Cadillac V Racing News

News from Cadillac Headquarters Cadillac Racing Teams as well as other informational updates that pertain to the V-Series line of vehicles.

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  • 08/09/2019 7:45 AM | Anonymous


    Source: IMSA.com

    The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship visits 12 of the most iconic and most prestigious road courses and street circuits in North America each year for highly anticipated and well-attended events.

    In fact, five of the 12 events on the 2019 WeatherTech Championship schedule – led by the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts at No. 1 – recently were selected among the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice for North America’s Best Motorsports Races.

    At this evening’s annual “State of the Series” presentation at Road America, IMSA President Scott Atherton unveiled the 2020 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, as well as the NBC Sports networks that will carry each race next year.

    A key enhancement for the 2020 WeatherTech Championship television package is that the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and the final two events of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta will have NBC network television coverage. In addition, all races also will have live, flag-to-flag coverage in the United States on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com

    The schedule includes the same dozen events and venues where the WeatherTech Championship has raced since 2018. All 12 events will be held within a week or less of their 2019 event date.

    “We’ve said it numerous times in the past, but one of the strongest attributes of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship continues to be the 12 events, facilities and promoter partners that make up our schedule each year,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “There isn’t much in the way of ‘breaking news’ as it relates to our 2020 calendar – it’s the same 12 races on largely the same weekends as in 2019 – but that speaks to the strength of those events,  the date equity we’ve earned over the past several years and the overall stability of IMSA.”

    The 2020 season will open with the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona on the famed 3.56-mile, Daytona International Speedway circuit, on the weekend of Jan. 23-26. Television coverage of the Rolex 24 will be carried on a combination of the NBC network, as well as NBCSN. In addition to kicking off the 12-race 2020 WeatherTech Championship season, the Rolex 24 also will launch the four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup season.

    All four WeatherTech Championship classes, Daytona Prototype international (DPi), LMP2, GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) will be eligible to compete at Daytona. However, the race will not count toward WeatherTech Championship points for the LMP2 class to encourage additional LMP2 teams that may not compete in the full WeatherTech Championship to participate in the Rolex 24.

    The same four classes will be back in action at the 68th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on the traditional, third full weekend in March for Round 2 of both the WeatherTech Championship and the Michelin Endurance Cup. The Sebring event weekend is March 18-21 with NBCSN and CNBC television coverage.

    The WeatherTech Championship DPi and GTLM classes then head west for the annual Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach event weekend on April 17-18 and will air on NBCSN. The Long Beach event will be one weekend later than it was in 2019.

    All four classes will reunite at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on the weekend of May 1-3 with television coverage on NBCSN. This event also kicks off the seven-race WeatherTech Sprint Cup season for the GTD class, which debuted in 2019.

    The DPi and GTD machines then head for the Motor City on the weekend of May 29-30 for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic as part of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. The race, which will be televised on NBCSN, will count toward WeatherTech Championship points for the DPi class, while it only will count toward Sprint Cup points for GTD, as was the case for the first time this year.

    Watkins Glen International retains its traditional midsummer spot on the calendar for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen event weekend on June 25-28 with NBCSN coverage. The race wraps up the first half of the WeatherTech Championship schedule while at the same time kicking off the second half of the Michelin Endurance Cup season.

    On the following weekend – July 3-5 – the DPi, GTLM and GTD machines make the annual trek north of the border to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on NBCSN. The LMP2 class – which participated at CTMP in 2019 – will take this weekend off in 2020.

    Next up will be the first of two GT-only races as the GTLM and GTD classes step into the spotlight at Lime Rock Park on July 17-18 with NBCSN coverage. All four WeatherTech Championship classes then will reunite two weeks later at Road America on the weekend of July 31-Aug. 2. Owing to NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the race will be televised on CNBC.

    VIRginia International Raceway hosts the second and final GT-only event on the season on the weekend of Aug. 21-23 with NBCSN coverage. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will feature all four classes on the weekend of Sept. 11-13 for the penultimate round of the WeatherTech Championship, as well as the WeatherTech Sprint Cup season finale. It will be televised on the NBC network.

    Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta once again will close out both the WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Endurance Cup season with 10 hours of racing on Oct. 7-10. A combination of NBC network and NBCSN coverage is planned.

