Wayne Taylor Racing Looking for Book Ends

Jordan Taylor,Renger van der Zande

Bookending the 2019 season with another win to go with its victorious opening effort at the Rolex 24 At Daytona is one goal for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R duo of Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande, along with added third endurance driver Matthieu Vaxivière, at this weekend’s Petit Le Mans at newly named Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Another goal for the two-time and defending Petit Le Mans race winners will be clinching their first-ever Michelin Endurance Cup championship-within-a-championship where teams score points based on their performance during key time intervals at the season’s four iconic endurance events – Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, and Saturday’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans.

So, not only will where in the field the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R’s takes the checkered flag be of utmost importance, so will its track position Saturday at the race’s four- and eight-hour marks. The team arrives at the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course with a two-point advantage over the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Endurance Cup standings. Nine points back in third is the No. 55 Team Joest Mazda while the twin Team Penske Acuras are tied for fourth, 11 points back.

If the team is successful in replicating its dramatic, last-lap victory in last year’s Petit Le Mans, in which van der Zande chased down Filipe Albuquerque of the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and passed him for the lead just two turns from the checkered flag, the Endurance Cup will be a forgone conclusion. A win Saturday night would also enable the team to go from sixth to fourth in the season-long championship, leapfrogging the Team Joest Mazdas who are currently tied for fourth in the standings, just one point ahead of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.

Last we saw in North America of Vaxivière, the 24-year-old French driver who competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series, he helped orchestrate the team’s solid runner-up finish at this year’s Sebring round in mid-March alongside Taylor and van der Zande that made the team an early favorite to win its second season-long championship in three years.

While those overall championship hopes eventually left the team’s grasp, a fourth-place finish at Watkins Glen the last weekend of June kept its Endurance Cup title hopes very much alive.

Saturday’s race, the team’s milestone 150th since it came to be prior to the 2007 season, offers more than its fair share of motivation. And, for what it’s worth, when the team celebrated its 100th race at the 2014 Petit Le Mans, it ended in most fitting fashion as Taylor, his older brother Ricky Taylor and veteran Italian Max “The Ax” Angelelli powered their way to the its first-ever victory in the iconic event. Safe to say, the team is poised to pull out all the stops to try and ensure the season finale is yet another memorable one.

Practice for the Petit Le Mans begins Thursday with DPi-class qualifying set for 4:45 p.m. EDT Friday with live streaming video at IMSA.tv and the IMSA mobile app beginning at 3:45 p.m. The green flag for Saturday’s 10-hour race flies at 12:05 p.m. with live television beginning on NBC at noon. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and the IMSA mobile app.

JORDAN TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

Your thoughts about heading to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for Saturday’s season-ending Petit Le Mans?

“I’m very excited to be back at Road Atlanta this week for the Petit Le Mans. It’s one of my favorite races on the calendar. Unfortunately this year we aren’t racing for the overall championship, but we’ll be racing for the Endurance Cup. We’ve never won that championship. In 2017, we won both Daytona and Sebring, but we had bad rounds at Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta. So, hopefully we can have a good weekend and wrap up the Endurance Cup. We have a small BoP (Balance of Performance) break coming into the race this week – a little bit of weight off, about 15 kilos, so that should help around Road Atlanta. Every year we go there with the Cadillac, we’re competitive. In 2017, we had quick car but, unfortunately, we had a mechanical problem. And, obviously we won last year, so we’re hoping to follow that up this year with another win.”

You won last year’s race in highly dramatic fashion. What do you remember about those closing laps?

“The end of Petit Le Mans last year was crazy exciting. I remember sitting in the pit stand waiting for it to finish. It turned into a fuel-mileage race and we were just telling Renger to save fuel and the race would eventually come to us. It came later than we expected so we stressed a lot more but, thankfully, when we got to turns 10A and 10B on the last lap, we were able to make the pass for the lead and win our second Petit Le Mans.”

The season-long championship is out of reach this weekend. How would you sum up the team’s 2019 run heads into the finale?

“We had a great start to the year by winning Daytona and following up with a second-place finish at Sebring, so we were very hopeful of battling for the championship at this point. Unfortunately, we’re not in that spot. It kind of got away from us midseason. We had a bunch of consistent finishes but two bad ones that really killed our chances. Now, we can go to Road Atlanta and take all the risks we want and try and win another Petit Le Mans.”

RENGER VAN DER ZANDE, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

Your thoughts about heading to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for Saturday’s season-ending Petit Le Mans?

“We were aiming for the overall championship but there was no chance, really, to fight for that. That’s the way it is. Out of that, we did very well in the first two races and it leads to the fact we’re fighting for the Endurance Cup, now. It is a championship, it’s not the main championship, but it’s a very important championship because, after all, we are in endurance racing. So, we’re going to fight to get that done this weekend at Road Atlanta. Going to Petit Le Mans, it’s a race where a lot can happen. There can be a lot of chaos with strategy calls and a lot of cars normally falling off the track. So there’s a good chance you can win it even if you’re not the quickest. We’re focused most on the four-hour, eight-hour and 10-hour marks to make sure we’re scoring the points for the Endurance Cup. At the same time, finishing the season with a win like we did last year is a fantastic motivation into the winter, and we also won Daytona after that, so it’s something that can really pay off in the season after.”

