IMSA: Taylors among several who extend win streaks at COTA

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R continued its win streak in the fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor dominated the weekend in Prototype thanks in large part to an incredible setup from the off from the Wayne Taylor Racing team.

This means they’ve now won more races in the first four races this year than they did all of last year, three, on four entirely different types of circuits and race lengths – in spite of various Balance of Performance adjustments assessed in the opening weekends.

“It was really nice today,” said Ricky Taylor. “It was one of the best race cars I’ve ever had. The team has just done an amazing preparation for this car. We’re just getting to know it more and more. Every race weekend we’re learning. This weekend, it shows how much we’ve developed through the year. We unloaded off the truck really strong, then qualified really well. It was fantastic.”

Action Express Racing returned to the podium after a nightmare Long Beach, with defending class champions Dane Cameron and Eric Curran second in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac ahead of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac.

The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Stephen Simpson and Misha Goikhberg ended fourth for the third straight race with the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi completing the top five in the hands of Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown. The second Nissan, Ryan Dalziel’s and Scott Sharp’s, was poised for a podium before a late fire within the final seven minutes.

What looked like a golden opportunity for BMW Team RLL and its BMW M6 GTLM to finally break through in GT Le Mans went awry even after both cars survived a five-car pileup in class at the first turn of the first lap.

Corvette Racing seized its chance with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia moving forward early, Magnussen climbing from sixth to third at the first lap, and then taking the lead in his No. 3 Corvette C7.R. Once over to Garcia the car was never headed the rest of the day. It’s Corvette Racing’s third straight win as a team, with the No. 3 adding this win to its Sebring win, and what should have been a Long Beach win was picked up by the sister No. 4 car.

“I definitely made the right choice to pick the inside line,” said Magnussen. “Everything was happening on the outside and a few cars got in big trouble and had some heavy damage. I’m really happy I escaped all that without a scratch.”

BMW’s No. 25 and 24 cars finished second and third, short of a win but at least on the podium. The No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR was fourth, and the other five cars in class were all damaged or out as a result of the first turn chaos.

GT Daytona saw the Mercedes-AMG GT3 win its third straight race, in the hands of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes AMG-GT3 for the second time. This is Keating’s fourth class win in five COTA starts, and Bleekemolen’s third in five.

Scuderia Corsa banked another podium with defending champions Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan in their No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3, while the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored its second podium of the year with Tristan Vautier and Kenny Habul.

Performance Tech Motorsports also carried its win streak through to a third straight event, with James French and Pato O’Ward top of the three-car Prototype Challenge class in its No. 38 Oreca FLM09.

Next up for IMSA is Detroit in June, except for the GTLM class, which is off until Watkins Glen in July to allow teams competing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans to prep for that.