Source: Wayne Taylor Racing
2018 Mid Ohio Post Race Report
Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Finishes Right Where it Started In Caution-Free WeatherTech Series IMSA Sports Car Challenge
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R duo of Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande finished right where it started in Sunday’s IMSA Sports Car Challenge, bringing home a solid fifth-place finish in the WeatherTech Championship series’ return to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.
It was the first time since 2013 series competitors have raced on the scenic, 2.238-mile, 13-turn road course, where passing is notoriously difficult and races are instead won or lost by strategy and execution on pit road.
Thus, the caution-free 125 laps run in today’s two-hour, 40-minute race did not afford the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R much of an opportunity to make major moves to the front of the pack from its fifth spot on the starting grid.
Through each of the three rounds of green-flag pit stops the team executed today, Taylor and van der Zande resumed in fifth place. Taylor crossed the finish line 57 seconds behind his older brother and former co-driver Ricky Taylor, who left after last year’s championship-winning season to join the new, two-car Team Penske Prototype-class effort and scored the victory today with teammate Helio Castroneves.
Van der Zande, the Dutch driving veteran who stepped in as Jordan Taylor’s full-time co-driver this season, qualified fifth Saturday behind a pair of Acuras and a pair of Mazdas. He drove a solid opening two stints but could not make any headway. He momentarily picked up a position when the No. 55 Mazda DPi of Jonathan Bomarito and Spencer Pigot retired on lap 74, but the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Joao Barbosa and Felipe Albuquerque came out just ahead during the second round of green-flag stops, having pitted five laps before the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R during that cycle.
“We were racing the 5 car today,” van der Zande said. “Every other car in front us was at a different level of speed. I drove very hard. I drove very fast. I thought my stint was flawless, basically. Somehow, the 5 beat us, which we have to find out why. At the same time, Jordan did a great job, the team did a great job. I love this track. Apart from the fact you can’t overtake cars in your own class, I really enjoyed the track itself. It’s an intense track. To get the lap time you want, you really have to nail it, which makes it quite special. I was really happy to be racing here this weekend.”
Taylor kept pace but also could not make any progress toward the leaders during his flawless driving stints to the finish.
“I think we were kind of in our own race today,” he said. “We couldn’t really race with the lead pack, which was the top four cars. So basically we were racing for fifth and sixth for most of the race and, once someone else fell out, we were battling for fourth and fifth. We thought we had the right strategy. I’m not sure what went wrong, how we got jumped, but I still think it was the right strategy. But considering what we have, I think we can be happy with a fifth-place finish. Looking at the championship, it’s good to be consistent, especially when you have so many good cars in the field, now. You can’t risk a bad finish. So, considering how we didn’t have the fastest car, I think coming away with good points is pretty good.”
The fifth-place finish enabled the team to pick up one spot from fourth to third in the Prototype-class standings, five points behind the second-place No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr, and 15 points behind the front-running No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Ricky Taylor’s victory today was the 20th of his career and first with a team other than his father’s. It was also the first for the new Team Penske camp, which includes Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron in the car that finished second here today.
“As I said at the beginning of the year, I have two chances of winning, now,” said team owner Wayne Taylor. “Obviously, I want my team to win for Konica Minolta and Cadillac with Jordan and Renger. But this weekend, we really didn’t have a chance against the Acuras. I’m just really proud of Ricky and Helio on their win. I really wanted Ricky to be the first one to win for them. That makes Ricky the 50th driver to win a race for Roger Penske. I’ve always loved Mid-Ohio. The fans really love sportscar racing here, and it’s still similar to what it was like when I was driving here in 1990 and 1991. And I really like coming here. I love this place.”
Round five on the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar is the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the Streets of Belle Isle temporary circuit Saturday, June 2, with live FS2 television beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Taylor and van der Zande will be vying for the team’s fifth victory in its last six visits to the annual IndyCar Series-headlined event.