2018 Road America Showcase Post Race Report
2018 Road America Showcase Post Race Report
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R of Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande finished right where it qualified – fourth – in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

Date: Aug. 5, 2018
Event: Continental Tire Road Race Showcase (Round 8 of 10)
Series: Prototype division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Location: Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (4.048-mile, 14-turn road course)
Start/Finish: 4th / 4th (Running, completed 69 of 69 laps)
Winner: Colin Braun and Jonathan Bennett of Core Autosport (Oreca LMP2)
Point Standing: 4th (216 points, 12 out of first)

The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R of Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande finished right where it qualified – fourth – in Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. But it wasn’t before flirting with the team’s first win of the season and first win ever at the scenic 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course until the waning minutes of the race.

Creative strategy was the order of the day for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team, which has lacked the kind of top-end speed all season that, on a track with numerous long straightaways like Road America, is most certainly a prerequisite for competitiveness.

So, while doing their best to hold the top-four position in which they started the race, Taylor and van der Zande had to execute a creative but risky fuel strategy that, thanks to a much-needed yellow flag that never came in the latter stages of the race, forced Taylor to pit from the lead for a splash of fuel with a little more than five minutes remaining in today’s two-hour, 40-minute event. And a frustrating and disappointing fourth-place finish was all they were able to take away from one of only two tracks on the schedule at which the team has yet to score a victory.

Van der Zande, who qualified fourth Saturday but assumed the third spot on the starting grid after the No. 54 Core Autosport Orecan LMP2 team, which qualified third, forfeited its position after switching starting drivers for the second race in a row. The Dutch driver held that third position over the opening 33 minutes before pitting for tires and fuel during the race’s first caution period. He resumed ahead of all the cars that pitted but in fifth place behind four cars that didn’t, then fell back to sixth just five laps later while struggling to keep pace on the long straightaways. He pitted from the sixth position at the one-hour, 24-minute mark to hand the car over to Taylor.

“I had a top-speed issue, basically,” said van der Zande, who joined the team as full-time co-driver this season. “We’re not great on the straight and, here, it’s tough to fight if you don’t have the top speed. I couldn’t make any moves to move forward and I even lost a position. At the start, I was able to stay in position and follow the leader and the second-place car but, after that, on any restart I was just trying to hold onto the car. I knew we weren’t going have the outright pace to fight for the win after Jordan took over, but I was hoping we could do it with strategy and find a way to move forward. It looked good for a while but the yellow we wanted just never came.”

Taylor resumed in fifth after the rest of the field cycled through the round of green-flag stops and held that position until he was called into the pits just seven minutes later when the team decided to employ an alternate fuel strategy. He resumed in ninth but, coincidentally, the yellow flag flew just two laps later, and three cars that were ahead of him decided to pit during that caution period, moving him up to sixth.

The rest of the leaders began making their final scheduled stops shortly thereafter, and Taylor found himself in second place at the two-hour, 14-minute mark behind the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Felipe Nasr, who finally headed down pit lane for his final scheduled stop with just 20 minutes left in the race.

Taylor held the lead for eight laps with the team desperately hoping for a late caution period so he could make it to the end on fuel. That flag never came and Taylor had to relinquish the lead with a little more than five minutes remaining. He held on for a fourth-place finish.

“It was an up-and-down day,” Taylor said. “Renger had a strong start and we were running third. And then a couple yellows threw the race into a twist, strategy-wise and some guys were able to take advantage of that and get ahead of us. We were sixth for the whole middle section and once we got to the last hour, hour and a half, it was all about strategy since we were kind of midpack. So it was either risking to go for the win, or risking to stay where we were. We went aggressive to go for the win, beat a yellow, and then basically called as good a strategy as we could’ve from that point of view. We ended up fourth and a couple of cars that finished ahead of us ran out of fuel right after they took the checker, so it could’ve been as high as maybe second. Another top-five is OK, but a win would’ve been nice.”

With the fourth-place finish, the team now sits fourth in the championship, 12 points behind the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac DPi-V.R, five points behind the second-place No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R team, and three points behind the No. 54 Core Autosport team, which leapfrogged the No. 10 team into third place after its victory today.

“Well, the result wasn’t what we wanted,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “The team did a great job, as usual. Strategy-wise, it seemed like we had two or three strategies that we had to use during the course of the race. We were the slowest car in the straight, yet. On a track like this, it makes it really hard to do lap times. We’ll have to go and do some homework. There are still two races to go and anything can happen. We’re still going to try and win a race and win this championship.”

The penultimate round on the 10-event IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar for 2018 is the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at the newly renamed WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. FS1’s live race broadcast Sunday, Sept. 9, begins at 5 p.m. EDT.