Taylor Brothers win at COTA

A win for the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Corvette DP

In one of the most brutal, dramatic IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races of the season, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype ran a textbook race that was so professionally choreographed that at times it was easy to forget they were out front for virtually all of the Lone Star Le Mans

Well, almost drama-free – driver Jordan Taylor spun after he got back on the throttle and experienced an unexpected traction control issue, but he recovered immediately and lost little ground.

Strategy "was all about winning the race," said Ricky Taylor, Jordan's brother. "The team executed perfectly."

It was very nearly a must-win at Circuit of The Americas if the No. 10 was to remain in range of the championship, as the season ends in two weeks with the 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

The standings had the No. 5 Action Express Mustang Sampling Corvette DP of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa in front by a point over their team car, the No. 31 Action Express Whelen Corvette of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran, with the Taylor brothers 11 points behind the No. 5.

The No. 31 finished second, 1.421 seconds behind the No. 10 car, with the No. 5 finishing third – these three cars have been on the podium, in various configurations, for the last three races. But the win by the No. 10 now has the Taylor brothers just seven points behind Cameron and Curran, who are now a point ahead of teammates Fittipaldi and Barbosa, the reverse of how they were when today's race began.

There was some drama, too, with the Action Express teammates. Early on, the No. 31 with Curran driving made contact with the No. 5 with Fittipaldi behind the wheel. As a result, the No. 5 spun, and the No. 31 was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for the contact.

Finishing fourth was the No. 70 Mazda Prototype of Tom Long and Joel Miller, with the next Prototype car, the No. 0 DeltaWing of Katharine Legge and Sean Rayhall, finishing eighth overall, behind three Prototype Challenge cars.

And speaking of Prototype Challenge, it was a rugged fight between the top three finishers, with the No. 8 Starworks Oreca-Chevrolet of Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow finishing just ahead of the polesitting No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen entry of Robert Alon and Tom Kimber-Smith. Third was the No. 38 Performance Tech car of James French and Nicholas Boulle. Popow and van der Zande stretched out an already impressive lead to 10 points over Alon and Kimber-Smith.

In GT Le Mans, that aforementioned action bit the two Ford Chip Ganassi Ford GTs, as well as the very fast No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari. The No. 67 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook qualified on the pole, and was running strong until some comparatively minor side-to-side contact with the No. 4 Corvette damaged the steering on the Ford, requiring a long pit stop to replace the steering rack, leaving the car 12 laps down and last in the class.

The No. 66 Ford GT of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller made contact with a BMW in the opening laps and spun, and spent the rest of the race trying to regain the lost territory. And the No. 62 Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Villander, the fastest car in the class, had an electrical problem that caused them to stop on track, then restart and limp to the pits for repairs.

This left the door wide open for the No. 911 and 912 Porsche North America 911 RSRs, with the No. 912 of Earl Bamber and Frederic Makowiecki taking the victory, 2.6 seconds ahead of the No. 911 of Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, giving Porsche its second GT Le Mans victory of the season.

Third place for the #3 Corevette
Third place for the #3 Corevette

In third was the No. 3 Corvette of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, followed by the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM of Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner, and the No. 4 Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.

Despite the lackluster finish, Gavin and Milner stretched their lead over Westbrook and Briscoe from seven points to 11.

It was GT Daytona that saw the biggest heartbreak, which came for the No. 23 Alex Job/Team Seattle Porsche 911 GT3 R of Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas. The car started on the pole and was by far the fastest car in the class during the race.

After a flawless run at the front of the pack, the car rolled to a stop a half-lap short of the checkered flag, out of gas. It was scored seventh out of the 14 cars in the GTD class, because the car and built up such a lead.

This left the race to the deserving No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3 of Jens Klingmann and Bret Curtis, who finished just ahead of the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Castrol Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow, winners of the most recent race at Virginia International Raceway.

Third was the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan. This time last year, Nielsen took a narrow points lead to Petit Le Mans, and ended up losing the championship to the drivers of the car she's in now, the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari. This year, she and Balzan have all but sewed up he championship – their lead is 33 points, and they need 36 to clinch, so it is their title to lose.

In second place is the No. 33 Viper Exchange Dodge Viper of Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen, who were plagued with problems all weekend, with a power steering belt failure ultimately dropping them to a 13th-place finish in class.

The rough season for the No. 90 Visit Florida Corvette DP continues, as the race had barely started when driver Marc Goossens brought out the first yellow flag after stopping on track after losing power. This time last season, the team came to the season-ending Petit Le Mans leading the points, but a disastrous race there in the rain essentially pointed the way to the grim results they'd see in 2016.

Moments after the race returned to green, the yellow flew again after the No. 60 Shank Racing Honda-Ligier of John Pew spun just at the top of the turn 1 hill, collecting the No. 0 DeltaWing of Katherine Legge, but more importantly also collecting a huge WeatherTech sign, which Pew pushed around the track like a snowplow blade until the sign unfolded and covered the entire windshield. At that point Pew pulled off until a safety truck arrived and removed the sign, and Pew continued to the pits to change a flat tire.

