2018 Detroit Grand Prix Post Race Report
2018 Detroit Grand Prix Post Race Report
The drive for a fifth victory in the last six seasons on the Streets of Belle Isle circuit in downtown Detroit netted instead a fifth-place finish Saturday for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team and its drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande.

Date: June 2, 2018
Event: Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle (Round 5 of 10)
Series: Prototype division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Location: The Streets of Belle Isle in Detroit (2.36-mile, 13-turn temporary circuit)
Start/Finish: 7th / 5th (Running, completed 68 of 68 laps)
Winner: Eric Curran and Filipe Nasr of Action Express Racing (Cadillac DPi-V.R)
Point Standing: 3rd (130 points, 15 out of first)

The drive for a fifth victory in the last six seasons on the Streets of Belle Isle circuit in downtown Detroit netted instead a fifth-place finish Saturday for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team and its drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande.

On a fast, temporary street course where the team had been virtually unbeatable since 2013, Taylor and van der Zande felt like mere mortals as they struggled to find the pace they needed to get back on the winning track this season.

Signs of hope actually emerged during this morning’s final practice as the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R was turning among the fastest laps overall after wholesale setup changes overnight and much cooler conditions this morning.

And when the green flag fell for today’s one-hour, 40-minute sprint race, van der Zande showed his usual flashes of brilliance in picking off position after position from his seventh spot on the starting grid.
He was fourth when, just 20 minutes into the race, the caution flag flew for an incident on track and the 32-year-old Dutch driver was called to the pits for a driver change, fresh tires and fuel.

“I think I was pretty satisfied with my stint going from seventh toward the front,” he said. “We had to make some cool moves to pick up some positions. But after that, I just settled in. I knew it was going to be a short day for me in the car. At the same time, I felt I didn’t have the pace to move forward more than I was able to during the bullfight at the beginning of the race, where you just put your elbows out and get to the front. On pure pace, we couldn’t do that. And Jordan, he could see the same thing, we were lacking pace, so we were lucky to finish fifth. We definitely have some work to do.”

Taylor resumed ninth after that early pit stop and driver change behind several teams that short-filled their fuel tanks and others that did not stop. On the restart at the 25-minute mark, he lost another couple of positions, to 11th, after having to navigate through a multicar incident in front of him. He picked up one spot and held down the 10th position for most of his final stint before moving up to seventh by the white-flag lap, then picked up the final two spots when the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and the No. 77 Mazda DPi both ran out of fuel and slowed.

“It was obviously a tough day – a tough weekend, actually,” said Taylor, who in addition to winning with the No. 10 entry in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017 also won at Belle Isle in a GT-class Camaro in 2012. “We didn’t roll off the truck especially strong, we were seventh in qualifying. We made some changes for the race and the car was a bit better, but I think we’re still missing a little something compared to the other Cadillac that ended up winning. It was a tough race but, considering how difficult it was, I think fifth place was surprisingly good. I felt like we were running 10th most of the time, so to end up fifth is not that bad considering what it could have been. We kind of hung in there, didn’t give up, and we had some good strategy to keep us there. Obviously, two cars running out of fuel on the last lap was a big help to us. Looking ahead to Watkins Glen we have some work to do, but we’re still very much in the championship hunt, so leaving with another top-five wasn't a bad thing.”

The top-five finish enabled to team to keep pace with the Prototype-class points leaders. They arrived in Detroit in third place, 15 points out of the lead, and leave with the same gap to the new leaders, Eric Curran and Filipe Nasr of the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, who won today’s race.

“It was very disappointing – in a way that we just didn’t have a good car the whole weekend,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “The guys, everybody worked on massive changes in the setup to try and help us and they all – the engineers, the crew, the drivers, everybody – worked really hard, as they always do. But we just didn’t have a good car, and it’s really disappointing. We have good people in all aspects, so we’ll find a way – we’ll come back from this.”

Round six on the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar is the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen Sunday, July 1, at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. FS1 will televise the entire event live beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT.