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2018 Detroit Grand Prix Weekend
2018 Detroit Grand Prix Weekend
Four wins in the last five years on the Streets of Belle Isle temporary circuit in downtown Detroit has the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team and its drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande wanting more heading into Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic.


DETROIT (May 29, 2018) – Four wins in the last five years on the Streets of Belle Isle temporary circuit in downtown Detroit has the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team and its drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande wanting more heading into Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic.

The team’s dramatic “worst-to-first” victory last year on the 2.36-mile, 13-turn race course in the shadows of the headquarters of longtime team partner General Motors was its fifth in a row in the opening five races of 2017, vaulting fourth-year co-drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor to the series championship. It was the team’s fourth victory in its last five visits to Belle Isle and, as it eyes this weekend’s return trip to the Motor City, it was the last time the team laid claim to the top step of the postrace podium.

That’s a nine-race winless streak that has crept into the picture, the likes of which the No. 10 team has not seen since going 11 races without a win from mid-2010 to mid-2011, and surpassed only by its 14-race winless streak from 2007 to 2008.

Still, it’s certainly no cause for alarm or desperation in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R camp as it hits town a solid third in the championship chase behind its rival Cadillac DPi-V.R entries from Action Express Racing with six races remaining. A stellar runner-up finish at this year’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, followed by some late-race heroics by Jordan Taylor that netted a second consecutive podium on the Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) street course in April are cause for the confidence and optimism headed into this weekend.

A year ago this weekend, Ricky Taylor was forced to the back of the starting grid when his accident in Friday qualifying brought out a red flag that ended the session, making victory on Saturday seem highly improbable on the fast but tricky Belle Isle circuit. But the elder Taylor brother, who left the team for the new, two-car Team Penske Prototype-class effort after the season, raced his way into the top-five before handing the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R over to his younger brother. Thanks to some clever fuel strategy employed by engineers Brian Pillar and Adam Banet, Jordan Taylor raced his way into the lead with 16 laps to go and held off Dane Cameron in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R the rest of the way, crossing the finish line five seconds ahead.

With van der Zande having replaced Ricky Taylor as full-time co-driver this year, the team has yet another seasoned veteran who is also no stranger to the top step of the podium at Belle Isle. The 32-year-old Dutch driver scored back-to-back LMPC-class victories with the Starworks Motorsport team in 2015 and 2016 before seeing his Belle Isle race day with the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona team end early last year thanks to an accident.

The arrival this season of the two-car Team Penske and Mazda Team Joest efforts this season, coupled with the revitalization of several of the series’ recent mainstay teams, adds up to make this weekend’s battle for victory more competitive than ever. And sportscar racing’s winningest team at Detroit, featuring the driving talents of Taylor and van der Zande, looks to be right in the middle of the battle for victory once again.

Practice for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle begins Friday morning with Prototype-class qualifying set for 5:45 p.m. EDT. The green flag for the one-hour, 40-minute race flies at 12:40 p.m. Saturday with FS2 providing live television coverage beginning at 12:30 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:

The obvious question: you’re heading to Detroit with the team that’s won overall there four times in the last five years, and you’ve won there five times in the last six years. Your overall thoughts as we head back there?

“I’m excited to get back on track in Detroit. We have an incredible record there as a team, so I like our chances heading back there. The guys really have a good handle on these 100-minute sprint races. It really puts the pressure on everyone on the team to execute. There’s no room for any mistakes and our guys have done incredibly well every year in Detroit.”

Oddly enough, last year’s Detroit race was the last time the team won a race of any kind after scorching the first half of the season with five straight wins. Does that possibly create a sense of urgency to win this weekend?

“I don’t think anything changes our approach to a race weekend. We know how to run a race weekend. We approach every race weekend with the goal of winning. Obviously, we haven’t had a win since Detroit last year, but we just need to keep putting ourselves in a position to fight for the wins and podiums to stay in the championship hunt.”

Why do you suppose the team has been so successful at Detroit all these years?

“I think these style races really put a focus on every aspect of a team. Everything needs to be executed. It’s a tough place to pass, so you need a good qualifying and good strategy and pit stops. Any little mistake at a race like this can have a big impact on your result.”

How would you compare the Detroit circuit with the Long Beach circuit?

“There are some similarities, but overall it’s a much different animal. Detroit is unique for a street course because it has some properly quick corners. There are lots of different surfaces and bump patterns, so it makes it a tough place to both put a lap together and set up a racecar.”

You kicked off your winning ways at Detroit in 2011 with the Autohaus team. You’ve done a lot of winning since then, but how was that day for you and how special was it for you? How did you guys pull off that win?

“That year was a really big win for us. It was my second professional win in GT racing and obviously it was a big deal to win in Detroit in a Chevrolet Camaro with all the bosses there to watch. We didn’t have really any practice because of torrential rain, so most of the drivers had to learn the track in the race, which made it really stressful. My teammate Paul Edwards at the time had a strong start to the race and then I remember having a good battle with (Jonathan) Bomarito, (Robin) Liddell, and (Bill) Auberlen to the finish.”

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

The obvious question: you’re heading to Detroit with the team that’s won overall there four times in the last five years. Your overall thoughts as you head back there?

“The winning at Detroit has been more for Jordan, for sure. I won a couple of times there, too, and I always felt the track developed a lot during the weekend. It’s about keeping patience as a driver and, setup-wise, gambling a little toward the end of the race in order to have a good car there for the finish.”

How would you compare the Detroit circuit with the Long Beach circuit?

“A street course is a street course, for the most part. The big difference is the fact that Detroit track is super bumpy. Also, the grip level is a little different. Plus, this weekend’s race is a super important one because we are in GM’s hometown.”

You won Detroit two years in a row with the LMPC-class Starworks team in 2015 and 2016. Safe to assume you like the track?

“I like the Detroit track a lot. As a driver you have to be clever to be fast there and so, as a driver, you can make a difference. That’s not always the case at every track, so I’m very much looking forward to getting back there. I guess that’s why Jordan was so succesful there the last several years. He is a clever man.”

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

Your overall thoughts as you head back to Detroit, one of your most successful tracks in team history?

“We absolutely love having the opportunity to race at Detroit, which is the home race for Cadillac and our longtime partner GM, and the results have pretty much proven that. Long Beach is a very important race for our partner Konica Minolta and we’re been absolutely ecstatic to be able to win there three times in a row for them after finishing second the first year (2013), when we announced our primary sponsorship with them there. Likewise, winning four of the last five at Detroit at the most important race for GM is huge for us. We would have liked to have four wins in a row there but things didn’t go our way that one year (2015). Interestingly, last year’s Detroit race was the last time we’ve won, so everyone on the team is ready to get back to winning again this weekend. We need to go out and do what we know how to do and just make it happen, to find a way. Like always, our eyes are on the bigger prize of winning the championship, so earning maximum points each weekend is what we have to do from now until season’s end.”