    In addition to the race schedules, IMSA also confirmed that the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona will be held on the weekend of Jan. 3-5, 2020 at Daytona International Speedway. The test will be mandatory for all Rolex 24 participants. For the second consecutive year, there will be no IMSA-sanctioned testing other than the Roar Before the Rolex 24.

    The complete schedule follows below.


  • 08/01/2019 2:57 PM | Anonymous
    Cadillac Logo
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    CADILLAC GOES TO WORK ON THE TRACK
    The Cadillac Racing team continues to build upon their momentum with impressive performances on the track this summer. The Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi‑V.R, driven by Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani, braved the walls of the Belle Isle circuit in Detroit for an impressive second‑place finish at the 2019 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix in May.

    "It was a race full of action – like Detroit is," Nasr said. "The Cadillac was handling well and we were able to produce some nice overtakes...it was a good weekend for us and everyone at the Action Express!"

    Closing out the month of June, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi‑V.R rendered a fourth‑place finish at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen―the highest for the brand. Each race has been eventful, with many positives for the team to build momentum upon. Overall, it has been a good streak for Cadillac moving forward into the month of July, placing in the top five at the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. "Everything was on point today," said Derani. "I am so proud to be a part of this team and we fought our best which is what matters."
    NEXT AROUND THE TRACK
    You won't want to miss any of the action on the track. Check out the upcoming races to watch below.

    Road America
    (Elkhart Lake, WI — August 2–4)


    WeatherTech® Raceway Laguna Seca
    (Monterey, CA — Sept. 13–15)


    Motul Petit Le Mans
    (Braselton, GA — October 9–12)
    SEE FULL SCHEDULE
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    RACING PEDIGREE
    WITH A STORIED PAST
    From stock cars to advanced prototypes, Cadillac Racing continues to build upon a high-performance legacy that makes powerful statements both on and off the track. Ever since introducing the V‑Series 15 years ago, Cadillac has been lighting the way forward with a family of world‑class racing circuit winners.

    Having always been rooted in performance, the scope of what Cadillac could offer has evolved from the original V‑Series lineup into today's strategy, where design and performance distinctions are tailored for customers' preferences for traditional luxury or sport‑oriented looks.

    "V‑Series is a philosophy as much as the unique components comprising each variant," said Brandon Vivian, Cadillac Executive Chief Engineer. Click the link to learn how the V‑Series introduced an entirely new breed of performance‑minded customers to Cadillac showrooms.

    Meet The Team Group Lineup Image
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  • 06/02/2019 10:44 AM | Anonymous
    SOURCE: Sunday Group Management

     

    DETROIT Mich.  (1 June 2019) – Fighting near the front for the entire race, Whelen Engineering Racing ran out of time in Saturday’s 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, finishing a close second at the Belle Isle Circuit.

    Charging all the way to the finish in pursuit of a second Detroit victory in as many years, Felipe Nasr came up just 0.802-seconds short in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. 

    Nasr passed Ricky Taylor’s Acura to take second place with 22 minutes remaining. He closed up to the rear wing of winner Dane Cameron three times in the final 10 minutes, but was unable to make a pass on the tight street circuit.

    "It was a race full of action - like Detroit is!” Nasr said. “This street track produces very good racing. Pipo (Derani) did a fantastic job at the start to get us up to third. It came down to the yellow flag. It mixed up our driver change. When I was in the car, all I wanted to do was make up track position. The Cadillac was handling well and we were able to produce some nice overtakes. I thought I had a chance to get that final pass at the end but we were just short on time. It was a good weekend for us and everyone at Action Express.”

    Derani started third and was able to take second on the third lap of green-flag racing. He was running second when the team pitted for the driver change, with Nasr returning to the race in fourth position.

    "It was a fantastic day for our championship run,” Derani said. “We wanted to win here at Detroit but we came very close, so we are happy with the points it gained us. At the beginning of the race it was difficult because we wanted to save fuel but also wanted to work up to the front. Today wasn't in the cards for us to win, but we will come back with another victory soon."

    The team’s third podium finish of the season enabled Nasr and starting driver Pipo Derani to retain a five-point lead in the provisional IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi point standings.

    Whelen Engineering Racing enters the second half of the DPi campaign with an endurance racing classic, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International on June 30.

  • 05/05/2019 9:44 PM | Anonymous

    Reprint from Sunday Group Management

    Whelen Engineering Fights to Fourth at Mid-Ohio

     

    LEXINGTON, Ohio (5 May 2019) – Whelen Engineering Racing finished fourth in a hard-fought race in Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio. Denied in a late-race bid to take a podium finish, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani came away with a fourth-place finish for the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R.

    Unofficially, the Whelen Engineering team expanded its lead in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship point standings, and now leads by four points after four of the 10 race.

    “In the big picture, we are coming out of Mid-Ohio with good points and building on this strong package we have with this Whelen Cadillac,” Nasr said. “I’m pleased, and looking forward to returning to Detroit and hopefully getting back up on top there again.”

    The Whelen Engineering Cadillac ran in the top five throughout the race.

    “I felt overall it was a good day in the car,” Nasr said. “We started fourth and Pipo had a good start, getting up to third. But we didn’t have the pace of those guys up front. We did all we could-every stop from the team was perfect.”

    Nasr managed to run down and pass the third-place Mazda with six minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute event, but the move was disallowed due to a local caution flag.

    “I had that Mazda in my sights to get on the podium, but I got held up for several laps by a lapped car and by the time I caught up to fight for a podium, we had the issue with the pass in yellow zone,” Nasr said. “I had given the position back already, but we still had to serve the penalty. So that cost us a bit.”

    Derani started the race in fourth and managed to hold that position throughout his run, briefly running as high as second.

    “Unfortunately we didn't have the car to fight for the top step, but it is one of those days where you think about the championship,” Derani said. “So it was positive in that regard. We finished the race with some good points and we will take it from here. It was clean weekend for us, always thinking about the championship and we will go on to Detroit. Hopefully we can be as strong as the team was there last year!”

    The Whelen Engineering team returns to Detroit’s Belle Isle Circuit as defending winners of the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, which will be held on Saturday, June 1.

  • 05/05/2019 9:35 PM | Anonymous

    Reprint from Sunday Group Management

    Mustang Sampling Racing Eighth at Mid-Ohio

     

    LEXINGTON, Ohio (5 May 2019) – In a weekend highlighted by changing weather and track conditions, Mustang Sampling Racing emerged from nearly three hours of racing with an eighth-place finish in the Acura Sports Car Classic at Mid-Ohio.

    Coming off a victory at Long Beach in the most recent IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event, Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa fought in the top five for most of the race. A chance to take advantage of a possible yellow flag later in the event didn’t yield the hoped-for outcome with the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R. While similar moves have resulted in victory for the team in the past, the hope-for caution failed to materialize.

    “It was a crazy start, but overall that was the pace we had,” said Barbosa, who started the race in the fifth position. “I lost a little bit fighting with one of the Acuras initially. We were a fourth or fifth place car today.”

    Looking to make up the disadvantage on pace, the team pitted under green with one hour remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute race, as another car was stranded on track and appeared to need assistance from the IMSA emergency response team. But the stopped car found the fire and got moving again, as the pit exchange dropped Albuquerque from fifth to ninth position. The race remained under green until a late caution in the final 30 minutes – after all of the competitors had completed their pit work.

    “We had a tough call there (with the final pit stop timing),” Barbosa said. “It could have worked out really well for us, but as the situation played out, it cost us a lot of places and in the end, we were too far to make it up so we will just be thinking about the next one.”

    While the strategic call didn’t pan out, the team fought all the way to the finish.  

    “We were quite good, fighting a little bit with the Penskes when we were in traffic,” Albuquerque said. “We were P5 and closing a little bit on our teammate for P4.  But then we saw an opportunity when there was a car stopped in a very dangerous place and there could be a yellow. We went for a stop but it went from an opportunity for a win to something that cost us a lot.

    Having demonstrated well-executed strategy changes mid-race in the past, the team was hoping that it would deliver another new trophy on Sunday, but it didn’t play to that advantage. 

    “I pitted very late and we didn't have a perfect stop and we lost a lap from the leaders,” Albuquerque said. “ I think that’s the thing about IMSA—even though we didn’t have the pace to win, we still had an opportunity to win this race. We had a shot with the strategy. If it had gone yellow, we could have won.  So it is a frustrating result, but just shows how anything can happen here. We will go on to the next one!”

