kind of rides on that competitive spirt, competitive nature and on their personalities. It’s a lot more pure. It feels very pure. You want to win, so we go out and don’t cut corners on trying to win.”

Though it’s aligned with Liberty Media and has big-budget backing and support from Honda Performance Development, MSR also is much less corporate than most GTP teams.

A longtime and respected team owner who has built a sponsor portfolio, Shank also describes his maniacal dedication to success as “messed up,” and he’s known for dropping vulgarities into postrace interview with his blunt and self-deprecating sense of humor.

Meyer Shank Racing co-owner Mike Shank congratulates Tom Blomqvist on the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole position (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).

With a more laid-back but sometimes just as biting demeanor, Blomqvist has become the team’s unquestioned leader behind the wheel

“I definitely feel a lot more immersed,” he said. “Within the team, I was a bit more of an unknown quantity the start of last year. Obviously after last season, the team trusts me a lot. And that gives me a lot of pleasure, pride and confidence. In this sport, confidence is a huge aspect of drivers’ psychology in a way. We’re in extremely high-pressure moments where my job is to perform under the pressure of these organizations and the brand as well.

“It’s just a good, healthy team to be a part of. It’s a high-pressure environment, but the team obviously have put a lot of faith in me, and I’ve been able to deliver for them on occasions.”

Rolex 24 starting lineup
Tom Blomqvist celebrates after winning the pole in the No. 60 Acura ARX-06 (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).