Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Duo Seeks Another Crown Jewel
As They Prepare for Good, Old-Fashioned Street Fight in Detroit
DETROIT (May 30, 2017) – Before this year’s back-to-back wins at the iconic Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, followed in storybook fashion by another pair of wins on the streets of Long Beach, California and the newest Taj Mahal of road-course racing in the U.S., Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, there was another “crown jewel” called Detroit for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team led by brothers and co-drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor.
Four years before its long-awaited, breakthrough wins at Daytona and Sebring, where the No. 10 team had come so close but fell just short so many times before, there was a 2013 victory on the Streets of Belle Isle circuit in downtown Detroit that immediately became the biggest in team history.
No sooner than it became a fixture on the schedule in 2012 did Belle Isle become a must-win – a crown jewel event in every respect – for one of the flagship programs for Detroit-based Cadillac and the longtime partner with Detroit-based General Motors. And the team took to the 2.36-mile, 13-turn circuit from the get-go with Ricky Taylor qualifying on the pole and leading 13 of the opening 39 laps of that inaugural 2012 sportscar race before the bitter disappointment of a midrace accident that ended the day prematurely.
Jordan Taylor and veteran Italian Max “The Ax” Angelelli came back the following year as co-drivers of the No. 10 entry and the younger Taylor brother promptly qualified on the pole, and with Angelelli combined to lead a race-high 45 of 61 race laps to score the emotional victory.
Little did they know the team would successfully defend its first Belle Isle win when the Taylor brothers co-drove to a dramatic win in 2014 in which Ricky Taylor survived a wild, final-lap duel with Joao Barbosa, and then win there again in 2016 in dominating fashion. Had it not been for a late-race penalty for contact deemed avoidable in the 2015 event, the Taylor brothers may well be arriving in Detroit for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic seeking their fifth Belle Isle win in a row.
The Taylor brothers and their unbeaten No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, which made its racing debut in January at Daytona after two intense years of development and testing, are looking to make it five wins in a row to start the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship campaign and add to their 22-point lead in the season-long championship over Barbosa and his co-driver Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.
With three wins in the last four years at Detroit, and the first weekend of April having scored their third win in three years at Long Beach on the series’ only other temporary street circuit, the Taylor brothers and their teammates are ready to wage a good, old-fashioned street fight in the hometown of their current manufacturer and longtime partner.
Practice for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic begins Friday morning with Prototype-class qualifying set for 5:45 p.m. EDT Friday with live video provided by IMSA.tv beginning at 4:30 p.m. The green flag flies at 12:40 p.m. Saturday with live TV coverage set for FS2 beginning at 12:30 p.m. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and the IMSA smartphone app.
RICKY TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:
You’re heading back to Detroit, where the team has won three of the last four events, and you’re looking for your fifth win in five races this season. Your thoughts about keeping the momentum going this weekend?
“Detroit is such a tough race. The track is very bumpy and, with three classes of cars on the track, a lot can happen. I think it’s going to be about unloading from the trailer with a good-handling car because there isn’t much practice time. I don’t think it’s the kind of track where you will win on pure speed, although we took a big hit with the BOP (Balance of Performance) on horsepower and downforce. We still have a good shot. We have lost power and a lot of downforce. Downforce is king at a track like Belle Isle. We will focus on being good in a couple key sections of the track so we can race well. I’s also a short race – 100 minutes – but it will still probably be two pit stops for our Cadillac. Pit stops are an opportunity for our team to make up track position where we may have lost it on the track.”
Is it particularly satisfying to be able to do so well at Detroit, which is headquarters for Cadillac and the team’s longtime partner General Motors?
“Because of that, it really does feel somewhat like a home race for us. The pressure of representing Cadillac and GM there is obviously very exciting for us in that they are headquartered there, but also because it’s the automotive capital of the U.S. Considering how well we’ve done there, we can never lose sight of the fact Detroit is a tough track where we have to be very precise with where we place the car. It makes for a very intense hour and 40 minutes. That all adds up to make winning there all the more satisfying, for sure.”
