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Race report
IMSA Virginia

IMSA VIR: Corvette Racing claims victory over title rival

The Corvette Racing duo of Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia claimed victory in Sunday's IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship event at Virginia International Raceway (VIR).

#3 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD: Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor

The 160-minute race got underway with Jack Hawksworth leading the field from pole position, driving the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.

Madison Snow, who qualified fourth overall in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3, led the non-GTD runners.

Early in the race, the first full-course caution came as a result of a massive impact for David Brule in the No. 92 Kelly-Moss with Riley Porsche 911 GT3.R. He slid off the track, slamming the barriers and ending his day.

There was a lengthy delay to repair the tire pack. When the race finally got back underway, Hawksworth continued to lead over Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R and Daniel Juncadella in the No. 79 Mercedes WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo.

Juncadella had a bit of a sketchy moment where he dropped a wheel just in front of Snow, but he managed to escape the off-track excursion unscathed. 

A difficult day for the No. 78 Forte Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo2 got worse when Misha Goikhberg went off track, struggling with the brakes. Soon after, he buried the car nose-first into the tire barrier, forcing the second full-course caution of the race. 

On the restart, Bryan Sellers in the Paul Miller Racing BMW was in control of the field, but the Pro leaders would not sit idly behind him.

Ben Barnicoat in the No. 14 Lexus immediately went on the attack, passing Sellers and bringing the No. 3 Corvette of Taylor with him.

#14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat

#14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3: Jack Hawksworth, Ben Barnicoat

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Taylor then made a lunge on Barnicoat for the race lead, but couldn’t quite get it done.

The No. 79 Mercedes of Jules Gounon was forced to pit after contact with the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3.R resulted in a tire rub.

The pivotal moment came when Taylor jumped Barnicoat during the final pit cycle and took the race lead. The Lexus stalled briefly before leaving the pit box, which proved costly.

Barnicoat ended up nearly four seconds adrift of the Corvette driver.

The No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 Evo was in position to score a class podium, but a late penalty put them out of contention. 

Barnicoat struggled to erase the gap to Taylor, crossing the finish line two seconds adrift as Taylor claimed the checkered flag for Corvette Racing. It was a big victory for Taylor and Garcia as they look to claw points away from the Hawksworth/Barnicoat duo.

The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche finished third overall.

“It was amazing,” said Taylor post-race. "That’s all down to Corvette Racing calling that strategy and getting us that track position. When they told me the fuel number, I was definitely worried. But the car was so good even in fuel save mode. It actually helped me save the tires.”

It was recently announced that Taylor would leave Corvette at the end of the year, planning to rejoin his father's team.

#1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3: Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow

#1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3: Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Looking behind the GTD Pro teams, Snow and Sellers collected Paul Miller Racing’s fifth win of the year, further solidifying their place atop the points standings.

There were spirited battles throughout the pack with the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo of Philip Ellis making an impressive pass on the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 of Bill Auberlen for third in class.

“The BMW was obviously fantastic today and Madison [Snow] did a great job. I think one of the things that fits it the most is the high speed nature of the track. Here at VIR where it’s wide and sprawling, it really stretches its legs. We’re super happy to be a part of it."

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