Cadillac V-Performance racing team Konica Minolta won the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach today. This is the team’s third win in as many races in 2017.
Starting from the pole position, Ricky Taylor drove the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R through the early stages of race, weathering several yellow restarts and turning it over to his brother Jordan at the 56-minute mark of the 100-minute event. Jordan exited the pits mired in the middle of the 35 car field in second place behind the No. 2 ESM team car. The Konica Minolta Cadillac was a clearly better handling car in the back section of the track, but the ESM prototype clearly had the exit speed out of the hairpin and the top speed down Shoreline Drive. With just five minutes remaining, Jordan Taylor was able to use the slower traffic to his advantage and pass the ESM car to go on for the win. The Long Beach victory today joins the team’s Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring wins so far this season.
“We knew we were exiting the pits in second behind the No. 2 car,” Jordan Taylor said. “As soon as we restarted and got strung out, I knew the 2 car was fast and I would need to use traffic to get by him. As soon as we hit traffic, it was a Chess match to see who would go which way. He went to the inside into Turn 1 and I went to the outside and my line worked. As soon as we got in the lead, I knew it would be hard for him to get by me. We are three for three, winning Long Beach, Daytona and Sebring!”
“My part was straight forward,” Ricky Taylor said. “I drove from pole and brought in to pit lane in the lead. Jordan had the tough job to battle traffic and overtake guys. When Jordan got in and we came out in second, I wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to make the move, but Jordan got it done. The race strategy was perfect. Jordan did an amazing job to get by the 2 car and get our third win.”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling and No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.Rs were factors at the front of the field in the early going. Fourteen minutes into the race, Christian Fittipaldi had contact with a GTD car that caused heavy damage to the rear of the Mustang Sampling Cadillac. Successive pit stops were required to make repairs. The No. 5 Cadillac was classified in seventh at the finish several laps down.
“It was a really tough day for the whole team,” Barbosa said. “There is a big points gap to the leaders now. It makes for a long race when you’re driving three laps behind in a short race. You just try to stay out of trouble, cruise around and get as many points as possible and take the checkered flag.”
“We had a tough day,” Fittipaldi said. “I went by the No. 50 GTD car down the back straight. I got collected and he spun me out. That was the end of our day. By the time we fixed the car, it was over. In such a short race you cannot make up that amount time. Nothing we can do, turn the page and move on to Austin and the Circuit of the Americas.”
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac was battling for a podium position when Dane Cameron went through Turn 8 and hit the wall at the exit of the corner. The damage to the car was too severe to continue, they were classified in eighth position.
“It was a weird race,” Cameron said. “We got cycled back in the GTD field on that restart when I got in the car. It was a feisty and crazy restart. The car was ok, I was fighting for position. I was in the thick of the fight looking for A podium finish or a win today. I made a mistake in Turn 8 and hit the inside wall and that sent me hard into the outside ending the day. I am disappointed to throw that one away. Difficult start to the year. Time to turn the page at Austin. Thanks to Cadillac and the Whelen Engineering team for a safe car, I am fine.”
“Overall I had a good start to the race,” Curran said. “I had a little traction problem with cold tires early on in the race. I had a good battle with Tom Long in Mazda, got by him and made my way up third. The Whelen Cadillac got better over the long run as we got some heat in the car. The team did an amazing job on the pit stop and got us out behind the 10. Dane got by the 10 and he was pushing hard and got a little too close the wall and clipped it. Some heavy damage. We will get it fixed and get ready for COTA [Circuit of the Americas, next race]. We won’t get discouraged and go win COTA”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing