The closing driver in the #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi V.R may have been different, but on Saturday the result was more of the same as Jordan Taylor – after watching his older brother and co-driver Ricky drive to victory in the opening two races on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar – made it three wins in a row by winning the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.
This time it was Jordan Taylor who had the wheel on the final stint in the Cadillac DPi, and it was a move in Turn 1 with five minutes remaining that was the winning manoeuvre. Taylor got a run on race-leader Ryan Dalziel down the frontstretch and swung around the outside of Dalziel’s #2 Tequila Patrón Nissan DPi, utilising GT lap traffic to pull ahead to a 6.349 second victory.
The win was also the Taylors’ third consecutive on the streets of Long Beach.
“Jordan was on a mission,” said Ricky Taylor, who joins his brother atop the WeatherTech Championship wins list with 10 wins. “I was out of the car, and when I looked at the timing screen it said there was 37 minutes to go. That was torture watching that. But at the same time, I wouldn’t want to be under the pressure that Jordan had to be under. I was nervous either way.”
The second-place finish for Dalziel and co-driver Scott Sharp was the Tequila Patron ESM team’s highest finish of the season, besting its fourth-place effort at Daytona. Dalziel led for much of the second half of the race, utilising pit strategy to move to the front of the Prototype field. He traded fastest laps with Jordan Taylor in the closing minutes before being slowed by a GT car, allowing Taylor to get by.
“We had the fastest car all weekend, but when we saw how fast Ryan was going we knew it was going to be a battle,” said Jordan Taylor. “Then I knew it would have to be him making a mistake or if we caught really heavy traffic. It’s difficult to judge where to brake when you’re offline, so when we hit traffic I was able to take advantage when a GTD car took the same line as Ryan and I had the open track.”
“There were plenty of race moments where things went well for me and bad for Jordan, but not always,” added Dalziel. “I hit the brakes, went one way, and it was the same as the GTD car. I tried to go the other way, but then I saw a big black Cadillac drive right by me and that was the end of it.”
It was first time in WeatherTech Championship history that the same car won the opening three races on the schedule. The Taylor brothers were joined in victory at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona by Jeff Gordon and Max Angelelli, and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida by Alex Lynn.
Three different manufacturers made up the top-three spots on the Prototype podium for the first time since Circuit of The Americas in 2014. Jonathan Bomarito and co-driver Tristan Nunez finished third in Mazda Motorsports’ No. 55 Mazda DPi, matching Mazda Motorsports’ best finish in the WeatherTech Championship Prototype class.
Rounding out the top five was the #85 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA of Stephen Simpson and Misha Goikhberg in fourth, and the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier of Will Owen and Tom Kimber-Smith in fifth.
Up next for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown at Circuit of The Americas on May 6. The two hour, 40-minute race features the return of the Prototype Challenge class, which did not compete at Long Beach.