You pulled off an incredible last-lap victory in this race last year. Your thoughts on that?

“It was an incredible performance by the whole team last year. As a driver, you’re depending on your own racecraft, how the car is behaving, how the race is evolving, how the car is set up for the weekend, and then most of all it’s a team effort executing pit stops and strategy. The nice thing last year was we were the ones saving fuel at the end and making the right calls from the pit wall to the car and to make sure we had enough to get to the end. The guys we were fighting played their cards a little too early and I think that’s the reason we won. From a driver’s point of view, it’s fantastic that I was trying everything to stay in contention and, all of a sudden, the car ahead slows down because he is out of fuel. It was a real team effort and I was happy with my own performance, as well. It’s for sure one I will never forget, a great one to look back on, and it’ll be great to go back there this week.”

MATTHIEU VAXIVIÈRE, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

Your thoughts about heading to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for Saturday’s season-ending Petit Le Mans?

“I’m really glad to be back with the team for the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta this weekend. I learned the track on the simulator at Dallara in Indy and the track looks really mega. So I’m really looking forward to attacking the track for real this weekend.”

How much do you think your first outing with the team at Sebring earlier this season will help you this weekend?

“My experience at Sebring will help me, for sure. I don’t need to discover the team and the car again. I just need to learn the track in-person. But I will be ready because the team is prepared for this race this weekend and I’m looking forward to being back with Jordan and Renger and we will work together to find the solutions we need to conquer this track and this race.”

WAYNE TAYLOR, owner, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R:

Your overall thoughts as you head to Road Atlanta with the Michelin Endurance Cup championship at stake?

“It’s always been one of my favorite races. We won it the first time we went back there in 2014, we won it again in a very exciting way last year, and I’m proud to have won the very first Petit Le Mans back in 1998. Given the fact the overall championship isn’t going to happen, we’re pretty determined to win the Endurance Cup for the first time ever as a team. Even the years we won driver and team championships, somebody else took the Endurance Cup. So that can be a very special thing to remember this season by. And we can climb as high as fourth in the overall championship with a good run, which gives us plenty of momentum heading into the weekend.”

Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Team Report

Round 10 of 10 – Petit Le Mans – Road Atlanta

At-Track PR Contact: Laz Denes with True Speed Communication (256-717-8014 or Laz.Denes@TrueSpeedCommunication.com).

Event: Ten-hour IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. (2.54 mile, 12-turn road course).

Broadcast (race time 12:05 p.m. EDT Saturday): NBC – noon to 3 p.m.; NBC Sports App/NBCSports.com – 3 to 5:30 p.m.; NBCSN – 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday qualifying – 3:45 to 5 p.m. (DPi class at 4:45 p.m.) via IMSA.tv and the IMSA mobile app.

Driver Lineup:

Driver: Jordan Taylor

Birthdate: May 10, 1991

Birthplace: Orlando, Florida

Residence: Apopka, Florida

Personal: Single

Driver: Renger van der Zande

Birthdate: Feb. 16, 1986

Birthplace: Dodewaard, Netherlands

Residence: Amsterdam

Personal: Wife, Carlijn

Daughter, Lola

Son, Lux

Driver: Matthieu Vaxivière

Birthdate: Dec. 3, 1994

Birthplace: Limoges, France

Residence: Bordeaux, France

Personal: Single

Primary Crew Members:

Owner: Wayne Taylor (Port Elizabeth, South Africa)

Team Manager: Travis Houge (Dolliver, Iowa)

Crew Chief: Chris Bennett (Indianapolis)

Race Engineer: Brian Pillar (Alliston, Ontario, Canada)

Asst. Engineer: Adam Banet (Floyd Knobs, Ind.)

Mechanics/Crew: Chad Hurst (Speedway, Ind.), Brett Knostman (Orange, Calif.), Michael Langston (Pearl, Miss.), Hali Money (Brownsburg, Ind.), Bill Mullen (Hamilton, Ohio), Chris Seaman (Hamburg, Pa.) Keith Stein (Highland, Ind.), Nicholas Voils (Indianapolis).

Truck Driver: Paul Sheehan (Olivia, Minn.)

Over-the-Wall Crew Members:

Front Tire Changer: Michael Langston

Rear Tire Changer: Chris Bennett

Airjack: Nick Voils

Fueler: Chris Seaman

Fire Bottle: Brett Knostman

Driver Change Assist: Bill Mullen

Tire Assist: Paul Sheehan

Deadperson: Hali Money

Tire Carrier: Brett Knostman

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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