2018 12 Hours of Sebring Race Report
2018 12 Hours of Sebring Race Report
Last year’s victory celebration at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring was a magical one in so many ways for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team.

SEBRING, Florida (March 13, 2018) – Last year’s victory celebration at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring was a magical one in so many ways for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team.
For starters, the convincing victory by brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor and newly added third endurance driver Alex Lynn of Great Britain capped a remarkably trouble-free sweep of the iconic, season-opening endurance events, the first of which occurred seven weeks prior at the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

It also came exactly 21 years to the day since the father and team owner of the Taylor brothers, three-time sportscar champion Wayne Taylor, capped a milestone Daytona-Sebring sweep of his own en route to the 1996 IMSA World SportsCar Series championship.

And, with the pair of Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R entries occupying the second and third spots on last year’s Sebring podium, the victory by the Taylor brothers and Lynn put the exclamation point on a proud moment in Cadillac Racing history with its 1-2-3 sweep of the top spots in only the second race ever for the all-new Cadillac DPi-V.R.

In the rest of the 2017 season that followed its Sebring win, the magic continued for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team as another three consecutive victories on the streets of Long Beach, California, Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and the Streets of Belle Isle circuit in downtown Detroit made the driver and team championships all but a foregone conclusion by the midpoint of the season.

At this weekend’s 66th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the team will look to rekindle that magic from a year ago with its new-look driver lineup featuring full-time teammates Jordan Taylor and Dutch sportscar veteran Renger van der Zande, and third endurance driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar Series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner.

They’ll look to bounce back from a disappointing 15th-place run seven weeks ago at this year’s season-opening Rolex 24, one that started with so much promise as team newcomer van der Zande promptly put the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R on the pole and led the opening 18 laps of the race.

While it wasn’t the dominant car over the opening seven hours of last year’s Sebring 12-hour – that honor held by the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Felipe Albuquerque, which ended with a race-high 168 laps led – the sleek, black Konica Minolta Cadillac came alive as day turned to night on the grueling 3.74-mile, 17-turn road course that once was a World War II-era air base. A clever fuel-saving strategy and some stellar driving by the Taylor brothers and Lynn made the difference and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac crossed the finish line more than 13 seconds ahead of the Action Express Cadillac.

With a 43-car field that features 16 Prototype-class entries that this year includes the new, two-car Acura Team Penske and Mazda Team Joest efforts and the usual cast of international driving superstars throughout the field, it will take another trouble-free and stellar driving effort if the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team hopes to successfully defend its 2017 race win.

But, with their Rolex 24 frustrations now in the rearview mirror, the drivers and team arrive in Central Florida for this weekend’s race more determined than ever.

Practice for this weekend’s 66th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring begins Thursday morning. Prototype-class qualifying is set for 1:20 p.m. EDT Friday with live video provided by IMSA.tv beginning at 12:20 p.m. The green flag for the 12-hour endurance marathon flies at 10:40 a.m. Saturday with live TV coverage starting on FS1 at 10:30 a.m. FS2 picks up the coverage from 12:30 to 3:45 p.m., as well as the race’s conclusion from 6 to 11 p.m. The FOXSportsGO app will also carry the entire race live. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and the IMSA smartphone app.

JORDAN TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

You’re heading to Sebring with the car and team that won pretty convincingly there a year ago. Your overall thoughts on that and what that means to you this year?

“We had a great race at Sebring last year. Everything went to plan. That event was always a tough one for us in the previous generation car. We would sometimes struggle with pace, other times have things go wrong. Last year, we executed everything perfectly. We had a strong car, great strategy and pit stops, and all the guys did their job. That gives us motivation going back. We proved to ourselves that we can win the 12-hour, so there’s no reason we can’t do it again.”

Daytona didn’t go your way. Now that you’ve had numerous weeks to digest that, safe to say you’re more anxious than usual to get to the second race of the season?

“Daytona left a bad taste in our mouths. We had the car to beat that weekend. To have our chances taken away to battle for the victory by something of our control was extremely frustrating. But I think it motivates us all that much more. Nothing in this sport is given to you, so we can’t live in the past, there’s no point to keep talking about it. We just move forward and focus on the next race.”

Your assessment of how things went for you and the team in testing at Sebring a few weeks ago?

“I thought we had a great test. Usually when you go to a test day, you have a lot of items to evaluate on the car. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. This was the first test where I felt like we made progress with every change we made. I was really excited by the end of the test with the car we were leaving with. As long as conditions are similar for the 12-hour, I’m very confident in what we’re coming back with.”

Like Daytona is its own, unique kind of race, how would you describe the Sebring experience?

“I love Sebring. We always talk about Daytona being our home race, but Sebring is also like a home race for our family. We only live two hours away and it’s where I did my first racing school with Skip Barber, so it feels like I’m going home when I’m there. The atmosphere of this event is unlike any other. You get the historical feel from the racetrack and the passion from the fans, so it’s a full package.”

Briefly describe what it’s like to make a lap around Sebring and what it takes to get around there quickly.

“Everyone talks about the bumps at Sebring but, realistically, that’s only two corners and one straight. The rest of the track is just as tough, but in different ways. You have surface changes, high-speed corners, low-speed, slightly banked corners, everything. It really challenges the drivers and team to put a good lap together. There’s always a bit of compromise with Sebring.”

Do you feel like you’re a part of a growing history of one of the world’s most intriguing tracks when you show up at Sebring to race?

“I think everyone feels the history when you go to Sebring. I love the character that the track still holds, with the old World War II runways. That’s what makes Sebring so special, is that history, and you see it driving down the front straight with the signboards over pit lane showing all of the past overall winners.

