Wayne Taylor Racing’s Ricky and Jordan Taylor rode around Circuit of the Americas in style in their No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R en route to victory for the Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown, round four of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Patricio O’Ward and James French took the Prototype Challenge class victory in the No. 39 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca while Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen survived a chaotic battle to take the GT Le Mans win in their Corvette C7.R. Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating drove their Riley Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 from eighth place to win in GT Daytona.
Wayne Taylor Racing continues to control the championship one race at a time with their fourth win in as many races. After capturing the Pole Position by a whole 1.5 seconds, Ricky Taylor wasted no time in opening up a multi-second lead. No competition stood in Ricky’s way before handing the car over to Jordan. Not to be outdone by his brother, Jordan captured the fastest race lap on his way to the checkered flag, not allowing anyone past for the rest of the race.
Despite running the same platform as the championship-leading WTR team, the two Action Express Racing teams fought hard to remain on the podium a year after making in-race contact with each other. The Nos. 31 and 5 Cadillacs swapped position throughout the 72 lap race, but Joao Barbosa dropped down to sixth through late-race pit stops giving second to Eric Curran and Dane Cameron.
Ryan Dalziel looked slated to complete the podium in the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan, but a fire broke out in the engine compartment with nine minutes remaining in the race. Barbosa capitalized on ESM’s tragedy to claim the final podium step with teammate Christian Fittipaldi.
O’Ward and French didn’t have quite as easy of a time on their way to the PC class win with Nicholas Boulle leading the middle portion of the race in the No. 26 Bar1 Motorsports entry. With only three cars in the class, Boulle had no problem finishing runner up with Stefan Wilson ahead of Buddy Rice and Don Yount in the No. 20 Bar1 machine.
A first lap skirmish thinned the GTLM field as contact between Dirk Mueller’s Ford GT put Giancarlo Fisichella’s Ferrari 458 into the No. 67 Ford GT, collecting Wolf Henzler’s Porsche. Magnussen avoided the incident before handing the No. 3 Corvette over to Garcia. A luckily-timed pit stop just ahead of the second full course yellow for a stranded GTD Lamborghini put the Corvette out front, where Garcia held position to the checkered flag.
The BMW M6 GTLM of John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk looked strong from pole position through the early part of the race. The ill-timed second yellow flag put the No. 24 M6 GTLM behind the Corvette while the sister No. 25 car leap-frogged them in the second round of pit stops. Alexander Sims and Bill Auberlen held onto second to complete the race ahead of the sister car, giving BMW their first podiums of the season.
The 17-entry GTD field saw four class leaders throughout the race in the form of the Riley Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3, Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, Madison Snow’s Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini and Katherine Legge’s Acura NSX GT3. Mathieu Jaminet led early on in the Alegra Porsche before handing the car over to Daniel Morad in the first pit stop. At the same time, Keating drove a safe race through the early laps picking up two positions before handing the AMG GT3 over to Bleekemolen.
A great battle broke out between Bleekemolen in the Mercedes and Morad in the Porsche, echoing the great battle between the two competitors a week earlier at Virginia International Raceway. The final pit stop saw Alegra Motorsports switch Morad for Jaminet, who came back out fifth in class, but eventually fell back to seventh. Bleekemolen, meanwhile, maintained his lead over the Paul Miller Racing Lamborhini and a late race charge from Scuderia Corsa’s Alessandro Balzan.
Balzan was able to get around the Lamborghini for second in the closing stages of the race, while Tristan Vautier was on a tear through the field. Vautier’s Sun1 Energy Racing Mercedes came out of the final round of pit stops in sixth. He was able to get passed Jaminet and the Turner Motorsports BMW of Jens Klingmann before the final yellow flag, brought out by the Nissan’s fire. Vautier forced his way past Seller’s Lamborghini on the restart with an opportune dive to the inside of Turn 1. The pass was not without contact, but ensured Vautier and Sun1 Energy the final step on the podium.
Today’s race was not broadcast live on television, nor online with video, despite in-car live video and IMSA Radio coverage. The Advanced Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown will be broadcast tonight on FS1 at 7:00 PM Eastern.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship hits the track next on June 2 for the Chevrolet SportsCar Classic on Belle Isle in Cadillac’s home of Detroit. The 100-minute sprint will be broadcast live on FS2 at 12:30 PM Eastern Saturday June 2.