IMSA: Taylor Brothers win on the streets of Detroit


Ricky and Jordan Taylor scooped their second race win of the 2016 IMSA Weather Tech Sportscar Championship at Detroit’s Belle Isle circuit.

The brothers, sharing the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype, beat the pole-sitting #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa by 1.740 seconds.

Third overall was the #8 Starworks Motorsport Prototype Challenge car of Renger van der Zande and Alex Popow, which benefited from a series of problems for the other Prototype front runners. The #55 Mazda Prototype ultimately picked up third place in the top class with a seventh place finish overall.

The race was filled with incident, with the safety car making four appearances over the 100 minute contest. The first and longest stoppage was for a heavy crash involving the #90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP of Marc Goossens and the championship-leading #31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Eric Curran. Goossens lost his rear wing after 13 minutes when he tapped the tyre wall at turn seven, and without downforce spun hard into the barriers at turn 12.

Curran, unsighted on the exit of the corner, then ploughed into Goossens and sustained front-left suspension damage. Both drivers were unhurt, but the Visit Florida car was immediately retired and the Action Express lost 17 laps through repairs.

Eric Curran and Dane Cameron lost their championship lead at Belle Isle (Credit: IMSA)

At the start of the race, Fittipaldi led away cleanly and developed a healthy lead while Goossens  and Ricky Taylor battled for second position. Fittipaldi was helped further when Goossens and Curran collided, leaving just one DP rival to compete with.

Fittipaldi led until the only round of pit stops (prompted by a full course caution) at the halfway point. Quick services from both Action Express and Wayne Taylor Racing pit crews saw the lead order preserved, but things would change at the restart as Jordan Taylor chased down Barbosa through traffic.

Taylor slipped past on the first lap under green and managed his lead until the end. Barbosa finished a clear second, putting the #5 and #10 entries level on 151 points at the top of the championship.

The #55 Mazda completed the podium but Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito struggled for pace after a balance of performance ruling made the car heavier before the event. That was the only other car to finish on the lead lap, as the #70 Mazda of Tom Long and Joel Miller dropped to ninth overall following a pair of penalties and the #60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JSP2-Honda finished lost three laps in the pits.

Starworks triumphed in PC (Credit: IMSA)

In Prototype Challenge, Van der Zande and Popow took an overdue first win of the season after coming close at the previous three rounds. The pair were in the top three for most of the race after starting from the second row, and benefited greatly from pitting before the second full course caution.

Van der Zande emerged from the pits third in class, behind Colin Braun of CORE Autosport and Tom Kimber-Smith in the pole-sitting PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car. The Starworks driver quickly overtook Kimber-Smith, and was closing in on the lead when Braun rotated with four minutes to go.

 

Braun was able to recover, but Van der Zande had already zipped past and took victory by a margin of 3.474 seconds. Kimber-Smith finished a further seven seconds adrift in third, marginally ahead of Kyle Marcelli in the Performance Tech Motorsports machine. The result places Van der Zande and Popow ahead of Robert Alon and Kimber-Smith in the standings, 162 points to 159.

Dodge took class honours in its own back yard (Credit: IMSA)

GT Daytona saw Dodge Viper take its first win of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship after a close contest with the Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911. Ben Keating started from sixth in the #33 Viper and moved to the lead in his opening stint. Three full course cautions after the round of pit stops allowed cars that had pitted early, including the Viper, to preserve their fuel and save a splash at the end of the race. Keating led the race when he pitted, and when team-mate Jeroen Bleekemolen rejoined the track he was running second to the #96 BMW M6 of Jens Klingmann.

Klingmann still needed to pit, and when he did the lead transferred to Bleekemolen who took the chequered flag by 2.489 seconds from Jorg Bergmeister who had chased hard in the Park Place Porsche.

Pole man Bryan Sellers – driving the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan – had led the race early on, but an off-line moment heading into turn one off the first restart saw Robin Liddell take the lead in the Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8. Sellers and co-driver Madison Snow ultimately finished eighth, while Liddell and Andrew Davis settled for fifth.

Third and fourth went to the top two cars in the GTD championship. Scuderia Corsa extended its points lead with a podium finish for the Ferrari 488 pairing of Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan, ahead of the Alex Job Porsche driven by Mario Farnbacher and Alex Riberas.

The next round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship will be the six hour endurance race held at Watkins Glen, NY. on July 3.