How crazy is it that, like at Daytona, it seems the pace at Sebring on race day is fast and furious? In other words, there’s no riding around and waiting for the sprint to the finish over the final hours. True?

“It is a 12-hour sprint race. You can’t afford to lose time or positions these days in these races. Of course, you may take a little less risk early in the race, but you’re always pushing. We saw at Daytona how few yellows there were, so maintaining that track position is more important than ever.”


RENGER VAN DER ZANDE, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

You’re heading to Sebring with the car and team that won pretty convincingly there a year ago … your overall thoughts on that and what that means to you this year?

“Sebring is a special one. I think it’s one of the coolest tracks we go to because of the bumps and, from a pure racing style, it’s one of the hardest tracks. That’s why 12 hours at Sebring is like a 24-hour race at any other track because it’s so hard on the car, the car is bottoming out and slamming on the floor, the dampers are constantly working because of the bumps and the engines are getting tested. Altogether, also for the driver, it’s really difficult to survive and it’s going to be hot there because it’s Florida. It’s one of the coolest tracks, also, because of the fans. There are so many fans around, on the grid you will see so many people, and that makes it a very special sportscar vibe.”

Your assessment of how things went for you and the team in testing at Sebring a few weeks ago?

“We had a good test at Sebring where there were a lot of things to find out about the new tire. We got a new compound and a different structure to the tire, which made us try to figure out the balance of the car again. We went forward a lot, we found a lot of different settings on the car that will help us. The other thing is, you are racing in the day and in the night, and at Sebring that makes a big difference, especially because of temperature.”

How crazy is it that, like at Daytona, it seems the pace at Sebring on race day is fast and furious? In other words, there’s no riding around and waiting for the sprint to the finish over the final hours. True?

“I’m really curious to see what’s going to happen during the race. At Daytona, we only had a few safety car periods and I think we are used to, in America, that’s it’s a lot about safety car periods and trying to survive until the last hour. I think this year at Sebring it’s going to be a lot heavier of a load for the drivers if there are fewer safety car periods, which means less rest and it’s going to be super hot. That will make it tough on everyone, so being fit as a racecar driver is going to make a difference, and also being smart as far as keeping up with the pace but at the same time being good on your equipment. If we have fewer safety car periods, that car has less rest, as well, so that could be a deciding factor.”

Do you feel like you’re a part of a growing history of one of the world’s most intriguing tracks when you show up at Sebring to race?

“I think Sebring itself is a special place. It’s very old school. You look at all the signs hung all down the length of the pit lane with all the previous race winners and that makes it very interesting and special. Everybody seems to love going there because there is so much history and it’s such an old place and the Sebring experience is all about the racing and it’s about trying to get the maximum out of the cars and the drivers. With all that history, the amount of fans, the amount of teams, the manufacturers who have been there in the past and still want to keep coming back, that shows it’s purely about racing and nothing else when it comes to Sebring.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

You’re heading to Sebring with the car and team that won pretty convincingly there a year ago … your overall thoughts on that and what that means to you this year?

“Sebring is my home track, so this race has always meant a lot to me. I have a class win, however that overall win is really what I’ve always set my sites on. This year, returning with the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team, I feel we have a great chance at winning at any racetrack, not just the races they won last year, and that’s why it’s one of the very best teams in the business.”

Daytona didn’t go your way. Now that you’ve had numerous weeks to digest that, safe to say you’re more anxious than usual to get to the second race of the season?

“We certainly feel like we have some unfinished business from Daytona, so we’re all eager to pick up where we left off with that pole position in Daytona. Sebring is a different beast, entirely. The team had a great test a few weeks ago, so we’re ready to get back to work.”

Like Daytona is its own, unique kind of race, how would you describe the Sebring experience?

“The Sebring 12-hour is like no other race on the planet. For one, it’s much bumpier than any other sportscar endurance race on the planet. It’s extremely rough on the equipment and the drivers, so 12 hours at Sebring feels like 24 or more. Then, there’s the fan atmosphere at Sebring – it, too, is unlike any other race. It’s incredible.”

Briefly describe what it’s like to make a lap around Sebring and what it takes to get around there quickly.

“It’s such a challenging race track and so unique. You never really feel like you nailed the entire lap due to the bumps and changing conditions. Managing traffic is also very difficult there due to how narrow the track can be in some locations. Never a dull moment around that place. Turn one and turn 17 are some of the most difficult corners in racing, especially in the pitch black of night.”

Do you feel like you’re a part of a growing history of one of the world’s most intriguing tracks when you show up at Sebring to race?

“The history there speaks for itself. You can feel it. The fans appreciate that aspect and the race has a certain status because of its rich history. It’s just incredible to be a part of it all.”

How crazy is it that, like at Daytona, it seems the pace at Sebring on race day is fast and furious? In other words, there’s no riding around and waiting for the sprint to the finish over the final hours. True?

“The days of riding around and setting a comfortable pace in sportscar racing are long gone. The competition is too tough, the talent level of the drivers too high. You have to be 100 percent every lap, every corner.”


WAYNE TAYLOR, owner, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

Your overall thoughts as we head to Sebring to defend last year’s race win?

“I’m pretty excited about Sebring. Obviously, our car at Daytona was quick. We potentially had a winning car but, unfortunately, we had some issues. It was really tough but we had a good test at Sebring and my guys have been working tirelessly to find that one tenth of a second and I’m sure they’ll find it. I love Sebring, as everyone knows. I’ve had poles, I’ve won the race, I was inducted into Hall of Fame there, my kids won it last year. So, for me, it’s a highlight event and, in fact, going in this time we’re going in with no pressure at all. We won it last year and I’m clearly at this point not worried about the points and the championship because we just need to go and take it race by race and see what we can do. There’s a lot more competition this year but I think we have as good of a chance as anybody.”