Three Cadillac DPi-V.R race cars are getting ready to compete this weekend in the top-most class of IMSA SportsCar Championship racing, as the series heads west to the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 13th through the 14th. The Spirit of Daytona Cadillac will skip this round as it repairs the damage incurred at last month’s Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, leaving the Whelen Engineering, Mustang Sampling, and Konica Minolta (Wayne Taylor) racing teams to represent GM’s premium brand at the first short race of the season.
Where the first two rounds of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Daytona and Sebring run for 24 and 12 hours, respectively, Long Beach is the shortest round of the season, at just 100 minutes. The race takes place on closed roads, with eleven corners and a circuit length of just under two miles. Wayne Taylor Racing has won the last three IMSA Long Beach races in the Daytona Prototype class; a fourth consecutive win at the event this year would mark the team’s first victory of the season, after full-time drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger Van Der Zande, with their endurance race co-pilot Ryan Hunter-Reay, took a DNF at Daytona and a second-place result at Sebring.
“Street circuits [like Long Beach] require a bit of patience, and you can get caught out quickly if you are too aggressive,” Jordan Taylor says. “The street course weekends always have a very compact schedule, so you have to be on top of your game at all times to get up to speed and develop the car… The tough thing about Long Beach is how much it develops over the weekend. The track is only used one week out of the year, so from the first session of the weekend to the last, the track picks up a huge amount of grip and the balance of the car is constantly changing. Then you add in half the track being used by the drift cars and covered in drift rubber, and you never have a consistent car.
“I enjoy the history of the event. Growing up watching onboard videos of the track and of the streets. It’s cool to be in the car seeing what those guys saw back in the day.”
So far in 2018, Cadillac DPi-V.R race cars podiumed in first and second at the Rolex 24 at Daytona – Mustang Sampling in first, Whelen Engineering in second – and took second and third at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring – Wayne Taylor Racing in second, followed closely by Whelen Engineering. The car is running a new, smaller engine this year, in an attempt to incur less Balance of Performance and deliver a friendlier torque curve.