Petit Le Mans Preview – Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R: Taylor, van der Zande, Hunter-Reay

Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Team Laser Focused on Race Win With No Championship at Stake at Season-Ending Petit Le Mans

BRASELTON, Georgia (Oct. 9, 2018) – The late Al Davis had a simple but extremely popular motto when he was owner of the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders: “Just win, baby!” 

Fittingly, that also happens to be theme this weekend for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R and its drivers Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Ryan Hunter-Reay as they close out the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season at the 21st annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. 

They arrive at the picturesque, 2.54-mile, 12-turn natural road circuit northeast of downtown Atlanta third in the championship with an insurmountable 19-point deficit to the first-place No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R and 15 points behind the second-place No. 54 Core Autosport Oreca LMP2 entry. 

With zero pressure to race for maximum points in Saturday’s 10-hour endurance marathon, the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team will be pulling out all the stops in its quest for the race win, like it did in winning the 2014 Petit Le Mans, the last time it arrived at a season finale with no hopes of winning the season-long championship. 

A secondary theme for the team might also be, “My what a difference a year makes.” After five consecutive victories to open the 2017 season and another pair of podium finishes in the next four events, the team arrived at Road Atlanta with a 29-point lead in the standings. It clinched the championship – the team’s first title since 2013 – simply by taking the green flag to start the race. 

With their sights set on a successful defense of the 2017 championship, Taylor, van der Zande, Hunter-Reay and the team got off to a highly inauspicious start with an early retirement and 15th-place result at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. They rebounded with a solid second-place finish at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, another podium on the streets of Long Beach, California, and a string of five top-five finishes that got the team within 12 points of the championship lead heading to the penultimate race last month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. A pole qualifying effort at Laguna Seca left the team hopeful it could take another chunk out of the points deficit, but a mechanical issue just 39 minutes into the race forced another early retirement and ended the team’s championship hopes. 

A win Saturday would be the team’s first this season and would make it 15 consecutive seasons with at least one victory since team owner Wayne Taylor and his longtime co-driver and business partner Max “The Ax” Angelelli first started racing the No. 10 prototype in what was formerly known as the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004. 

It has been quite the humbling season for the 2017 champions, but capping it off with a Petit Le Mans victory like the one they earned in 2014 would go a long way toward making the offseason a much more pleasant one, and certainly would provide some positive momentum as it prepares for the 2019 campaign. 

Practice for Saturday’s Petit Le Mans begins Thursday morning with Prototype-class qualifying set for 4:45 p.m. EDT Friday. The green flag for the 10-hour, 40-minute race flies at 11:05 a.m. Saturday with live television beginning on FS1 at 10:30 a.m. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at and the IMSA smartphone app. 

RYAN HUNTER-REAY, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R: 

What a difference a year makes, right? A year ago the team showed up at Road Atlanta and the championship was a mere formality and this year it is out of reach. What’s your and the team’s mindset this time around? 

“The mindset is just to send it – go for the win, whatever it takes. We’d really like to end this season on a high note.” 

With no pressure of a championship at stake, how does that change the way the team approaches this race and what kind of freedoms you have to do things differently than normal? 

“With no points scenarios at stake it allows the drivers and the team to be more aggressive both on track and with strategy. Obviously, we’d much rather be in the position of securing a championship, but we can still end the season on a major high with momentum rolling into 2019.” 

Your thoughts about driving at Road Atlanta … fun parts, challenging parts, etc.? 

“Road Atlanta is certainly one of the trickier tracks to get your head around because of all the blind crests and curbs. I find that you have to be very precise with car placement here and that can be difficult at times depending on tire life and track temp.” 


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