Cadillac V-Performance racing teams Konica Minolta, Mustang Sampling and Whelen Engineering are heading to Detroit for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic of Detroit to run on the Belle Isle Circuit, June 2-3.
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi team comes into Detroit undefeated in IMSA competition for the 2017 season. Ricky and Jordan Taylor have posted wins at Daytona, Sebring, Long Beach and the Circuit of the Americas (COTA). Having won on all three types of tracks, modified oval, closed street course and a natural terrain road course the team has been able to come to grips with the handling characteristics of the new Cadillac DPi car early in the IMSA season. For Detroit, IMSA has put further balance of performance (BOP) restrictions on the car including engine air restrictor, aero dynamic restrictions and a further fuel tank capacity reduction.
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling and No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac teams are coming off of podium finishes at COTA. The 2.3-mile, 14-turn Belle Isle Circuit located in the middle of the Detroit River and within sight of General Motors headquarters is an opportunity for the Action Express prepared No. 5 and 31 to get a first win on the season. However, Ricky and Jordan Taylor are poised to keep the streak going in The D.
“Detroit is such a tough race,” Ricky Taylor said. “The track is very bumpy and with three classes of cars on the track a lot can happen. I think it is going to be about unloading from the trailer with a good handling car, because there isn’t much practice time. I don’t think it is the kind of track where you will win on pure speed, although we took a big hit with the BOP on horsepower and downforce. We still have a good shot. We have lost power and a lot of downforce. Downforce is king at a track like Belle Isle. We will focus on being good in a couple key sections of the track so we can race well. It is also a short race, 100 minutes, it will still probably be two pit stops for our Cadillac. Pit stops are an opportunity for our team to make up track position where we may have lost it on the track.”
Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa visited the circuit a week ago to give media rides in a Cadillac ATS-V. The duo have been fast on Belle Isle, but haven’t been able to put a complete race together to get a win. They are ready to stand on the top step of the podium and drive their No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi into the winners circle come Saturday.
“I’m excited to be going back to Detroit,” Fittipaldi said. “Historically we have always performed well on Belle Isle, but we could never close the deal to win the race. We have led a lot of laps there, but something has always happened to keep us off the top step of the podium. We have never lacked performance. The team has been on pole the last two years. When it comes to the closing stages, for one reason or another, we just couldn’t get the win. It is hard to know how the car will be affected right now with the BOP changes. I am worried it will affect us in the braking zones at the end of the straights with less downforce. It will also affect the car going through Turn 1 and Turn 2 as it is the fastest section of the track for us, going right and left. They need to just leave the Cadillac alone.”
Eric Curran and Dane Cameron were fortunate to get their first big win in Detroit in 2015. The duo are looking for a first win on the season this weekend in the Motor City in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi.
“Detroit is a special place for us, Eric and I had our first big win there a couple of years ago,” Cameron said. “It is also an important race being in Detroit and the hometown of GM and Cadillac. This is another short race, the 100 minute races are really just a one or two stop deal. There is a little more pressure to get it right on pit lane and upfront in qualifying. I am ready to see how the Cadillac handles the bumpy confines of the Belle Isle circuit this weekend. We took another BOP hit since COTA, we have no control over that, so we stay focused on our program and our own races. We are focused on getting the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac up front and winning races.”
The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship will travel to Detroit for the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic to run June 2-3. Qualifying in Detroit will take place at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, June 2. The race will take the green on Saturday at 12:40 p.m.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing