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Jordan Taylor: “Amazing Experience” Driving Cadillac ‘Le Monstre’

Jordan Taylor on driving Cadillac’s 1950 ‘Le Monstre’ one-off that competed at Le Mans…

Photo: Richard Prince/Cadillac

Jordan Taylor had a special treat on Tuesday, as the reigning IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype champion climbed behind the wheel of Cadillac’s 1950 Le Mans entry, nicknamed ‘Le Monstre’ for laps around Daytona International Speedway.

The car, built and raced by Briggs Cunningham for the French endurance classic, was on hand for a photo and video shoot, alongside Taylor’s championship-winning Cadillac DPi-V.R and a special edition ATS-V to commemorate the manufacturer’s IMSA title.

“I was very nervous to begin with because it’s all original from the 1950s,” Taylor said. “It’s one of a kind, everything is the same from back then except the seat belt was updated, but the same style.

“They were walking me through it and I tried to ask as many questions as possible so that if anything went wrong I’d know what to do. Temperatures, oil pressures, what I need to watch, you shift on the column which I’ve never done before.

“It was three-speed on the column and I’ve never done that before, and I didn’t want to blow up the gearbox. It’s drum brakes and carburetor so it’s all different. 3,700 pounds, so it’s a monster.

“When I left the pits, I cruised out of pit lane slowly and we were doing the photo shoot with the ATS-V and the race car, and I went out of the pits to turn and I turned like 90 degrees and it didn’t do a thing. It didn’t turn!

“I almost drove straight into the ATS-V and I almost had a heart attack.

“I went to the brakes, and the brakes don’t do anything. So I slowed down and I got behind everyone to get a feel for it, weaving around, touching the brakes, and I found out that you need 100 degrees of steering for it to do anything.

“You had to be super smooth on the throttle, and obviously it doesn’t stop very well with drum brakes and 3,700 pounds, but once we got going it was cool to feel it and get an idea of what those guys had to go through back then.

“I haven’t driven an open-cockpit car in years, so getting the feeling of the air going across my head and helmet, obviously you are extremely exposed.

“Back then you only have one lap belt and the side of the car is by my elbow.

“When you get up on the banking you look to the left and it looks like you’re going to fall out of the thing. It was definitely cool and an amazing experience.”

Cunningham entered both the Le Monstre and a relatively stock Series 61 Cadillac in the 1950 race.

The Le Monstre, featuring an ACO-permitted streamlined body fitted on top of a production chassis and engine, finished 11th in the race, after losing time due to getting stuck in a gravel trap.

The team’s sister Series 61 Cadillac, featuring a stock body, finished 10th.

“They had a top speed of 138, 139 miles per hour back then,” Taylor said. “I can’t imagine doing that in such a monster, hitting the brakes at the end of the Mulsanne straight with 3,700 pounds behind you.”

The Le Monstre is a part of The Collier Collection at the Revs Institute.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Bog Hammer

    December 6, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Cant wait to see the video

  2. Passanger

    December 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    It would be awesome, if they also display their father’s Cadillac LMP1

    • Harry Manback

      December 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      I’m pretty sure Cadillac would like you to forget about that LMP1

      • Passanger

        December 6, 2017 at 7:13 pm

        Why? LMP 02 isn’t prefect in that time?

      • Jeff Wagner

        December 8, 2017 at 2:12 pm

        B.S.! The last one was a BEAUTIFUL car and was getting VERY competitive right when G.M. pulled the plug on it! We saw one finish 3rd at Mosport. We were in the paddock after the race and the team was acting like they just found out somebody had died! We knew something was up. We asked somebody why everybody was so unhappy after such a FANTASTIC finish. We were told G.M. pulled the plug. Wayne Taylor looked like he was almost in tears. He was basically running/if not running it for G.M. by then.

        • Jeff Wagner

          December 8, 2017 at 2:14 pm

          It is STILL one of the most beautiful Prototypes of ALL TIME in my opinion!

