It’s back to endurance-racing mode for Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande and their No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
The second half of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship kicks off with Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on the iconic Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International road course, and the team finds itself with some ground to make up over the final five events if it is to hoist the championship trophy at season’s end for the second time in three years.
Huge momentum after a resounding victory at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona followed by a solid runner-up finish at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring got sidetracked by race-day issues that led to results of 10th and ninth, respectively, on the street courses in Long Beach, Calif., and Detroit, which sandwiched a sixth-place finish at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.
Consequently, Taylor, van der Zande and the team find themselves fifth in the championship, 17 points out of first, but arrive at Watkins Glen filled with the hope and confidence they can get back to the business of winning races in bunches.
It’s been the endurance races in particular where the team has proven to excel, of late, with a pair of wins and a runner-up finish to show for it. Taylor, van der Zande were joined by IndyCar star Ryan Hunter-Reay in their dramatic victory at last year’s 10-hour, season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, and promptly followed that up with their victory alongside Formula One veteran Fernando Alonso and former Formula One and current FIA World Endurance Championship regular Kamui Kobayashi at the Rolex 24. Then, at Sebring, a mere 1.030 seconds at the finish separated Taylor, van der Zande and third co-driver Matthieu Vaxivière of France from the team’s third consecutive endurance-racing victory.
With this year’s Daytona and Sebring results, the team is tied for the lead in the Michelin Endurance Cup “championship within the championship,” where points are accumulated in the four marathon races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta. Maintaining that position will be one of the team’s priorities at The Glen this weekend, and if successful, it will re-inject some much-need momentum it hopes will last through the latter half of 2019.
Practice for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen begins Friday morning with DPi-class qualifying set for 12:25 p.m. EDT Saturday with live streaming video via IMSA.tv and the IMSA Mobile App beginning at 11:25 a.m. The green flag for Sunday’s six-hour race flies at 9:45 a.m. with television coverage by NBCSN set for 7 to 10 p.m. Live video coverage of the entire race is available via the NBC Sports App and at NBCSports.com from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and via the IMSA smartphone app.