    The “next one” will be Detroit’s Belle Isle Circuit, with the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic on Saturday, June 1.

  • 05/05/2019 8:56 PM | Anonymous

    Reprint from Wayne Taylor Racing


    The aptly named Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington is situated midway between the sprawling metropolises of Columbus and Cleveland – about an hour’s drive in each direction. The duo of Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande hit the scenic 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course with their No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R for Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race and brought home, coincidentally enough, a midpack finish of sixth.

    It’s the kind of finish this championship-caliber team typically would not write home about, but the shining light on an otherwise frustrating weekend was a positive move from fourth to third in the driver and team standings on a racetrack that has been its Achilles heel since it began racing there in 2004.
    Wet conditions during both practices Friday and leading up to qualifying Saturday didn’t do the team any favors, leaving it with precious few laps to try and finally solve the Mid-Ohio layout with a race-winning setup.

    Van der Zande qualified seventh and promptly dropped a position on a wild opening race lap of today’s two-hour, 40-minute race, settling into eighth and keeping the car there before handing it over to Taylor on lap 30 at the 40-minute mark.

    Taylor resumed in eighth and also maintained that relative position through the second fuel-and-tire stop at the one-hour, 28-minute mark. He picked up a pair of positions when the No. 5 Action Express Cadillac DPi-V.R of Felipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa and the No. 54 Nissan DPi of Colin Braun and Jonathan Bennett decided to go off strategy from the leaders.

    Taylor pitted a final time from sixth at the two-hour, two-minute mark and resumed in the same position. He chased his older brother and former co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Team Penske Acura DPi for fifth over the final 38 minutes. He crossed the finish line .961 of a second behind his brother, who was the first car one lap down to the leaders.

    “I think, all things considered, we knew this was probably going to be our toughest race of the year, so leaving here with sixth place isn’t the end of the world,” Taylor said. “We made up points on the 5 car, we only lost a couple to the 31 (Action Express Cadillac DPi-V.R) and the 7, who we’re close to in the championship. Damage control was kind of the name of the game today, judging by our pace. But I think, leaving with sixth, we can be somewhat happy and go to Detroit, where we should be pretty strong.”

    The sixth-place finish enabled to No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R to leapfrog the No. 5 Action Express Cadillac from fourth to third in the standings, seven points behind the leading No. 31 Action Express Cadillac, which finished fourth today and was the final car on the lead lap.

    “It was a very tough weekend,” van der Zande said. “I don’t think we had the right speed to attack, so it was damage control, like we knew up front. I think we drained the tires in qualifying because of the high pressures and I suffered with that during my stint quite a lot. After that, we got grip out of the tires a little better and better every time, and that’s the end result. A bit of luck here and there, but altogether we have some work to do on this track and I think we should look ahead from now on as we go to Detroit, which is a track that, historically, has been good for this team.”

    Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya scored the victory today in their No. 6 Team Penske Acura DPi, leading a pair of Mazda DPi entries across the finish line by 2.022 seconds.

    “It was a disappointing race,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “We didn’t seem to have a car that was fast enough. Clearly, the Mazdas and the Acuras were in a different category to the Cadillacs. Luckily, the championship hasn’t changed that dramatically. We were fourth coming in, we’re third going out. So, we’ve just got to figure out why we were so slow.”

    Round five of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix at the Raceway on Belle Isle Park circuit Saturday, June 1. Live television coverage of the one-hour, 40-minute sprint race will be provided by NBCSN beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

  • 04/14/2019 9:28 AM | Anonymous

    Source: Partial Reprint from Sunday Group Management,

    LONG BEACH, Calif. (13 April 2019) – History repeated itself on Saturday for Mustang Sampling Racing on the streets of Long Beach, with Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque combining great pit strategy and strong race pace to score their second consecutive victory in the BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix co-driving the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R.

    A year ago, Albuquerque took the lead on his final stop and led the final 31 laps for the lone victory of the season for the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing team. Saturday, the team’s final stop put Albuquerque in position to lead the final 29 laps on the challenging 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary circuit in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event.

    A punctured right-front tire brought Albuquerque into the pits on lap 39 – pitting ahead of the other competitors. The team changed only that one Michelin tire as Albuquerque charged back on track on his out lap to seal his spot out in front on lap 45. 

    Albuquerque faced several challenges down the stretch, but magnificent driving through GTLM traffic preserved his lead on the way to a 0.740-second margin of victory.

    “It was very, very hard, because I starting to feel the tires dropping down,” Albuquerque said. “I started backing off a little to save the tires, but I made a mistake here and there so I said, ‘Forget it; I’m just going to push.’ My rear was all over the place, but it was good enough. It was an amazing strategy. We had a hard start with Joao, but he gave me a clean car and we came back.

    “The way that we started, I was just thinking that we needed to collect points,” Albuquerque added. “When I got in, the car was just great and the strategy was great as well. Over the last 15 laps the rear was gone and that's why the Penske cars started closing in. I knew that they wanted the win badly and they were pushing hard.  Ricky Taylor was waiting for me to make a mistake, he had caught me very quickly from over 6 seconds back.  I knew we didn’t have the speed the Acura’s or Mazda, but at a narrow track like Long Beach catching is one thing, overtaking is another."

    Barbosa started fourth but got caught up in traffic at the Fountain Turn on the opening lap, dropping back to eighth while avoiding contact. He managed to work his way back to sixth before his stop on the second of two cautions in the 100-minute event.

    “We had a real rough start to the race, and I was just trying to avoid chaos to give Filipe a good car for the end,” Barbosa said. “I started saving fuel from the beginning. We had great pit stops and great strategy. We stopped at the right time when the tire went down, and the team knew what to do. We knew it would take too long to take four tires, so we made up a ton of positions by only changing one. We knew we could do it. It’s all about the team—unbelievable job today. When we thought everything was totally lost, they turned it around. We brought the car back and they gave us track position at the right time, and we just finished the job for another win.

    “The Mustang Sampling Cadillac was awesome today,” Barbosa added. “We had great pace all the way up to the end with our Michelin tires, and we kept the Penskes behind us.”

    After struggling with an electrical problem in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mustang Sampling team took third in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Saturday’s victory boosted the two-time IMSA WeatherTech Champions to fourth in the unofficial points standings. 

    The Mustang Sampling Racing team next travels to Mid-Ohio for the Acura Sports Car Challenge on May 5.
  • 03/17/2019 6:00 AM | Anonymous

    Reprint Sunday Group Management

     SEBRING, FL (16 March 2019) – After coming very close several times, Whelen Engineering finally broke through in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday.

    With a big exclamation point.

    Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran battled tooth and nail to dominate in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, leading 249 of the 348 laps in the 67th running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event.

    They survived a number of challenges, including rain and poor visibility at the start; extended stretches of green-flag racing; and an eight-minute sprint to the finish following the fifth caution period.

    “Unbelievable,” said Curran. “We finished second here a couple of times and never got to the top step of the podium. My teammates were phenomenal. It feels so amazing to win this race after 15 years of trying. The Whelen Cadillac is amazingly good here. It was really good here last year, and it was just as good or better this year, maybe a little better.

    “The 12 Hours of Sebring is a huge deal for any sports car driver, and I’ve been trying to win this race for a long time. Especially coming off Daytona, where we almost got it, to win this one is a big deal. I’ve driven for Sonny Whelen for 10-plus years, winning two championships and a lot of big races. To get this one means a lot. It’s special to get Whelen Engineering that exposure, leading so many laps, so this is for him.”

    Derani won the race in 2016 as a rookie and in 2018, and was pleased to once again claim the victory. He took Whelen Engineering with him to the top step Saturday night. The only other driver to win Sebring three times in four years was American Formula One champion Phil Hill, who did so in 1958, 1959 and 1961.

    “Unbelievable job!” Derani said. “It was tricky at the beginning of the race, with the rain, but I managed to move my way from fifth into first and open a gap. But today was just one of those days, where everything clicked and nothing went wrong. Big thanks to my team. The Whelen Engineering Cadillac is an amazing car and I’m really happy to have won three times in four years. I wouldn’t be able to do that without the job the Whelen Engineering Racing guys have done behind the scenes, and Felipe at the end and Eric keeping the car in front. What a day!”

    Whelen Engineering took second in 2016 and 2018, and also was third in 2017 prior to finally achieving the top step.

