Date: June 30, 2019
Event: Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen (Round 6 of 10)
Series: Daytona Prototype international division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Location: Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International (3.4-mile, 11-turn road course)
Start/Finish: 5th / 4th (Running, completed 211 of 211 laps)
Winner: Harry Tincknell, Jonathan Bomarito and Olivier Pla of Mazda Team Joest (Mazda DPi)
Point Standing: 4th (163 points, 14 out of first)
A flawless run from start to finish in Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen netted a solid fourth-place result for Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team in the annual midsummer IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance marathon and sparked marginal gains in the standings.
It was a promising start to the second half of the season for Taylor, van der Zande and the team as their top-finishing Cadillac DPi-V.R was beaten across the finish line only by the pair of Mazda Team Joest DPi racecars that were in a class of their own all weekend, and the third-place-finishing No. 6 Team Penske DPi of Juan Montoya and Dane Cameron, the new championship leaders.
Even though they crossed the finish line three spots behind their ultimate goal, both Taylor and van der Zande used the word “perfect” in describing the team’s effort and execution today. From the fifth spot on the starting grid van der Zande earned Saturday – the team’s best qualifying result of the season – the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R duo held steady from the start and through three caution periods over the 211 laps completed today by the five lead-lap finishers. They never ran lower than fifth place and typically crept toward the front – leading a pair of laps, in fact – as the leaders shuffled in and out of the pits at the end of their fuel-and-tire runs.
“I think it was a perfect day for us, relatively speaking, about as well is it could go from a team perspective,” said Taylor, whose fourth-place result today was his best at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International since his fourth-place run with his older brother Ricky Taylor and veteran Italian Max “The Ax” Angelelli in 2016. “We made no mistakes on strategy or on track. Fifth place was probably the best we could’ve hoped for and we finished fourth, so it was like a mini victory considering the performance, and I think we can just go on to the next one. It’ll be a similar situation, unfortunately, so all we can really focus on is what we can control and we’ll try and execute just as well as we did here today.”
“I think we executed all the way through, perfectly,” said van der Zande, who scored a pair of LMPC-class victories at The Glen with the Starworks Motorsports team in 2015 and 2016. “All the team and the drivers, we did very well. We actually got one of the Acuras, but altogether no chance against the Mazdas and the other Acura. The speed in qualifying has been great against the other Cadillacs, and during the race we were on top of our game. We had excellent pit stops and the team did a fantastic job with the fuel strategy. Fourth place is not what we deserve with an effort like today, but at the end it is what it is and we gained some points back in the championship with still some races to go. We’ll take it as it is and move forward. At least we’re happy with the performance of the team.”
With today’s results, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team moved from fifth to fourth in the championship, 14 points behind the first-place No. 6 Team Penske entry of Montoya and Cameron, with four races remaining. Today’s win by the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest entry of Harry Tincknell, Jonathan Bomarito and Olivier Pla was the first in DPi-class competition for manufacturer Mazda. Tincknell crossed the finish line .353 of a second ahead of the teammate Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest entry he shared with Tristan Nunez and Timo Bernhard.
While just fourth in the overall season championship, the team left Watkins Glen with the outright lead in the Michelin North American Endurance Cup, the championship within the championship that awards points at the four endurance marathons – the Rolex 24 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway, the Watkins Glen six-hour, and the 10-hour, season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Taylor, van der Zande, Formula One veteran Fernando Alonso and former Formula One and current FIA World Endurance Championship regular Kamui Kobayashi opened the season with a resounding victory at Daytona. They followed that with a runner-up result at Sebring.
“One positive we leave here with is the lead in the Endurance Cup with one more race to go in that championship, which we’ve never won before – that, and the fact that the team as usual did an outstanding job in every possible way here today,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “We knew we were in a different race than the overall race and that was against the other Cadillacs. That’s really all we can concentrate on and the team did an outstanding job, the drivers, too. Everyone executed perfectly the whole race. We have one more race at the end of the season to try and clinch the Endurance Cup, and we’ll see what kind of dent we can put in the overall championship in the three races before then. Congratulations to the Mazdas on winning for the first time today. They’ve been working really hard for a really long time.”
Round seven of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is next weekend’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. Live television coverage of the two-hour, 40-minute race Sunday will be provided by the NBC network beginning at 1 p.m. EDT.