At the same time, Jonathan Bomarito, in the second-qualifying No. 55 Mazda Prototype, pulled off the track after losing power, with a fuel pump failure. Niggling problems like those are what has been keeping the Mazda from scoring its first win – the No. 55 qualified just a few thousandths of a second behind the pole-winning No. 10 Corvette DP, so they have the pace.

With COTA probably the warmest pit lane on the circuit, backed with garages to eliminate any breeze, most of the drivers as well as the crews said the heat was a factor. Track temperature for most of the race was 122 degrees, the same as it was for qualifying, so the teams at least knew what to suspect.

Next, and last, for the IMSA WeatherTech Championship is Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, a 10-hour endurance race on the tight 2.54-mile road course, September 28-October 1. Also in action is the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the Mazda Prototype Lites, and the Porsche GT3 Cup USA. For more information visit IMSA.com or RoadAtlanta.com.

QUOTES
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]"It was an awesome race," said Ricky Taylor, who earned his 13th career pole position Friday night. "We had the best car today and not often do you have the best car and everything goes your way and everything goes right. Today, we had a little hiccup with traction control cutting out for a couple of laps, and it was a bit of a panic for the guys with about 40 minutes to go about how we were going to get it working again. With a one-second lead with no traction control, (40 minutes) would have been a long, long time. But they worked through it and Jordan controlled the race after that. The conditions were not that bad. The car was very comfortable inside. We were able to build such a good gap and Jordan was able to bring it home from there. Coming into it, during the strategy meeting, we asked the question today whether we're going for the win or if we're going for points. Today was all about the win and I think we executed well, the team did a great job, and today we had the fastest car. The stops went well, the strategy was perfect. It was a shame we got that first yellow because we had a big buffer and it seemed like they could've pushed that (stalled) car behind the wall. But, anyway, Jordan opened up a really good gap and then we had some electrical gremlins with traction control and that allowed the gap to get closed up a bit. But Jordan did a great job controlling the race from the front once those problems were sorted out. I feel like we've had a good car the last three times we've been here and it's nice to finally get a win."

For Jordan Taylor, it wasn't the outside or cockpit temperatures that caused the most heated part of the race, but the frantic moments surrounding his midrace spin.

"It was obviously a good day, our third win of the year," he said. "We had a strong car, so I knew we had a shot at it when Ricky won the pole. Then Ricky had a flawless run, pulled out a 10-second lead and I knew, basically with me finishing it, it was up to me to lose it. I think we pulled it out to 15 seconds and then something happened – I thought either I made a mistake by spinning or we had a traction-control problem. I spun, and the next five laps we were fighting what turned out to be traction-control problems and I was probably freaking out on the radio a little bit. Whatever the reason, I spun and I just knew I had to bring it home for the guys because of the big lead they and Ricky got us. Thankfully, the guys got it sorted, we fixed it. By that time, we only had a two-second lead so the race was back on. It got a little close, but the only thing that made it close was traffic coming and going. It was a good race. We had a little battle, but obviously a great day for us. Konica Minolta and DLL had 70 people here, so it couldn't have been a better weekend for us. We knew it was going to be hot. I spent two hours and 10 minutes in the car and, if it wasn't for our new technology with RINI (coolsuits), I don't think I would've made it. We were talking almost the whole race about whether Ricky was going to get back in the car or not. Thankfully, this new coolsuit system helped a lot and it's something we can use at Petit (Le Mans), as well, for the 10-hour."

The victory enabled the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP team to shave precious points off its deficit to first place in the season-long championship. The team entered the weekend in third place, trailing the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa by 11 points and the No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Eric Curran and Dane Cameron by 10 points. With one race remaining, the No. 31 team leapfrogged its team car to take a one-point lead in the championship while the Konica Minolta Corvette DP is now seven points out of the lead and six out of second place.

"Well, I'm obviously ecstatic with this win," team owner Wayne Taylor said. "We dominated. Thanks to Chevy's support – Mark Kent, Jim Campbell, Mark Reuss, Terry Dolan and everybody. Konica Minolta with Rick Taylor, everybody there who has supported us for so long. And DLL – what an amazing story there with Steve Riggs, who heads the company. He's only come to five races and every one of the five we've won. So we've got to make sure he comes to more races. As far as the championship is concerned, we came in here knowing the race was going to be between the 31 and the 5, so we just came to get the outright win. This weekend proved a lot of things. We know we have the best team and we know we have the best drivers, and that's all there is to it."

The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship concludes Saturday, Oct. 1 with the traditional Petit Le Mans endurance classic at Road Atlanta. The 10-hour race will be broadcast live via a mixed bag of FS1, FS2 and IMSA.tv handoffs beginning at 11 a.m. EDT.