    “Today was a super challenging day and I am so proud of the job by the entire Action Express team,” Nasr said. “They gave us an amazing car to drive today, in all the different conditions from wet to dry to drizzling, and Tim Keene was superb with the calls. Pipo had an amazing start in the rain, that was a really tricky part of the race and he nailed it. He was able to put the car into the lead and just walk away with it, and Eric stabilized the lead and kept the car going forward. In the end, the job for me was to get to the finish line. Those last 20 minutes were super intense, trying to hold off the 10 car, they were pretty fast. I’m so happy we got the victory and nailed every hour for the endurance championship as well. A perfect day of racing!”

    After the race began under caution due to rain, Derani needed only six green-flag laps to take the lead. He led up until the two-hour mark, when he was the first driver to pit to switch from rain to slick tires on the damp track.

    “To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure (about going to slicks),” Derani said. “The track was wet, but at the same time, I could feel the tires were starting to go away. It was a really great job by the team to put me on slicks. I couldn’t give them an answer, but they made the right call there. It was really difficult early with a lot of water and spray.”

    The fourth caution of the event during the 10th hour erased a 48-second lead for Derani, allowing Jordan Taylor in the Rolex 24 At Daytona-winning Cadillac to close in. Nasr took over and pulled away on the restart, only to see Taylor get another chance with a final caution. Nasr again prevailed in an eight-minute sprint, winning by 1.030 seconds in the closest non-managed finish in event history.

    Another turning point came shortly before the eight-hour mark. Nasr passed the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac not only to lead the race, but to capture the five-point Michelin Endurance Cup bonus. The Whelen Engineering team won all three segments. Entering the race with a five-point deficit, the No. 31 team is now tied with the No. 10 in a bid to give Action Express Racing its sixth consecutive victory in the unique competition – and second straight for Whelen Engineering.

    “The team did such a great job today,” said sponsor Sonny Whelen. “It was an amazing day – rain, then sun, then running into darkness. Amazing!”

    “This was a great race, and Sebring is just such a big event that this feels great,” said team owner Bob Johnson. “And to have both team cars on the podium is even better.”

    Next up for Whelen Engineering Racing will be the Bubba Burger Grand Prix of Long Beach, set for April 13.
  • 01/28/2019 9:45 AM | Anonymous

    Reprint from WayneTaylorRacing.com Post Race Report


    There have been plenty of wild finishes in the 57 editions of the iconic Rolex 24 At Daytona. But arguably none have been wetter than Sunday’s rain-shortened conclusion of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener, in which the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team, with its all-star driver lineup of Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande, Kamui Kobayashi and Fernando Alonso, weathered treacherous conditions to score its second victory in the last three events at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. 

    One of those wild Rolex 24 finishes came just two years ago, when Taylor’s older brother and then co-driver Ricky Taylor won a furious battle in the closing minutes to earn the Taylor brothers their first career Rolex 24 victory alongside third and fourth drivers Max “The Ax” Angelelli and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. 

    This year, the younger Taylor brother was joined by 2018 full-time co-driver van der Zande alongside former Formula One and current World Endurance Championship regular Kobayashi, and two-time Formula One world champion Alonso. And the fearsome foursome turned a highly anticipated Rolex 24 victory into reality with their driving consistency and ability to stay out of trouble through all hours of the day and night, in conditions that ranged from fast and dry to chilly and extremely wet. 

    Together, they led a race-high 249 of 593 laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile superspeedway road circuit from the sixth qualifying position earned Thursday by Taylor, who equaled the two career Rolex 24 victories earned by his three-time sportscar-racing-champion father and team owner Wayne Taylor, and helped his teammates each earn his first career Rolex 24 win. Alonso, in fact, became just the third Formula One world champion to win a Rolex 24, joining Phil Hill and Mario Andretti. The Spaniard also scored a first career victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June. 

    “I’m disappointed because, now, Jordan’s won as many Rolex 24s as I have, and I never wanted that day to happen (joking),” Wayne Taylor said. “But I can’t even put into words how great this win is for us. I want to thank Rick Taylor, Michael Mathe, everyone at Konica Minolta, Mark Reuss at GM, Steve Carlisle at Cadillac, all our commercial partners for believing in us and making all of this possible. Everything has to come together to win one of these, on and off the track. And to do it with this particular group of guys, it’s going to be a racing memory I will never forget.” 

