Detroit IMSA: Taylors take fifth straight victory

In the shadow of the Renaissance Center, Ricky and Jordan Taylor and the entire Wayne Taylor Racing crew did everything right and nothing wrong to defeat the similar Cadillac DPi-V.R of Action Express Racing’s Dane Cameron and Eric Curran.

Detroit IMSA: Taylors take fifth straight victory

Christian Fittipaldi took the lead at the start in the #5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R with Misha Goikhberg’s JDC-Miller Oreca beating Eric Curran’s AXR Caddy into third, and Jonathan Bomarito and Tom Long in fourth and fifth in the two Mazda DPi-24Ps. Behind them, Scott Sharp’s ESM Nissan DPi in sixth.

Behind them, Ricky Taylor had some strong opening laps to make up for yesterday’s shunt so that he was up to seventh by Lap 4, chased by Renger Van Der Zande’s VisitFlorida.com Multimatic Riley.

Curran hassled Goikhberg into an error on Lap 9 and grabbed third, with Bomarito almost following the Cadillac through. Two laps later, Taylor and Van Der Zande got ahead of Sharp’s Nissan. Taylor kept his momentum going and passed Long’s Mazda for fifth on Lap 13, and was soon closing on Bomarito. He was close enough to see JBom and Goikhberg exchange positions twice, and wisely ran wide rather than get involved in a three-wide moment at the end of the main straight, but he was still within 9sec of the leader and this race was far from over.

Van Der Zande then got impaled by a wild Kenny Habul in the SunEnergy1 Mercedes GTD car on Lap 20, 27mins into the 1h40m race, bringing out the full-course yellow.

This triggered a pitstop flurry and Dane Cameron took over the #31 from Curran and also got the jump on the AXR Cadillac #5, now taken over by Joao Barbosa. And yet again it was a Cadillac 1-2-3 as Wayne Taylor Racing got its car, now driven by Jordan Taylor, ahead of the Mazdas which had exchanged places, and now had Joel Miller in the #70 Tristan Nunez in the #55. Stephen Simpson was down to sixth in the JDC Miller Oreca, Ryan Dalziel was seventh in the #2 Nissan DPi having replaced Sharp, with Johannes van Overbeek replacing Ed Brown in the #22 Nissan.

At the restart with 55 minutes to go, Miller jumped his Mazda ahead of both Taylor and Barbosa to grab second! When Taylor couldn’t separate Barbosa from third, the laptimes settled down as drivers sought to save fuel. Cameron ran about 4sec ahead of Miller but wasn’t threatening Curran’s best lap from earlier in the race.

Strategy came into play by topping up with fuel on Lap 33, under 45mins to go. Barbosa pitted the #5 Cadillac, and Nunez did the same with the #55 Mazda. A lap later, Simpson did the same with the Oreca, and on Lap 35 Jordan Taylor did likewise. He emerged ahead of Barbosa who was trapped behind the van Overbeek Nissan.

Miller stopped the #70 Mazda on Lap 36, and emerged ahead of Barbosa but behind the charging Taylor who was trying to see if he could also jump Cameron when he pitted the leading Cadillac. The lead dropped as low as 26sec as Cameron made his way through a cluster of GTD cars but then Taylor also hit them, and the lead went out to 31sec.

Through traffic, Simpson demoted Nunez to sixth and quickly closed on Barbosa, while AXR continued to risk losing their leader to a full-course caution, the other risk being that Taylor would jump them on pace.

Which is exactly what happened. Finally Cameron pitted on Lap 49 with 21mins to go and a 28sec lead but it was not even close to working out. Taylor had a 6.4sec at the end of Lap 50 and appeared to be heading for the team’s fifth straight win. Cameron had fewer than 20mins to pare that back.

Past the pits, Simpson tried an overoptimistic pass along the inside of Barbosa with 10mins to go that looped him into a spin right in front of Nunez who did well to dodge around the broadside yellow Oreca to reclaim fifth.

Up front, GTD traffic saw the lead concertina a bit but Taylor eventually crossed the line 4.9sec ahead to score the team’s fifth straight victory. Miller was a further half-minute behind for Mazda, 5.5sec ahead of Barbosa who in turn beat Nunez and Simpson. Van Overbeek was seventh in the lead Nissan DPi , while Dalziel in the second Nissan had a late skirmish with the scenery and limped to the pits.

GT Daytona

Lawson Aschenbach led from class pole in the Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS, with Katherine Legge putting the Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX into  second, but she was trapped behind Tomy Drissi’s Prototype Challenge entry,  and in a dozen laps she was almost a dozen seconds behind.

Not far behind her were Bryan Sellers in the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan, Daniel Morad’s #28 Porsche and Corey Lewis in the Change Racing Lambo, with Scott Pruett holding down sixth in the 3GT Racing Lexus RC F.

Almost simultaneous with Habul’s shunt (see above), championship leader shunted another Mercedes, the Riley Motorsports #33, going straight on at Turn 8, tearing off his right-front wheel and having to limp back to the pits where he retired.

After the stops and the restart, Andy Lally was in for Legge and both his Acura and the Alessandro Balzan-driven #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 was ahead of Andrew Davis who took over the Stevenson Audi from Aschenbach. Fourth ran the second MSR Acura, now driven by Jeff Segal, ahead of Madison Snow’s in the PMR Lamborghini and Jens Klingmann in the Turner Motorsports BMW M6.

Davis suddenly fell off the pace and off the podium on Lap 42, which gave the Acuras a 1-3.

Over the closing laps, Snow and Klingmann kept the pressure on Segal’s Acura and with three minutes to go, Snow muscled Segal out of the way and Klingmann also grabbed the opportunity, demoting the second Acura to fifth place.

Sage Karam just about held off fellow ex-IndyCar driver and Lexus teammate Jack Hawksworth to claim sixth.

In Prototype Challenge, James French lay down the foundation for Performance Tech Motorsports glory – another fifth straight win – with teammate Pato O’Ward driving on to beat the Drissi/Bruno Junqueira-piloted BAR1 Motorsports entry.

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