  3. Anonymous

    December 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    I love it when they race old and new alongside each other, just to see how far Motorsport has come since 1950. I think though of the two I prefer “Le Monstre” more. I only ask 1 question, would it be classified as a sports car (meaning a GT) class car due to its Series 61 chassis and engine or would it classified as a Prototype due to its unusual bodywork and open cockpit design?

    • Andrew

      December 6, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      The classes when it ran were VERY different and there wasn’t the clear Prototype/GT divide there is today. Both cars ran in same class as the bodywork was allowed to be changed as long as the base chassis remained stock. The engine was big time tweaked, 5 carbs on the 331 ci Caddy V8, as was allowed by the rules.

  4. Jeff Wagner

    December 8, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    The rules today are so tight and as a result restrict crazy designs showing up out of the blue like ‘Le Monstre’ as everything has to be crash tested before being raced for safety. That is a GREAT thing as safety should ALWAYS be a 100% priority. However as a 38 year old 3rd generation fan of Road Racing at Mosport (especially Sportscar Racing), I can’t imagine how exciting it would have been watching this race and especially a little later on in the USRRC/Can-am era when they didn’t know better safety standards and crazy but GREAT designs were able to be built off drawings done in chalk on garage floors (Bill Sadler for sure did that) and would show up to race at Mosport, Road America, Watkins Glen, Laguna Seca, Riverside, etc. My Dad and Grandad got to see the Chaparral’s, McLaren’s, Scarab’s, Sadler’s, etc, I’m lucky to at least been told the stories, and go to Vintage Races with my Dad today! I LOVE racing today but it just isn’t the same today like it was even when I was a younger kid and teen at Mosport, SOME things for the better many NOT, yet I and the rest of us knowledgeable fans easily admit this to ourselves and others but the sheer love for It STILL easily crushes all other sports and most things in all of life combined! I will also still find myself Next season not being able to sleep very well if at all the night before the start of the IMSA weekend at Mosport just like when I was a kid before the SCCA Trans-Am, or IMSA WSC weekend. Most importantly, I will get a chill down my spine and fight back a little emotion too the first sight of the Penske Acura, and the Mazda Team Yoest LMP2 cars plunging down turn 2. It will be such a powerful visual sign Sportscar Racing is TRULY legitimate and respected again worldwide, and not just existing in North America which it sadly was after the loss of the highly respected and beloved ALMS!

  5. Jeff Wagner

    December 9, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I’ve proven my theory yet again. I intentionally posted an “irritating” message on another story, and got 3 replies. I put a lot of thought into the post above and it gets completely ignored. I have tried this approach on this site before with the same results. This day in age on the Internet, the only replies you get on message boards are to any Troll comments. If you spend a lot of time and actually pour your thoughts and beliefs into a post people completely ignore it. There seems to be NO forum for conversation about a sport we all love. People just want to spew hate, anger, and argue. We follow and love the BEST, most DIVERSE, most EXCITING, most PURE form of Racing! I also FIRMLY believe Sportscar Racing Fans ARE the MOST PASSIONATE Racing fans in the world! LET’S ALL GET ALONG!!! WE DO AT THE TRACK LIKE FAMILY!!! WHY NOT ON HERE TOO!!! We have been distracted and frustrated the last 10+ years during the history smearing split (Overshadowed by the CART/IRL one) and our passion/frustration has been misdirected towards ourselves during the split, the merger (Buy-Out), and things not being the way WE KNOW they should be, and they STILL aren’t quite yet, BUT close. In 2018 IMSA will be respected worldwide again with the Penske Acura, Mazda Team Yoest, and the rest of the series being SO strong! We as fans have gotten through the darkest and WORST era in Sportscar Racing history. It will keep getting STRONGER! Look how far it’s come in such a short time, NONE of us could have predicted this pace. Scott Atherton has A LOT to do with that! PRETEND ON HERE IS LIKE AT THE TRACK, everybody’s friendly and kind! Best Wishes to all!

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