2018 Road America Showcase Pre Race Report
2018 Road America Showcase Pre Race Report
It’s time to put the 10-point plan into motion for co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande and their No. 1 Konica Miolta Cadillac DPi-V.R teammates as they head to scenic Road America for Sunday's Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (July 31, 2018) – It’s time to put the 10-point plan into motion for co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande and their No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R teammates as they head to scenic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.

With just three races to go on the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar, the team stands third in the standings, 10 points out of the lead and nine points behind second place. If it is to successfully defend its 2017 driver and team championships, making up points in bunches becomes the top priority beginning this weekend at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America circuit.

Unlike last year, when Taylor and his older brother Ricky Taylor co-drove to a remarkable five consecutive victories in the season’s opening five events and won the championship going away, the 2018 campaign saw the team having to dig itself out of a deep hole in the standings after a disastrous season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Taylor and van der Zande and the team have gradually chipped away at the 19-point deficit it left Daytona with, climbing from 15th to third in the championship by the season’s fourth event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington and to within 10 points of the first-place No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R entering this weekend.

Finishing the season with a three-race winning streak would certainly do the trick, but wins have certainly been more difficult to come by than ever this season. And a win at Road America this weekend would be a milestone first at one of only two tracks on the current WeatherTech Championship schedule where the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team has yet to score a victory – Mid-Ohio being the other.

No matter, Taylor, van der Zande and their teammates arrive in Central Wisconsin this weekend with confidence and some serious momentum coming off their strong performance at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario four weekends ago. The race-high 71 of 116 laps led and strong runner-up finish ended a steady but also frustrating streak of three consecutive fifth-place finishes at Mid-Ohio, Detroit and Watkins Glen. The team also posted consecutive podium finishes of third and second in its last two visits to Road America in 2016 and 2017, respectively, after finishing no better than seventh there during a four-year stretch from 2012 through 2015.

So, as their team looks to continue inching closer to the championship points lead after inching closer to its first-ever victory at Road America, Taylor and van der Zande are ready to pull out all the stops this weekend.

Practice for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase begins Friday morning with Prototype-class qualifying set for 2:25 p.m. EDT Saturday. The green flag for the two-hour, 40-minute race flies at 2:35 p.m. Sunday with FS1’s live television broadcast set for 2:30 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:

Road America is one of only two tracks on the schedule (Mid-Ohio being the other) where the team has never won. Why would you say that is, and what is it about that track and/or that race?

“We’ve had really odd situations over the years that have taken us out of contention – some mechanical problems, some things out of our control. Last year, we could have really fought for the win, but we were in championship mode. We have almost always had strong cars there that can compete for the win, so we can go back with that confidence.”

Your overall thoughts about the track … good parts, challenging parts, and how it suits your racecar?

“I really enjoy the track and layout. It’s a really long lap, so it can be challenging to string a good lap together, but it feels that much better when you do. It has a bit of everything – high-speed corners, low-speed, elevation changes, and some world-renowned corners like the Carousel and the Kink. It’s also a bit of an engineering challenge because you have lots of long straights where you don’t want any drag, but you also want that aero for the tight and technical sections, so there’s always a bit of a compromise. It’s hard to really know how we’ll stack up this year, especially with all the new changes. All we can really do is focus on our own program and maximize what we are in control of. It’s another two-hour and 40-minute race, so I think that suits our team with the added options of strategy. We have been putting ourselves in the right positions in these past few races to fight for the win and that’s exactly what we need to keep doing.”

Your latest thoughts about the championship after the podium at Mosport?

“We need to keep having weekends like we had in Mosport. We had a strong car and executed on all fronts – driving, pit stops, strategy, everything. We did as much as we could as a team to win that race. So if we keep doing that, we should be able to keep making up ground in the championship. There’s still a long way to go.”

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

Your overall thoughts about racing at Road America this weekend?

“Road America is a great track, it’s a great atmosphere. The track has a lot. It’s high-speed, it’s low-speed, it’s medium-speed, and I think the elevation changes make it very interesting. The races have always been exciting there. Strategy also has been important. And, on top of that, if you want to get a good lap, you really need to nail every corner and that’s not an easy task for a driver. I’ve won races there on strategy and I’ve won on speed. If you win on speed, you have to be so good on the setup and getting the right balance on the car, so that’s going to be our goal. Let’s see what we can do. We should be able to be a bit closer than we were the last few races as far as lap times.”

How do you feel the track will suit your Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R this weekend?

“Our Cadillac will depend on how we can set it up, how good we can tune it up. If you’re good on a hot Saturday and it’s going to be cold on Sunday, then you really have to make a call on that, so we’ll see what the weather does. That’s an important one. Jordan and I seem to be happy with the same car, so altogether I think we can work in a steady way to make us fast. I wouldn’t mind a bit of rain. Jordan is superfast in the rain, I’ve always been fast in the rain, so that would be cool, a bit of a mixed element in it. We haven’t had any rain this season, so it would be cool to have a bit of that.”

Your thoughts about the championship after finishing on the podium at Mosport?

“I think the podium at Mosport was great. We were very happy with that and I think also for points we’re still in there, the team is doing great strategy calls and the drivers are doing well. That showed in Mosport. We were right up there but, obviously, somebody just drove by us on the straight, which I think robbed us a little of the win. I think it’s time to win a race this season. I’m not sure it’s going to happen at Road America, but that’s what we always go for. I was at Spa last weekend doing the 24-hour but, for sure, when I get to Road America and get in that Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, I will be feeling very much at home.”

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

Your overall thoughts as you head to Road America for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase?

“With three races to go in the championship, this weekend adds up to be very important. They’re all important, when you get down to it, but we had 10 points to make up in the championship and we’re coming off our first podium finish in a while, which gives us some momentum this weekend. The team and the drivers did an exceptional job at Mosport to put us in position to win. We finished second at Road America last year and led most of the race, like we did at Mosport. We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing and do it with the things that have set us apart over the years – our superior driving, strategy and team performance on the pit stops. Road America has always been a good track for us even though we’ve never won there. I think this will need to be the year we turn that around.”