Taylor brothers continue epic 2017 run with Detroit triumph

by Paul Hensby

Ricky and Jordan Taylor continued their dominance in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship as they climbed from the back of the Prototype field to clinch win five out of five around the streets of Detroit on Saturday.

Ricky Taylor’s crash during qualifying on Friday relegated the #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R to twelfth in class, with the #5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi starting at the front of the field.

Trying to make amends for his crash, Taylor moved into the midfield early on before handing over the car to brother Jordan during the races only full course caution period on lap eighteen, with the younger Taylor breaking the Belle Isle lap record as he moved up into second.

The #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Dane Cameron was leading the race at this point, but with final pit stops still to be made, Cameron could not build enough advantage over Taylor, with the #10 hitting the front of the field on lap 49, a position he would comfortably maintain until the chequered flag.

The podium was completed by the impressive duo of Joel Miller and Tom Long in the #70 Mazda Motorsports DPi, albeit 34.502 seconds down on the race winners, while polesitters Barbosa and Fittipaldi were a further 5.005 seconds down in fourth, just ahead of Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito.

Stephen Simpson was on course for fourth but spun whilst attempting a pass Barbosa, meaning the South African and team-mate Mikhail Goikhberg were forced to settle for sixth.

Much like the prototype class, the Prototype Challenge class championship continues to be dominated by one team, with the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports entry of James French and Patricio O’Ward dominated, beating the two BAR1 Motorsports Oreca’s into second and third, the #26 ahead of the #20.

Andy Lally and Katherine Legge gave Acura their first IMSA win in Detroit – Credit: Richard Dole / LAT Images courtesy of IMSA

With the GT Le Mans class not racing in Detroit, the GT Daytona class were the focal point, and it was the Michael Shank Racing Acura that took the spoils, with Andy Lally and Katherine Legge coming out on top as the top ten in class finishing within 11.563 seconds.

It was the first win in the championship for Acura, although the early laps were dominated by the #57 of Lawson Aschenbach and Andrew Davis, but they had a slow pit stop during the full course caution to drop down the field and then a drive-line problem ended their race on lap forty-three.

Second in class was the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Alessandro Balzan and Christina Nielsen, with the duo ending just 2.441 seconds down on the winners, and they take over at the top of the GTD standings, while the podium was completed by the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow.

A drive-through penalty for the #28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche for a pit lane offence ended their chances of a podium, with Daniel Morad and Mathieu Jaminet ending tenth in class at the chequered flag.

The one caution period was caused by Ben Keating crashing his #33 Riley Motorsports – Team AMG Mercedes into the wall after hitting one of Detroit’s many bumps, with the incident ripping the front right wheel from the car.

On the same lap, Kenny Habul in the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes clashed with the #90 VisitFlorida Racing Multimatic/Riley of Renger van der Zande at turn three, with both cars retiring from the race.

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