Konica Minolta Cadillac drivers Van Der Zande and Briscoe lead points
Mustang Sampling Cadillac has three podium finishes
Nasr and Derani coming off win at Sebring
Chris Miller in JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac
The IMSA WeatherTech Championship is heading out of Florida to run round four at the 4-mile, 14-turn Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The track is a driver favorite with its high-speed turns, rolling terrain and signature sections like The Kink, Carousel and Canada Corner.
Konica Minolta Cadillac drivers Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe come into the weekend leading the Dpi Championship points, actually in a four-way tie with the No. 77 Mazda drivers with 92 points. The team won the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona in February and finished second at Sebring, but the Wayne Taylor led team has never won at Road America.
“We’re leading the championship, but it’s close as we are tied in the points,” Van Der Zande said. “It’s always a good feeling to enter a race weekend on a high note. Road America has been a race where the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team is always working on a great strategy to win. Although we might not always be the quickest there, Road America is a track where you can win off of a really good strategy. We’re aiming to take advantage of every opportunity this weekend to bring Wayne Taylor Racing their first win at Road America.”
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac team is coming off a commanding win at Sebring. The duo of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani want to take that winning momentum to Road America this weekend.
“Coming off a solid victory at Sebring, we always want and expect to do the same [thing at the next track],” Derani said. “But, as we know, this championship is so tough and so competitive that the success we had two weeks ago does not always translate into the next one [race]. It was good to be finally reunited with Felipe in the same car and winning straightaway. It certainly gives us a lot of momentum heading into Road America. We don’t take anything for granted. We will arrive at Road America with the same hunger and try to repeat the victory we had a Sebring. But, we know it won’t be easy.
“The team has had a lot of success at Road America and so did I in 2017 with a pretty spectacular race. I love Road America. It’s a fantastic track. It has a lot of high-speed corners, up and down. It’s possibly one of my favorite tracks in the United States – together with Sebring and Road Atlanta. It’s quite amazing to drive. It’s even better when you can drive such a fantastic car like the Cadillac DPi-V.R. I’m really looking forward to the race. Hopefully we can have a fantastic race and keep winning, which is what the Whelen Engineering/Action Express team expects and deserves for such a fantastic job they do on and off the track.”
Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais come into Road America on a three-race podium streak. The duo, with JDC-Miller Motorsports, has been able to keep the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R in the hunt for wins throughout the first three rounds of racing.
“Road America is a great, old school type race track,” Barbosa said. “It is long and very fast, demanding on the team and the driver. It is going to be a big challenge. With the new BoP [Balance of Performance] we seem to be changing every race. It is a challenge for the teams to constantly adapt to the new specs. Being the heaviest car by far, won’t help. The team does a great job on strategy and in the pits, we just need to take advantage of every little break. With the car being heavy, compared to the competition, it affects braking, tire wear and fuel mileage. Fuel mileage is a key point as we have seen in the last race at Sebring.
“Road America is very fast. You have to balance top speed and aero. You need top speed to get down the three long straights as fast as possible and have some aero to get through the fast turns like the Carousel and The Kink. The team and drivers will be working hard on the balance of the Mustang Sampling Cadillac. We want to keep our podium trend going this weekend and, of course, fight for the win if possible.”
The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsport Cadillac DPi-V.R will have Chris Miller return to the team to partner with Tristan Vautier. The team just missed out on a top four finish at Sebring when they had to pit late in the race for fuel
“Road America is obviously a place where you need to have power and top speed,” Miller said. “Our JDC-Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R has a lot of both of those, but last year the BoP wasn’t in our favor and the Cadillac’s struggled on the straights and for ultimate lap time. I’m hopeful this year will be a bit better, but we will not know until we get on track!
“I think last year in qualifying and the race the JDC-Miller cars were the fastest of the Cadillac cars, so I know we have a decent set-up to start with. I always feel that if you have a fast and comfortable car in the Carousel that you will be fast at Road America. Ideally you want a car that is just free enough so that it rotates well across the long duration corner so that you can get a good exit for the long run down to Canada Corner.
“Since the last race I have been focused on training since I struggled a bit with my back during the race at Daytona. I also am competing in the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series this season so Road America will be a busy weekend. We’ve had a challenging start to the year but I’m hopeful we can turn it around with a good result!”
Cadillac Sebring Driver Line-up:
No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, Joao Barbosa and Sebastian Bourdais
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, Renger Van Der Zande and Ryan Briscoe
No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R, Tristan Vautier and Chris Miller
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Richard Prince/Cadillac