Corvette achieved “impossible” fuel mileage for WEC Monza win

Corvette Racing’s Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner hit an “impossible” fuel number at Monza to avoid the late pitstop forced on Ferrari and score their maiden World Endurance Championship win.

#64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy

Tandy’s C8.R was sitting second, just four seconds behind the #52 Ferrari 488 of Antonio Fuoco/Miguel Molina, with 40 minutes to go when he backed off to try and reach the checkered flag.

But with two laps to go, Fuoco pitted from the lead for a splash of fuel, allowing Corvette to score its first WEC triumph since conquering the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours by 19.4s.

A disbelieving Milner, who reckoned the Ferraris had been “a lap better than us on fuel”, believed the fuel number Tandy had been tasked with meeting was “impossible” and that the team would not be able to manage any better than second. 

“The team gave Nick a fuel number that seemed impossible to me, but he was just barely making it,” said Milner.

“At some point, I guess they thought they couldn't go and we were sitting here thinking they had it in the bag. Obviously that wasn't the case!

“We could see early on in the race that a podium was possible. But based on the pace of the Ferraris and them going a lap longer than us on at least one occasion while we were trying to save fuel… it looked like during the last run that second place was really going to be it.”

Tandy, who qualified the Corvette second at Monza, said: “With two laps to go, I saw a red car coming in and didn't know which one. I asked if it was the #52 and the team said it was.

“Like Tommy said, we basically gave up with about 30 minutes to go because we had to hit a stupid number to make it. But we did!

Podium: #64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy

Podium: #64 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Tommy Milner, Nick Tandy

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

“We had no idea really what cars could make it. I think there were four of the five cars that pitted under a safety car with basically three hours left, so it was going to be a stretch for all those cars to make it on two more stops. From then on it became a fuel mileage race.

“We fully expected the Ferrari to be able to go to the end. They had already done a stint under green to start the race and went a lap longer than what we could do, even when we were saving earlier. We knew we had to be super-aggressive with the fuel numbers.

“After the full-course yellow, the guys gave me a fuel number… I did laugh a bit when they said it at the start, but I knew that if we stopped then it was going to be game over. So we had to run at that pace.

“The good thing is that at the end, the track came to us and the tyres were definitely working really nicely toward the end of the race. The car had good pace and we could take a bit of margin down the straight and keep the speed in the corners to put the pressure on the Ferrari.

“I could see that they picked up the pace and that’s when I guess they said they couldn’t make it. We didn’t really drop any pace but they suddenly seemed to start pulling away from us.

“We just assumed they were safe and they could run the pace they wanted. As it turned out, they couldn’t.” 

The #64 Corvette has now scored a first, a second and a fourth across the four WEC rounds of season held so far.

But Tandy and Milner remain 30 points adrift with two rounds remaining after a costly DNF at Le Mans, where Tandy scored GTE Pro class pole and the car was in contention for victory until Alexander Sims was turfed into the wall on the Mulsanne Straight by an errant LMP2 car.

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