Cadillac V-Performance racing teams Konica Minolta, Mustang Sampling and Whelen Engineering are heading to the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Advanced Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown to run May 4-6..
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team heads to Texas on a roll having won the previous three rounds in Daytona, Sebring and Long Beach. Jordan and Ricky Taylor are not taking their early season success for granted. The duo are the defending COTA race winners, but they will run the Cadillac DPi-V.R on the 3.4-mile, 20-turn track for the first time.
The No. 5 Whelen Engineering Cadillac team of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi finished second at Daytona and Sebring, but are looking for the top step in Texas. The Whelen Engineering Cadillac team of Eric Curran and Dane Cameron have had a run of tough luck. Most recently at Long Beach when a crash resulted in the team having to replace the monocoque on the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac in between races.
“I think we’re all looking forward to COTA,” Jordan Taylor said. “Obviously, it’s been a really great start to the year, winning the first three races. Now we go to COTA, where we won last year and finished second the year before, so it’s a track our team has always had some success at and our cars have always run well there. It’ll be a bit different this year with the Cadillac. We don’t have any experience on that track yet with this car, so there will be a lot to learn, but I think, coming off of three wins and learning as much as we have about the car on three different types of tracks – we did Daytona, Sebring and Long Beach, where you learn lots of different things – but I think COTA is more of a unique, true road course. It’s a very smooth surface. It’ll be the first time we drive our car on a track like that, so there will be a lot to learn, but I think of all the teams heading there, we can head there with the most confidence.”
Jordan Taylor on winning the first three IMSA WeatherTech Championship races.
“I think we just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” he continued. “In Long Beach, before I got in the car after the (No.) 2 car had done their early stop, we knew that we were going to cycle out in second. I had the talk with Adam (Banet), who was our step-in engineer for that race, and we talked – and Travis (Hogue), our program manager – we said, ‘It’s OK to finish second. At this point in the championship, it doesn’t matter. We’re just looking for points.’ I was happy in second place, to finish there and get the points, but if an opportunity came, we were going to go for it. An opportunity did come in traffic and it wasn’t a risky move, so I was happy to make the move for the lead and we won. I think if we continue to do what we’ve been doing, maximizing our car each weekend, and if we have a third-place car and we finish third, then that’s a great day. We can’t be going for something that’s not there and risking finishing at the back. If we focus on what we’ve been doing and not specifically trying to win every race, but take it race by race and see how it goes, it’s how we’ve done it in the past. The past few years, we’ve started off the season not so well. I think two years ago, we had a bad Daytona, last year, we had a bad Sebring, and it kind of put us in a hole for the rest of the year. This year, we’ve started off strong and we just need to do what we’ve done in the past from this point of the season on and just have a strong run.”
Barbosa and Fittipaldi are hungry for a win in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac.
“I think Cadillac at COTA, like in previous races, will be very competitive,” Barbosa said. “The aero at COTA is very important and I think the Cadillac will excel there. I am looking forward to driving the Cadillac at COTA up through the esses. The handling should be good, but obviously there are a couple of long straights that we’ll definitely be a disadvantage. Hopefully we will be able to make it up in the other parts of the track. We will have to maximize the handling. We are looking for our first win at the Texas track. We hope we can come out of COTA with a win and close the distance to the championship leaders.”
Curran and Cameron will are ready for some tough luck to change this weekend at COTA.
“COTA is a track with lots of different types of corners, both low speed and high speed,” Curran said. “The Cadillacs have proven to have really good balance, great braking and handling, which will be a big benefit at COTA. The biggest issue with the current BOP is acceleration and top speed. With the mandated first and second gears set by IMSA we will struggle off the corners as seen at Long Beach. To add to that the top speed is very limited with the restrictors they gave us. The Cadillac 6.2L V8 makes good power, but when the air is restricted there isn’t much you can do. The back straight is really long at COTA. That could be a problem for us and the other cars have shown really high top speed. COTA has been good to us. Christian and I had some too close for comfort racing there last year which got us a penalty but we fought back to 2nd in our Whelen Corvette. This year we’re ready to put our Whelen Cadillac on the top step of the podium. Typically the heat is a killer at COTA, but that’s a credit to IMSA they moved our event earlier in the year. Time for our turn in a Cadillac win.”
Curran on the team’s hard work since Long Beach.
“Our Whelen Engineering team has been working over time since Long Beach,” he continued. “Our team had a rough outing as well as the No. 5 team. The good news is we have the best team and are more than ready to get back on track with our Whelen Engineering Cadillac this weekend.”
At COTA the Cadillac DPi-V.R will have an adjustment to its gear ratios which will hamper exit acceleration speeds out of the 20-turns at the undulating natural terrain road course located southeast of Austin.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadiilac Racing