Results

POS IN CL CL CAR CURRENT DRIVER CAR TYPE TIRE LAPS BEHIND GAP BEST LAP
1 1 P 10 JORDAN TAYLOR CHEVROLET CORVETTE DP C 75 –.— –.— 1:59.721
2 2 P 31 DANE CAMERON CHEVROLET CORVETTE DP C 75 1.421 1.421 2:00.356
3 3 P 5 JOAO BARBOSA CHEVROLET CORVETTE DP C 75 47.256 45.835 2:00.274
4 4 P 70 JOEL MILLER MAZDA PROTOTYPE C 75 1:46.420 59.164 2:00.248
5 1 PC 8 RENGER VAN DER ZANDE ORECA FLM09 C 74 1 LAP 1 LAP 2:02.181
6 2 PC 52 TOM KIMBER SMITH ORECA FLM09 C 74 1 LAP 0.844 2:02.127
7 3 PC 38 JAMES FRENCH ORECA FLM09 C 74 1 LAP 9.410 2:02.522
8 5 P 0 SEAN RAYHALL DELTAWING DWC13 C 74 1 LAP 1 LAP 2:01.262
9 4 PC 20 BRUNO JUNQUEIRA ORECA FLM09 C 74 1 LAP 22.167 2:02.259
10 1 GTLM 912 EARL BAMBER PORSCHE 911 RSR M 74 1 LAP 2.524 2:05.581
11 5 PC 7 GUSTAVO YACAMAN ORECA FLM09 C 74 1 LAP 3.745 2:02.684
12 2 GTLM 911 NICK TANDY PORSCHE 911 RSR M 74 1 LAP 2.654 2:05.159
13 3 GTLM 3 ANTONIO GARCIA CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R M 74 1 LAP 1.578 2:05.150
14 4 GTLM 25 DIRK WERNER BMW M6 GTLM M 73 2 LAPS 1 LAP 2:05.470
15 5 GTLM 4 TOMMY MILNER CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R M 73 2 LAPS 2.942 2:05.671
16 6 PC 85 STEPHEN SIMPSON ORECA FLM09 C 73 2 LAPS 1 LAP 2:02.648
17 6 GTLM 66 JOEY HAND FORD GT M 73 2 LAPS 17.472 2:06.095
18 7 GTLM 100 LUCAS LUHR BMW M6 GTLM M 73 2 LAPS 5.223 2:05.734
19 8 GTLM 62 TONI VILANDER FERRARI 488 GTE M 73 2 LAPS 47.242 2:05.038
20 7 PC 26 JOHN FALB ORECA FLM09 C 73 2 LAPS 26.078 2:05.677
21 6 P 60 OSWALDO NEGRI JR HONDA HPD LIGIER JS P2 C 72 3 LAPS 2 LAPS 2:00.607
22 1 GTD 96 JENS KLINGMANN BMW M6 GT3 C 71 4 LAPS 1 LAP 2:09.639
23 2 GTD 48 BRYAN SELLERS LAMBORGHINI HURACAN GT3 C 71 4 LAPS 15.717 2:09.531
24 3 GTD 63 ALESSANDRO BALZAN FERRARI 488 GT3 C 71 4 LAPS 0.775 2:09.627
25 4 GTD 44 ANDY LALLY AUDI R8 LMS GT3 C 71 4 LAPS 14.831 2:09.757
26 5 GTD 73 JORG BERGMEISTER PORSCHE 911 GT3 R C 71 4 LAPS 12.741 2:09.461
27 6 GTD 007 BEN BARKER ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE GT3 C 71 4 LAPS 17.539 2:09.415
28 7 GTD 23 MARIO FARNBACHER PORSCHE 911 GT3 R C 70 5 LAPS 1 LAP 2:09.165
29 8 GTD 80 MIKE SKEEN DODGE VIPER GT3-R C 70 5 LAPS 58.865 2:09.979
30 9 GTD 16 SPENCER PUMPELLY LAMBORGHINI HURACAN GT3 C 70 5 LAPS 13.129 2:10.356
31 10 GTD 6 ROBIN LIDDELL AUDI R8 LMS GT3 C 70 5 LAPS 1.480 2:09.760
32 11 GTD 27 PAOLO RUBERTI LAMBORGHINI HURACAN GT3 C 70 5 LAPS 17.948 2:10.240
33 12 GTD 9 MATT BELL AUDI R8 LMS GT3 C 70 5 LAPS 4.590 2:09.950
34 13 GTD 33 JEROEN BLEEKEMOLEN DODGE VIPER GT3-R C 67 8 LAPS 3 LAPS 2:09.490
35 8 PC 88 MARK KVAMME ORECA FLM09 C 65 10 LAPS 8 LAPS 2:03.091
36 9 GTLM 67 RICHARD WESTBROOK FORD GT M 61 14 LAPS 12 LAPS 2:04.879
37 14 GTD 97 MARKUS PALTTALA BMW M6 GT3 C 58 17 LAPS 9 LAPS 2:09.953
38 7 P 90 RYAN DALZIEL CHEVROLET CORVETTE DP C 39 36 LAPS 33 LAPS 2:01.376
39 8 P 55 JONATHAN BOMARITO MAZDA PROTOTYPE C 35 40 LAPS 4 LAPS –.—

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