A flawless race for Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac DPi-V.R during Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown at Circuit of The Americas ensured the team remain undefeated through four races in 2017.
After the first caution on Lap 1 for a multi-car GT Le Mans incident, Ricky Taylor in Wayne Taylor Racing’s pole-sitting No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R worked on building his gap over his Prototype competitors. After 45 minutes, the gap was 23 seconds back to Eric Curran who started the race in Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Cadillac.
The drivers in both of Mazda Motorsports’ Mazda RT24-P cars, meanwhile, reported issues and were forced to visit pit lane for repairs. The No. 55 experienced a loss of power and the No. 70 suffered issues with turbo boost pressure. The Soul Red No. 55 car was officially retired just inside the final 40 minutes of the race.
After starting 1-2-3 overall, the trio of Cadillac-powered DPi cars ran first, second and fifth as the race’s closing stages arrived.
After taking over from his brother Ricky in the No. 10 car, which lost the lead only once during pit stops 30 minutes into the race, Jordan Taylor entered the final half hour of the race with a comfortable lead over Dane Cameron who had taken over for Curran in the No. 31 Cadillac.
Not long after climbing into the car to relieve Ricky, Jordan returned the Wayne Taylor Racing car to the pits with 27 minutes to go for a quick splash of fuel. Cameron was 44.852 seconds back in second while Ryan Dalziel ran third in Tequila Patron ESM’s No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi.
The No. 2 Nissan would only last the first two hours and 30 minutes of the two-hour, 40-minute contest, however. Dalziel was forced to pull the car off the track and hurry out of the cockpit when the rear of the Ligier JS P217-based car caught fire.
The field was tightened up behind the safety car during the full-course caution that resulted, with green-flag racing returning in time for a five-minute sprint to the checkered flag.
Jordan Taylor took the white flag with a 17.682-second lead over Cameron, who was tasked with keeping Joao Barbosa in Action Express’ sister No. 5 Cadillac behind.
Completing his 73rd lap, Taylor took the checkers to secure the fourth consecutive overall win for the Wayne Taylor-led team, with 18.855 seconds being the gap back to Cameron.
Cameron and Barbosa held their positions through to the checkers, allowing Action Express to complete a 1-2-3 result for the impressive Cadillacs.
After battling with Barbosa for the position into the final stages of the race, Stephen Simpson brought the No. 85 Gibson-powered ORECA 07 of JDC-Miller Motorsports home in fourth.
Despite nearly reaching the podium with its No. 2 car for the second race in succession, Tequila Patron ESM could do no better than fifth, with Johannes van Overbeek rounding out the top five in the sister No. 22 machine.
Dalziel and the No. 2 car are scored as the 27th-place finishers on the overall results.
Renger van der Zande finished seventh in class and 30th overall in Visit Florida Racing’s No. 90 Riley Mk. 30, with Joel Miller in the No. 70 Mazda and Marco Bonanomi in the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports finishing eighth and ninth as the last Prototype cars to make it to the checkers.
Performance Tech Dominates
Performance Tech Motorsports executed a flawless race of their own, with James French and Pato O’Ward taking top honors among the three-car Prototype Challenge field.
French started from pole and maintained the position in the team’s No. 38 ORECA FLM09 as the race got underway.
Stefan Wilson, making his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut with BAR1 Motorsports, slotted into the second position behind the wheel of the No. 26 machine with the No. 20 bringing up the rear of the class.
During pit stops under the race’s second full-course caution for a spun Lamborghini, Nick Boulle replaced Wilson in the No. 26 BAR1 car and proceeded to chase French, who continued to lead the class by 13 seconds with one hour and 15 minutes elapsed.
Pato O’Ward entered the closing stages of the race in the lead having supplanted French in the Performance Tech entry. Nick Boulle ran second in the No. 26 car he shared with Wilson for the weekend while Buddy Rice was down in the 32nd overall position in the No. 20 BAR1 car.
O’Ward would cruise to an easy victory over the BAR1 duo, finishing sixth overall behind the top five Prototype cars.
Boulle finished in the ninth overall position in BAR1’s No. 26 entry while Rice remained in 32nd through to the checkers.
The Prototype and PC divisions of the WeatherTech Championship will race next on Detroit’s Belle Isle as part of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the weekend of June 2–3.