The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R duo of Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande head to the West Coast for Sunday’s penultimate IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race of the season feeling the iconic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca near Monterey, California, owes them – big-time.
A year ago at the scenic 2.238-mile, 11-turn hillside road course, they were clicking on all cylinders through practice and qualifying, leading two of the three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, and then qualifying on the pole at the hands of Taylor on Saturday afternoon.
But then came Sunday afternoon when, just 39 minutes into the two-hour, 40-minute main event, Taylor radioed from turn five, just as he was about to start the steep climb to the highest point on the course, that the racecar had lost drive. He helplessly crept ever so slowly up the hill before finally coming to a stop. A freak, catastrophic failure had ended what was a hugely promising weekend, leaving Taylor, van der Zande and the defending series championship-winning team wondering what might have been.
As they return to the scene of last year’s misfortunes for Sunday’s Monterey SportsCar Championship, the general feeling is not surprisingly upbeat. Once again, the team is playing host to the typically large contingent of Konica Minolta sponsors and guests at one of their favorite stops on the tour. And Laguna Seca is a track where, despite just a 2013 victory since the team’s inception in 2007, it has started from the pole in three of its last four outings, and has stood on the podium after six of the last nine races.
And for added measure, the famed Corkscrew series of turns seven through eight is where van der Zande made his now-legendary pass to win the 2017 WeatherTech Championship race while driving for the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona team. It was a head-turning, jaw-dropping maneuver that not only drew the praises from throughout the worldwide road racing community, but helped bring him to the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team the following season.
Van der Zande, who was to be last year’s closing driver at Laguna Seca, never got a chance to try and relive his late-race heroics from the previous season as the racecar was retired long before he was scheduled to get in.
So, as they set up shop for the weekend on the beautiful outskirts of Monterey Bay, Taylor, van der Zande and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team hope to finish the job that so cruelly eluded them a year ago.