Cadillac has four straight Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona wins
Konica Minolta Cadillac has three Daytona 24 wins
Whelen Engineering Cadillac team looking for redemption
Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R seeking two places better
JDC-Miller looking for another strong beach run
Cadillac has owned the winners circle at the World Center of Racing in the modern IMSA DPi era winning the Rolex 24 Hour race four years in a row.
The IMSA Championship will make its return to competition with the addition of a 2 hour and 40-minute race this weekend. The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac team returns to Daytona with still some confetti still on the carbon fiber from taking its third win in four years (2017, 2019, 2020) at the Rolex 24. The DPi points leading drivers Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe know that defending a 24-hour trophy in a sprint format will be a challenge.
“This has been the longest time I have been out of racing since I started.” Van Der Zande said. “I didn’t feel I was losing out not being at the race track, because no one was there. I spent some good time with my family and I kept my competitiveness going on my race bicycle. I have an app where you can compete with others on different sectors, so I used that keep my focus. It is a shame we will miss things like the grid walk for the fans, but we will make the most of what we have. We will not complain about it, we are one of the first racing series to get back to competition after NASCAR and IndyCar. It is a little disappointing we lost the street events. The Cadillac DPi-V.R is usually very strong on the street courses.
“It will take me just a few laps to get back up to speed and get the most out of the car. We won the Rolex 24 in January, so going back there is good for our team. The short race this weekend will be a lot different, shorter practice and in the race we will have to be a little more aggressive. We have had a lot of meetings on-line with the team, so I feel good about going to Daytona. It is time to go racing, no more waiting, no excuses, it is time to get going and will be ready for Saturday night.”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac team had a strong run to take the third position on the podium five months ago. The 2018 winning team will have season long drivers Joao Barbosa and Sebastian Bourdais looking to put the JDC-Miller Motorsport prepared Cadillac DPi-V.R back into the Daytona winners circle this weekend.
“I am looking forward to going back racing at Daytona this weekend,” Barbosa said. “IMSA has done a great job to adjust the schedule and get us back racing in a safe and secure way. Unfortunately we are going to miss a lot of people at the track. We just moved from North Carolina to Florida, so we have used the time off for some home renovations and getting things settled.
“It has been a long time since we have been in the car. The JDC-Miller team has been working hard to make the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R better. We were good at the 24, but we know we can be better. We used the time wisely. The race will be very intense. It will be warm and muggy with some different track temperatures than in January. We don’t have 20 hours to prepare for the last four, so we will have to push from the start. Everyone at JDC-Miller, Cadillac as well as Sebastian and myself will be ready.”
The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsport line-up of Tristan Vautier and Chris Miller will be looking for a spot on the podium based upon their fifth-place finish at the 24. The team took the opportunity to compete at the June Sprints at Road America to keep their competitive edge sharp.
“Over the last couple months I have definitely missed driving our Cadillac DPi-V.R, but I’ve been fortunate to have driven a couple other race cars,” Miller said. “I did a test with a TCR car and more recently the JDC-Miller team and I did a club race in Wisconsin, the June Sprints, and we were able to get the win! Other than that, I’ve been starting to train for a marathon and playing a lot of golf, which have both been great ways to get outside while social distancing.
“It will be the first sprint race I’ve done in a prototype in a couple of years and it’s likely that I will be starting the race. Taking the green flag and the excitement of the first few laps is something I’ve missed, so I’m really looking forward to it. In January we had a very good race car, but we were maybe missing a bit of ultimate lap time compared to our teammates in the Mustang Sampling Cadillac. In a shorter format I think it will be important to try to find the last little bit of pace. I know my teammate Tristan can be as fast as anyone, so if I can hand him the car in a decent position we will have a chance at a good result.”
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac team was running in the thick of the race at the 24 when a gearbox issue and untimely flat tire thwarted their plans for victory in January. Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani always show speed and the Action Express Racing team provides the race craft, combine the two and the red No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R will be a force to reckoned with this weekend.
“I think it’s fantastic to get back to racing,” Derani said. “I spoke to Felipe a few days ago and I said, ‘man, I don’t remember the last time I wore a helmet.’ I think it’s going to be funny when we get back on track.
“Daytona is a very special place. For sure, winning Daytona in 2016 was one of my best achievements, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We are going into this race with a completely different approach because it’s a much shorter race (than the 24-hour race). So, I think the dynamics are going to be much different. Hopefully, we can start again fresh and go for a victory at Daytona, which would be fantastic.”
“I think you are going to see the difference from boys to men,” Derani explained. “The teams that are really serious and have a protocol on how they work will get up to speed quicker. Our team, Whelen Engineering/Action Express, we’ve been doing it for so long with the same group of guys. The teams that have been together for a while know what to do and will have the edge.”
Cadillac Daytona round two driver line-up:
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe
No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Joao Barbosa and Sebastian Bourdais
No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier and Chris Miller
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani
The action from Florida for the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At Daytona will start at 6:15 p.m. ET on Friday, July 3 with a single practice for all classes. The green flag will drop on the 2 hours and 40-minute race at 6:05 p.m. on July 4.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing