2018 Mid-Ohio Pre Race Report
2018 Mid-Ohio Pre Race Report
Co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande look to do something this weekend that their current No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team or predecessors have never done – conquer the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, where they and their IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors pay their first visit since 2013 for Sunday’s IMSA Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.

LEXINGTON, Ohio (May 1, 2018) – Co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande look to do something this weekend that their current No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team or predecessors have never done – conquer the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, where they and their IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors pay their first visit since 2013 for Sunday’s IMSA Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.

It will be a welcome return to the scenic 2.258-mile, 13-turn natural road course situated between Cleveland and Columbus, even though history shows it hasn’t been the friendliest of confines for the No. 10 team. Mid-Ohio is one of only two tracks on the current WeatherTech series schedule – Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, being the other – where it has never won.

In 10 Mid-Ohio outings dating back to 2004, the No. 10 has just one podium finish there, one pole position and an average finish of 7.2. And that one podium finish – a third-place run in 2005 by then co-drivers Wayne Taylor and Max “The Ax” Angelelli – was perhaps the team’s most improbable in its storied past. During Saturday qualifying for the Sunday race that year, the car caught fire with Taylor behind the wheel and, while he escaped unharmed, the racecar sustained major damage. The crew worked tirelessly through the night to get the car race ready and finished just in time to push it out to the starting grid early Sunday afternoon, where it took the green flag at the back of the entire field. Then, Taylor and Angelelli worked their driving magic and rallied their way all the way up to third by the checkered flag. It was a pivotal podium finish that kept their otherwise dominating championship run rolling merrily along. They won the series title that year with an incredible 10 podium finishes in 14 events, including five wins and four second-place finishes.

Last we saw of the No. 10 at Mid-Ohio, the year was 2013 and Jordan Taylor qualified the car on the pole before co-driving with Angelelli to a sixth-place finish. It was the team’s best Mid-Ohio finish since 2007, when Angelelli and Frenchman Jonathan Cochet placed fourth.

This weekend will be the first career start at Mid-Ohio for van der Zande, the Dutch driving veteran who joined Taylor as full-time co-driver this season and promptly qualified the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R on the pole at January’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. He’ll certainly tap into the knowledge base of his co-driver, who has five career sportscar starts at the track in a mix of GT- and Prototype-class entries with a 2010 podium finish to show for it. Taylor also came within a whisker of clinching the 2011 Grand-Am Rolex SportsCar Series championship in the No. 88 Autohaus Camaro he shared with former NASCAR driver Bill Lester.

Coming off back-to-back podium finish at this year’s Sebring 12-hour and Grand Prix of Long Beach events, Taylor and van der Zande and their No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R teammates are certainly taking a positive approach as they look to get their maiden victory at Mid-Ohio.

Practice for Sunday’s IMSA Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio begins Friday morning with Prototype-class qualifying set for 12:55 p.m. EDT Saturday. The green flag for the two-hour, 40-minute race flies at 1:05 p.m. Sunday with FS2 providing live television coverage beginning at 1 p.m. 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’ve raced at to Mid-Ohio many times in your career. Your thoughts about coming back this year with the WeatherTech series competitors in the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R?

“I think our car will be a lot of fun to drive around Mid-Ohio. I’ve driven a whole range of cars around there, from Continental ST, Grand-Am GT cars, and then the last time being the old Daytona Prototype. It’s a tight and technical track, so I think it’s going to be an extremely tough race getting through traffic.”

Do you have any favorite Mid-Ohio memories, or can you recall any particularly challenging weekends there?

“My best memory would be getting the GT pole there in 2010 and the Prototype pole in 2013 in Grand-Am. The races there are always a challenge. It’s a tough track to pass on, so qualifying is really important. We were in the hunt to win the GT championship there in 2011 and came up just short, so I always feel like there is some redemption in store going back.”

Being that it’s such a difficult track to pass on, what kinds of things have to happen for the team to pull off a win?

“Execution on all parts will be key, starting with qualifying. Track position is a big part of the game when you go to mid-Ohio. If we find ourselves a little behind in the race, we’ve seen in the past that different strategies can work out. Whether it’s fuel strategies or tires, teams can make some interesting calls to win these races.”

It’s the first two-hour, 40-minute race of the season. Any thoughts about that race distance after going 24 hours at Daytona, 12 hours at Sebring, then one hour and 40 minutes at Long Beach?

“We’ve has a bit of everything so far this year. Long Beach was an all-out sprint. I think Mid-Ohio will be a bit of both. It’s a sprint, but there are also enough pit stops that you don’t really know what’s going to happen until everyone has done their last stop.”

You spent this past weekend at the NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega as your alter ego, Rodney Sandstorm. How did the weekend go?

“Talladega was awesome. I got to meet a bunch of great people from the NASCAR side. I’m not sure if they were meeting Jordan or Rodney, but either way it was cool. The highlight had to be crashing the FOX broadcast to get my shoe signed by Jeff Gordon. Hopefully, I can get to some more races later in the year.”

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

This will be your first time racing at Mid-Ohio. Your thoughts about learning the track in real-time during a race weekend?

“I’ve never been to Mid-Ohio. I don’t know the place, but I always like to go to a racetrack when it is new to me. And I especially like the first session going out on the track, where I can find the limits and find the way to drive the track fast, or finding out how to drive the car around the fastest way. At the same time, it might be a little bit of a game of catch-up during the first few practices, but normally I’m able to find the pace on a new track pretty quickly. So, hopefully that will be the case this weekend.”

How do you feel things are progressing as you’re headed to your fourth race with the team?

“I think we have some good momentum after finishing second at Sebring and third at Long Beach. We’ll just keep going for that first win together – that’s what we’ll be racing for this weekend. Apart from that, I feel very much at home with the team. It’s a very nice cooperation we have with Jordan and the rest of the team, and I think altogether there are nothing but positive vibes.”

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

It’s your first race at Mid-Ohio since 2013. Your thoughts as the series heads back there for the first time?

“I’ve had some up and down weekends there, but overall I’ve always loved the facility there. It’s a real road course. Nobody knows exactly how things are going to shake out there this weekend, being our first time back there in a while with this new series and the cars we are racing now. Our guys have been doing every bit of prep work they can to get us ready. Renger has never raced there, so we’re going to try and get him some laps in Lamborghini before the weekend starts so he can learn the track. Jordan’s raced there many times before and has done pretty well. But again, it’s difficult to predict coming back with this new series and our racecar packages. I do know that track position is more important there than almost anywhere else we race. Even the GTLM cars are even going to be difficult to get around because they have as much if not more horsepower than we do, now, and their handling and braking is so good. But, as is always the case, I guess we’ll find a way. As long as everyone puts in 110 percent, we should be just fine. (Laughs.)”