    After struggling to crack the top-five all through practice and qualifying in lead-up to Saturday and Sunday’s twice-around-the-clock endurance marathon, it took little time for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R to find its way to the lead. Taylor’s ultra conservative opening stint yielded just one lap led during a round of green-flag pit stops. But once Alonso got behind the wheel for his first race stint just shy of the two-hour mark, the sleek, black racecar found itself in and out of the lead for the remainder of the event. Alonso promptly raced his way into the lead, and logged 44 laps led before turning the car over to Kobayashi just past the four-hour, 30-minute mark. 

    Like Alonso, his Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate Kobayashi executed a strong and steady stint keeping the Konica Minolta Cadillac in the lead for 72 of his 87 laps on track before handing the car over to van der Zande at the seven-hour, 27-minute mark. 

    The 32-year-old Dutchman, who most recently brought home a thrilling win for the team on the last turn of the last lap of last year’s season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, played it relatively conservatively during his opening stint and led 18 laps before handing the car back to Taylor in the wee hours of Sunday morning. The racecar remained strong through Taylor’s second stint, in which he led 45 laps before turning things over to Alonso just short of the 15th hour of the race. 

    But, shortly after Alonso took over, expected rain showers finally arrived, and varying degrees of precipitation would remain through the rest of the day. He led 49 laps in all during the mostly wet stint, which included an almost two-hour red-flag period for extreme wet conditions through the track at the 16-hour, 43-minute mark. 

    Alonso continued for a short time after the race resumed at the 18-hour, 31-minute mark, leading several more laps before handing the car back to Taylor just short of the 19-hour mark. Taylor’s final stint of the weekend netted 17 of 43 laps led through very wet conditions. It featured a powerful pass of the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Pipo Derani at the 19-hour, 20-minute mark, then a remarkable maneuver to avoid a spinning GT-class car ahead of him under heavy braking into turn one. 

    Then came the final stint for Alonso, who resumed in third place and carefully bided his time before positioning himself to take advantage when Derani’s teammate Felipe Nasr ventured off course in turn one and giving the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R the lead for good at the 21-hour, 54-minute mark. 

    The race was red-flagged three laps later as Alonso and most of the rest of the field reported near zero visibility under heavy rains just short of the 22-hour mark. 

    Officials waited for a chance to restart the race until the 23-hour, 49-minute mark before waving the checkered flag, and celebration ensued in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R camp. 

    “I think it was an interesting race with the conditions changing, very tough, but I think, like everyone else says, everyone did their job,” said Taylor, who scored his 21st career victory. “All four drivers led in their own right and drove to the lead, different parts of the race, and it was all about survival. You saw a lot of guys taking a lot of risk early in the race, but we waited with the game plan of running our own race and not getting caught up in anyone else’s battles. I think it was the right game plan. We stayed out of trouble, no car damage, no one went off the track. That’s the way you win these 24 hour races, and we kind of came into the grid thinking almost every single car can win the race, and you see guys making little mistakes here and there, and this team has now done six out of seven years finishing on the podium without issues. I think it’s a huge testament to Wayne Taylor Racing.” 

    “I’m super happy,” said van der Zande, who scored his 12th career victory. “Fantastic. I think I said before the weekend, I think to the team, Wayne and Max (Angelelli, team owner), fantastic that they put such little pieces together. It’s a big puzzle and it comes together in this victory here right now. Thanks a lot to my teammates, the whole team, and I’m very happy to bring home a (Rolex) watch and a lot of victory feelings. What more to say?” 

    “I’m so happy to be here, and obviously I think. like the 24 hour race, it’s never easy even when you have a good car or whatever because you have so many issues, problems,” Kobayashi said. “I think today we had really extremely difficult conditions. I think all the team guys, the drivers, did a great job. I think the team did a really, really good job, and obviously the car was really good.” 

    “I’m very, very proud of the job that we achieved today, but it was not a one day job, it was a one month job,” Alonso said. “For me, in December we started preparing for the race and receiving all the documents, how the Cadillac works and how Wayne Taylor Racing works, some procedures that maybe are different compared with other teams. We tried to have a quick integration, Kamui and myself, trying to learn as much as we could from the team in the Roar (Before the 24 test days) and then, on the race itself, it was very, very difficult. Conditions were changing all the time.” 

