Taylor Brothers win fourth straight IMSA race for Cadillac at COTA
They earned their fourth consecutive victory in Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown, marking the longest win streak in WeatherTech Championship history and the longest in major U.S. sports car racing competition since Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr won eight straight in the 2013 American Le Mans Series.
It was also the 11th career WeatherTech Championship victory for the Taylor brothers, making them the winningest drivers in series history. And, just for good measure, it was their second consecutive victory at Circuit of The Americas, as they also won in Austinlast September.
Saturday’s win capped a dominant weekend for the No. 10 team. They led two of three pre-qualifying practice sessions, including both of Thursday’s sessions. Ricky Taylor then obliterated the previous track record by three seconds in Friday’s qualifying session, and outqualified his next closest competitor, Johannes van Overbeek in the No. 22 Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan DPi, by more than a second-and-a-half.
And from the drop of the green flag in the two-hour, 40-minute Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown, the No. 10 machine was in control. As the qualifying driver, Ricky Taylor started the race and as soon as the race got underway in earnest following an opening-lap incident among several top GT Le Mans (GTLM) class competitors, he quickly pulled out to a healthy advantage.
“It was really nice today,” said Ricky Taylor. “It was one of the best race cars I’ve ever had. The team has just done an amazing preparation for this car. We’re just getting to know it more and more. Every race weekend we’re learning. This weekend, it shows how much we’ve developed through the year. We unloaded off the truck really strong, then qualified really well. It was fantastic.”
The 27-year-old elder Taylor brother held the lead for the entirety of his driving stint before turning the car over to Jordan Taylor at the one-hour, 45-minute mark in the race. The younger Taylor brought it home with without any serious challenges, speeding to an 18.855-second victory over Dane Cameron and Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Dane Cameron and Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. were second.
“I think we surprised ourselves,” Jordan Taylor said. “We knew why the car was fast yesterday because we made a qualifying setup for the car. And then we went back to race settings and we thought it’d come back to us. It came back a little bit.
“We didn’t have the same gap, but I think it shows how well our team is operating with this Cadillac. We understand how it works and I think it goes back to September of last year when we were one of the first to get the car and start testing it. We’ve done a lot of work for it, but I’m happy we got our four race wins now and we can move on to Detroit.”
It was the second podium sweep in four races for the new Cadillac DPi program, as Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi finished third in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. The No. 5 made it into podium position with slightly more than 10 minutes remaining, when the No. 2 Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan DPi being driven by Ryan Dalziel caught fire.
Dalziel expertly guided the car to a safe location near fire personnel and leapt from the machine. He was evaluated and release from the infield care center following the incident.
With the win, the No. 10 duo extended their lead in the Prototype championship standings to 22 points, 141-119, over Barbosa and Fittipaldi.
Perfect Season Rolls On For Performance Tech
Not unlike the Taylor brothers in the Prototype Class, the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09 pairing of James French and Pato O’Ward are having a dominant season in the Prototype Challenge (PC) class.
In the Prototype Class, the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09 pairing of James French and Pato O’War won.
After winning the opening two rounds of the season in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, French and O’Ward picked up their third straight win on Saturday in the Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown.
The PC race followed a similar format to Daytona and Sebring. The No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09 – this time driven by Stefan Wilson – moved out into an early class lead, just as it did in the first two races. This time, Wilson’s lead lasted the first 10 minutes before French – who started the race from the class pole position – regained the top spot.
French stayed there until just past the halfway point, when he pitted to turn the car over to O-Ward, who was celebrating his 18th birthday. The Mexican driver rejoined the field third in class behind leader Nick Boulle in the No. 26 and 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice in the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports entry.
O’Ward moved into second at the one-hour, 45-minute mark and regained the lead with just prior to the two-hour mark when Boulle pitted. He pulled away over the remaining distance to win by one lap over the No. 26 machine.
“We had a bit of a challenge in the middle of the race,” O’Ward said. “We were about 50 seconds behind P1. I sort of put my head down and tried to do as perfect of laps as they could be.
“I was catching and catching, then when it was time for the last pit stop, we just did a splash of fuel and didn’t change any drivers or tires and we came out in first. The plan was just to hold them off then. They got a drive-through (penalty), so it gave me a chance to just mellow out and finish the race like that.”
The next WeatherTech Championship race is the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Corporation on Saturday, June 3. The 100-minute race will feature the Prototype, PC and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.
Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown Final Classification