Wayne Taylor Racing wins at Detroit, starts season with five-straight victories
A qualifying crash and last-place starting spot couldn't prevent Wayne Taylor Racing from claiming its fifth straight win to open the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season at the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic in Detroit.
Ricky Taylor charged up to fifth in his stint, then handed over the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R to his brother Jordan who drove the car to the lead and to victory lane.
Action Express Racing looked to be the biggest threat to WTR's bid to win the race, locking out the front row after the grid was set by points following Ricky Taylor's qualifying mishap.
The No. 31 Cadillac of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran appeared to be the team's best bet, leading until fuel strategy went awry in the waning minutes.
While the rest of the field pitted for the final time with around 40 minutes to go, AXR elected to keep the No. 31 out to try and build a gap and then short fill for their final stop.
Ultimately the pace of the WTR Cadillac was too strong in the final stint, as Jordan Taylor chopped into Cameron's advantage and took a lead of over five seconds when the AXR car emerged from the pits and its final stop with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Taylor held on to win by 4:948 seconds over Cameron, and 34.502 seconds back to the No. 70 Mazda RT24-P of Tom Long and Joel Miller which scored a breakthrough podium in third.
Joao Barbosa held off a hard-charging Stephen Simpson with just under 11 minutes left to secure fourth in the pole-sitting No. 5 Cadillac.
Simpson spun in the attempt to make the pass, allowing Tristan Nunez in the No. 55 Mazda through into fifth while Simpson and JDC-Miller Motorsports had to settle for sixth.
The Prototype Challenge class went to the Performance Tech Motorsports duo of Pato O'Ward and James French, who remain perfect on the season as well.
The No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports entry of Tomy Drissi and Bruno Junqueira took second, while the sister BAR1 entry of Ryan Lewis and Don Yount finished third.
Andy Lally and Katherine Legge, meanwhile, teamed to bring the Acura NSX GT3 to victory lane for the first time.
The Michael Shank Racing duo started second in the GT Daytona field on the strength of Legge's qualifying run and jumped to the lead in the pit sequence, then held off the rest of the field to claim victory in the No. 93 machine.
Team owner Michael Shank made the call to take just two tires in the race's lone pit stop, and the time saved by doing so was more than enough to put the Acura out in front of its rivals.
Lally held off Alessandro Balzan in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 that he shares with Christina Nielsen, meaning both female drivers in the race scored podium finishes. Lally's margin of victory 2.441 seconds.
Madison Snow put in a strong run to third in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3. Co-driver Bryan Sellers started the car, but the team lost some ground in the pits. Snow managed to drive his way back into a podium position in the final 30 minutes.
The Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 took fourth, followed by the second MSR Acura of Ozz Negri and Jeff Segal that rolled off from the final spot on the grid.
There was one yellow flag in the race just over 25 minutes into the 100-minute race, which came when the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Kenny Habul suffered a brake problem and collided with Renger Van Der Zande in the No. 90 Visit Florida Riley Mk. 30 Gibson. Both cars were eliminated from the race with damage.
Trouble also found GTD championship leader Ben Keating in the Riley Team AMG Mercedes on the same lap in a separate incident when he clouted the wall and was also forced to retire.
The class pole-sitting Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS of Lawson Aschenbach and Andrew Davis controlled the early stages of the race but slowed on track with under 30 minutes remaining after reportedly suffering a gearbox-related issue, ultimately slipping to 13th in class.