    Round two of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the 67th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 16, at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway, where newly announced third driver Matthieu Vaxiviere of France will join Taylor and van der Zande behind the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Live television coverage begins on CNBC at 10:30 a.m. EST and concludes on NBCSN 3:30 to 11 p.m. 

  • 01/28/2019 9:37 AM | Anonymous
    Partial reprint from Sunday Group Management,

     

    Daytona Beach, Fla. (27 January 2019) – Whelen Engineering Racing took its second consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona runner-up finish on Sunday, with Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani and Eric Curran fighting at the front with the red and white No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R but was unable to clinch the win after the race was called early. 

    Treacherous conditions led to the race going to caution with just over two hours remaining, leading to a second red flag that eventually ended the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener after 23 hours, 50 minutes.

    Unfortunately for the team, the caution came only four minutes after Nasr had slid through a pool of standing water and lost the lead in Turn 1, handing the lead - and victory - to the No. 10 Cadillac entry.  Nasr quickly recovered and continued, but ran out of time in a bid to challenge the race-winning Cadillac as IMSA once again moved the race to a caution period before calling a red flag and then early checkers. 

    “This race was totally insane, one of the most challenging races I’ve done here,” Curran said. “The weather was key. Early on, it was dry, there was some really good racing, I had a lot of fun in the car both during the day and at night. There were a lot of good battles with some good people, good teams, and we ran in the top three most of the race. 

    But I was in the car at 5 a.m. and it was pitch black out, raining like crazy and the windshield was fogging up,” Curran explained. “We couldn’t get the wiper working right and it was really miserable, really hard to drive. It was really challenging from that point on. But we kept charging forward from fourth place to where we ended up, with Felipe battling with Alonso. I felt we had a strong Whelen Cadillac, enough to win the race, but we’ll take second place – though it is a bit disappointing after finishing second last year! You can’t complain about second at Daytona, but you want to be on the top step of the podium. We were so close.”

    All three drivers had turns in the lead, with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac out front 10 times for 97 laps.

    “I thought we had a good car in both dry and wet conditions, and it was looking good until the rain really poured down,” said Nasr, who battled two-time World Champion Alonso throughout the final hour of race. “There was nothing I could do: I was the first car coming through and I just aquaplaned all the way and lost the lead. But I wanted to go back racing. We had a good car, we did a good job all race, and everything we did went to plan. I think we had a winning car in our hands and I wanted to get the job done if I could. It was amazing, the hard work the team did in every single pit stop to handle all the tire changes, the work the mechanics did, and getting the fastest lap of the race – everything was perfect. Eric and Pipo did great, the team made great calls keeping us up front the whole time, it was great. But I wanted to finish a better place than second.”

    Derani made his first start for the team, with the 2016 Rolex 24 winner leading twice for 26 circuits.

    “It was a hell of a race,” Derani said. “We had such a difficult day, with so much rain. It was sad not to be fighting for the win at the end, but we’re happy as well to be able to finish in such a difficult race. Anything could have happened. Thank you to the team for an amazing job, it was a first race for me with Whelen Engineering and I’m really happy for what we did. We’re second in the championship and we’re going to keep fighting.”

    Strong Start to Michelin Endurance Cup title Defense

    The team made the call to keep Nasr out on track while the other contenders pitted prior to the six-hour mark. That gave the team five points towards the Michelin Endurance Cup, which Action Express Racing is seeking to win for the sixth consecutive year - including the 2018 cup title for Whelen Engineering. The four bonus points at the finish gave the team 13 points, a good start heading into the endurance classics at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta.

    “The cards just didn’t fall our way today, but we’ll leave here with our heads held high because I think they knew we were here,” said Nelson after the race. “I am very proud of everybody at Action Express. It seemed like we were getting curve balls every time we turned around. The No. 31 car set the fastest lap of the race so that shows they had speed, and the drivers did a heck of a job, to be leading late in the race and many times in the middle of the race. The cards just didn’t fall our way today, but we’ll leave here with our heads held high because I think they knew we were here.”

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