- Wayne Taylor Racing captures third-win-in-a-row at the Long Beach Grand Prix.
- Ricky and Jordan Taylor winners of all three IMSA races in 2017.
- Riley Motorsports makes it one, two in GTD competition.
Long Beach, CA – April 8, 2017. The streets of Long Beach are unforgiving and drivers fight for every inch of real estate they can get. Saturday’s 100 minute event was no different. Pit strategies ranged from one to two stops and the importance of getting the Continental tires up to temperature quickly, while taking care of the tires, could not be stressed enough. It was certainly a race for the history books and Ricky and Jordan Taylor etched their names in the book as they took the checkered flag.
Prototype (P) Recap
1st - No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Cadillac DPi (R. Taylor/J. Taylor); 2nd - No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi (Sharp/Dalziel); 3rd - No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi (Nunez/Bomarito)
The Prototype (P) battle came down to the final minutes of Saturday’s 100 minute race through the streets of Long Beach. The Wayne Taylor duo of Ricky and Jordan Taylor came in as defending champs and dominated both practice sessions and qualifying as Ricky put the No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Cadillac DPi on the pole. Ricky jumped into the lead early but a series of yellow flags and pit strategy found the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi in front of the P class, but not in front of the field. Due to fuel-cell restrictions, the GTLM class made only one pit stop and was leading with about thirty minutes to go. A late race caution bunched up the field and Ryan Dalziel overtook the trio of GTLM cars for the lead on a set of double-stinted Continental tires.
The battle wasn’t over though as Dalziel picked his way through traffic, Jordan Taylor saw an opportunity and took it, launching him into the lead for the remaining minutes of the race. As they say in bowling, the brothers Taylor logged a turkey taking the checkered flag for the third time at Long Beach while also capturing the team’s third win out of three races for the season.
GT Daytona (GTD) Recap
1st - No. 50 Riley Motorsports-WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (MacNeil/Jeannette); 2nd - No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Keating/Bleekemolen); 3rd - No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 (Nielsen/Balzan)
Pit strategy was king in the GTD class at Long Beach. Bryan Sellers put the No. 48 Paul Miller Lamborghini Huracan GT3 on the pole for the start of the race and it looked as if the team was the class of the field. Sellers led early but the team encountered a penalty that sent them way back in the field and out of contention. A series of cautions and a one pit stop strategy launched the two Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars to the front of the field and there was no looking back. The No. 50 Riley Motorsports-WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 came home first with drivers Cooper MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette behind the wheel. The No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 finished a close second with drivers Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen. Rounding out the top three and building on their championship run, the No. 63 Scuderia Ferrari duo of Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan finished third.
- Bryan Sellers set a new track record for GTD qualifying with a fast lap time of 1:19.243 (it was the first time the GTD class has been to Long Beach).
- The top-12 cars in GTD qualified within one second of each other.
- Wayne Taylor Racing claimed victory at Long Beach marking three wins in a row at the famed street course.
- The duo of Ricky and Jordan Taylor have claimed all three wins so far in the 2017 IMSA season.
Take a look at some of our favorite photos from this weekend’s race – Long Beach
Ryan Dalziel, No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi (finished P2 in P) - “We kind of gambled. We knew we had speed in the car all weekend. We kind of gambled a little bit between strategy and aero of the car. So we trimmed the car out to Daytona aero and our plan was try and stop early, do tires and make it to the end. We knew the Continental’s were going to last, I don’t even think we would have had to change them. Strategy went perfect and seemed like we had it in the bag and just got derailed by other guys racing in other classes, it’s a shame. To be on the podium and be as quick as we are, it’s a big step forward for Patron. We have a couple tests between now and the next race and we’ll go on to the next one.”
Jonathan Bomarito, No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi (finished P3 in P) – “Interesting day. With the way it worked out we had the whole GTLM field leading after that one re-start and having to work your way through, its risk and reward out there. You’re trying to be careful but be aggressive while navigating traffic. Our team made the right call and had a good strategy for the race. I think the ESM car gambled and it paid off for them track position wise. We made smart decisions all day and Tristan (Nunez, co-driver) did a great job in qualifying and in his first stint. I’m happy for Mazda, they really deserve this podium and hopefully more to come.
“Our tires were great, the Continental tires worked good. Anytime you have a lot of heat cycles with a lot of yellows like that you bring them up to temperature and cool them down, bring them up to temperature and cool them down, and that’s hard on tires. We had a good stretch of 10-15 green flag laps there at the end and they held up great. Overall it was a great day! I was a little concerned with that much water, when you show up to the track the next day, you don’t know how much it’s going to affect things on the balance of the car but it actually felt very similar to qualifying yesterday.”
Jeroen Bleekemolen, No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 (finished P2 in GTD) – “It was a really difficult race as far as strategy with all the yellows. At one point I thought we were totally out of it. We were nearly a lap down, like really bad. Then suddenly a yellow turned it around and we were up at the front. We had really good pit stops, that’s how we could jump so many cars. It was a really good day for the championship.”
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Continental develops intelligent technologies for transporting people and their goods. As a reliable partner, the international automotive supplier, tire manufacturer, and industrial partner provides sustainable, safe, comfortable, individual, and affordable solutions. In 2016, the corporation generated sales of €40.5 billion with its five divisions, Chassis & Safety, Interior, Powertrain, Tire, and ContiTech. Continental currently employs more than 220,000 people in 56 countries.