Wayne Taylor Racing

Rolex 24 champs come up short in close finish to 12 Hours of Sebring

1 Comment

Had the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. passed just one more car in the closing laps of Saturday’s 12 Hours of Sebring, the team would have won all three of North America’s premier sports car races in succession.

With Jordan Taylor closing the race behind the wheel, the No. 10 finished second to Action Express’ No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R. by just 1.030 seconds – the closest overall finish in race history.

WTR entered the weekend coming off back-to-back victories in the 2018 season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta and this year’s Rolex 24 season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

Despite finishing second, it was all smiles for Taylor, who shared the entry with Renger van de Zande and Mattieu Vaxiviere.

We had a third-place car all day, so to finish second was good,” Taylor said. “I think we overshot what we were capable of today. It was a good points day. We would have loved to win Sebring again, but I didn’t think it was worth a huge risk for the points to make a move there at the end. I am happy with second, and we will go on to Long Beach.”

Indeed, the team’s runner-up finish was an achievement to celebrate. They began the race with an unscheduled pit stop to correct an overheating problem. Not long after, there was more bad luck with a pit-road speeding penalty, forcing the car off the lead lap for a time.

But with plenty of hours remaining, the team was able to get back up front by the second half of the race, and Taylor found himself in position to take the win from Felipe Nasr in the No. 31 on the final restart with 7 minutes to go.

However, Nasr quickly stepped on the gas coming to the green, leaving Taylor in his dust and ultimately pulling away to the checkered flag.

Even so, WTR knew it was still a great day in regards to the DPi championship. Having traded wins in the first 2 races with the No. 31 Action Express team, the teams are tied atop the class standings.

“It was a long race and I think we did well in the end,” van de Zande said. “We missed out a little bit on speed compared to the guys who won, but we made the most out of it apart from that. Being second here is good points. It kept our podium streak alive, and there were a lot of positives. We would’ve loved to have won this one, but you can’t always have it all. It’s fine. It’s OK.”

The next race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix, which will take place on the streets of Long Beach, California, on April 13. Coverage will begin at 4:30pm ET on NBCSN.

Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

Leave a comment

Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”