Date: July 7, 2019
Event: Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix (Round 7 of 10)
Series: Daytona Prototype international division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Location: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario (2.459-mile, 10-turn road course)
Start/Finish: 8th / 6th (Running, completed 125 of 125 laps)
Winner: Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez of Team Joest (Mazda)
Point Standing: 4th (188 points, 19 out of first)
On the seventh day of the seventh month of the year, in the seventh race of the season, Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team finished … sixth.
Ever hopeful of scoring the team’s fifth podium finish in its last six visits to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario – which includes a 2015 victory and last year’s runner-up finish – the best the driver duo and the team could muster in Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix was sixth. And that was thanks to a pair of positions picked up by van der Zande during the race’s final restart with less than 10 minutes remaining in the two-hour, 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event.
The postrace tone in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R camp was quite similar to last week at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, where its perfectly flawless performance from the opening green to closing checkered flag netted no better than a fifth-place finish. Those are the races that are the most difficult to swallow for a team more accustomed to the payoff for flawless performance coming in the form of race wins and season-long championships.
“I think it was a pretty frustrating day overall,” said Taylor, who drove the opening 38 minutes today and held position in the top-eight before handing the car over to van der Zande. “Going in, we knew we were racing for fifth, sixth, seventh, so we tried to get a little bit off strategy with fuel, which I think maybe could’ve paid off in the end if it went green all the way. So we’ll just leave with sixth-place points and go on to Road America.”
Over the final two hours, which went green until the day’s first of two caution periods just prior to the two-hour mark, van der Zande held his relative position between seventh and eighth place, doing his best to save fuel to that point and repeatedly stretching the car’s mileage further than the rest of the DPi-class cars. He was eighth during the race’s final restart with less than 10 minutes remaining and jumped two spots to his final finishing position of sixth when the No. 54 of Colin Braun ventured off-course ahead of him and the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Filipe Albuquerque saw its day end early with a mechanical issue.
“It was an eventful race at the end,” van der Zande said. “If you’re not strong, you have to be smart and I think we tried to be smart to at least try something on strategy to be better on fuel and try and have something in our back pocket toward the end of the race. But then all the yellows came out and mixed it up and equaled out the strategies. It’s a shame, but I think it’s clearly what we’re missing. It’s not in our car. Our speed compared to the Mazdas and the Acuras, they’re in a different league. Like at Watkins Glen last week, we performed to the maximum of our capabilities and this is what we ended up with.”
The pair of Team Joest Mazdas finished one-two for the second week in a row and the second time in their DPi-racing history after their second consecutive dominating runs. Despite today’s results, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R held onto fourth place in the championship with three races remaining, albeit now 19 points behind the front-running No. 6 Team Penske entry.
“As usual, everybody on the team did a good job,” team owner Wayne Taylor said. “For Konica Minolta and all our sponsors, thanks to them we were out there trying to compete. That’s really all there is to say.”
Round eight of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is Aug. 4 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Live streaming video of the race will be available at NBC.com and the NBC Sports App at 2:30 p.m. EDT with NBCSN’s three-hour, same-day broadcast set to begin at 6 p.m.