As has become tradition on this weekend in recent years, you’re jetting off to France after Saturday’s race for mandatory testing for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, this time with the Keating Motorsports Riley MK30 Gibson LMP2-class team. Your thoughts about that opportunity?
“I’ve raced on the same track as Ben Keating for many years and he always does a great job. He’s one of the fastest gentlemen (racers) out there. To get an opportunity to go to Le Mans with a Riley and such a great organization is a really cool opportunity. The fact that we’re going to be the only one is exciting, to be something different than everyone else. There are Orecas and Dallaras mixed in there. It’s just fun to get to taste something else and get an opportunity with a new team that I know will have reliability and we can have a good run. It’s a good driver lineup, so I think we will be strong. I hope I can bring some experience from over here. Obviously, they have more P2 experience at Le Mans than I do running there the last couple of years. But these new P2 cars, it’s such a big jump from other years. I think it should be a good experience. I’m sure they’ll get up to speed quickly. Jeroen (Bleekemolen, co-driver) is awesome, so obviously he’ll have no problem. And Ben seems to make the most out of all of his opportunities, as well.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:
Your overall thoughts about heading back to Detroit in search of your fifth consecutive win to start the season at a track where the team has won three of the last four years?
“Detroit has always been a good track for us. We’ve had lots of success there. If you look at Detroit and Long Beach, the two street tracks where we race, those two and Daytona are our best tracks, so we always seem to go into the weekend knowing we have a good shot at it. After the last round of BoP changes, it’s definitely hurt our chances a bit. But these races have come down to execution, strategy, pit stops, not making mistakes, and the format of a 100-minute race like this weekend plays into a team like ours. Long Beach was one pit stop, this one will probably be two, so qualifying will be very important. It’s a tough track to pass on head-to-head against other cars in your class, but having the three different classes at Detroit, like it did at Long Beach, gives you the chance to make opportunistic moves using the slower traffic. It’ll be a lot like Long Beach. If we don’t have the fastest car, hopefully we can rely on race strategy and execution, which has always been our strong suit.”
Having won the first four races of the season, does it make you wonder what it will be like when the streak is finally broken?
“Winning streak or not, we go into every race focused on finding what it’s going to take to win it. That’s how we’ve approached this season since we first began testing our next Cadillac last year. It has been a dream start to the season, for sure, and in a lot of ways it still hasn’t sunk in. But the success we’ve had so far has been the result of a lot of hard work and preparation and that, too, has been a strength of this team and the entire organization. I mean, we’ve had more races than not the last several years where we’ve been really good, but one thing or another just took us out of contention. This year, it just so happens that we haven’t had those mistakes or incidents or failures, and that has to do with all the preparation that went into launching this new car. That’s not to mean we won’t run into trouble as we move forward. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing and working toward the maximum result and avoid that catastrophic kind of day where something causes us to finish last or close to it. We have a good-sized points lead and we just need to make sure we keep getting maximum points through the rest of the season.”
WAYNE TAYLOR, owner, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:
Your overall thoughts as the series heads to Detroit this weekend?
“We absolutely love having the opportunity to race at Detroit, which is the home race for Cadillac and our longtime partner GM, and the results have pretty much proven that. Long Beach is a very important race for our partner Konica Minolta and we were absolutely ecstatic to be able to win there for the third time in a row for them after finishing second the first year (2013), when we announced our primary sponsorship with them there. Likewise, winning three of the last four at Detroit at the most important race for GM is huge for us. We would have liked to have four wins in a row there but things didn’t go our way two years ago. Fortunately, we were able to rebound last year and this year we’re heading there having won four straight to start the season. Everyone on the team is ready. We need to go out and do what we know how to do and just make it happen, to find a way. Like always, our eyes are on the bigger prize of winning the championship, so earning maximum points each weekend is what we have to do from now until season’s end.”
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine