Ford's return ups the ante.
Chevrolet Racing driver Tommy Milner admits that the Corvette squad at Le Mans is under “extra pressure” this year due to the presence of Ford’s new GT contender.
Four of the Blue Oval’s cars will take on Chevy’s pair of Corvette C7.Rs, and IMSA regular Milner says this weekend’s upcoming Test Day is hugely important to set the tone for the race weekend in June.
“This year especially the Test Day is more important than it has been in years past,” said Milner, who shares the #64 with Oliver Gavin and Jordan Taylor.
“We have a new rules package for GTE Pro. It’s the biggest change in our Corvette since we went from C6 to C7 a few years ago.
“Now we go there with a car that will have quite a bit more downforce potentially. Plus you had on the extra pressure from Ford, Aston Martin has a renewed interest and programme… there’s just lots of ‘new’ everywhere.
“For us, we have something new, but it’s not quite as new, which I think will help us.”
"One of the toughest years ever"
Ricky Taylor, who will pilot the #63 sister car with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, also spoke of the increased demand in 2016.
“GTE Pro is always super-competitive at Le Mans,” he said. “This year with four Fords going, just by numbers it will be one of the toughest years ever.
“The team has a solid plan about what we want to do and changes to make. They’ve done this so many times that while it’s not exactly routine but they can handle themselves well and get a lot of good work done.”
Team chief Doug Fehan added: “In our 17 years of coming to Le Mans, I’m confident that this will be toughest test we will face at the 24 Hours.
“The Test Day is more critical now than it ever has been with the number of new cars and new manufacturers.
“For us, we have spent many hours testing and performing simulations in order to arrive at a package that will give us the best opportunity to win at Le Mans for the ninth time.”