An impressive late-race drive by Jordan Taylor helped deliver Wayne Taylor Racing victory in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda, while Action Express Racing collected the inaugural Prototype class title in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Taylor drove the No. 10 Konica Minolta-sponsored entry to a 11.062-second win over Joao Barbosa, following a race-long duel between the pair of Corvette DPs, which went the way of the second-generation driver in the closing stages.
While having led through the early hours, Taylor retook the lead from the No. 5 Action Express machine of Christian Fittipaldi with less than one hour and 30 minutes remaining and bridged out a sizable 30-second gap.
However, it was erased with the race’s 13th and final full-course caution for a heavy crash, that set up a six-minute shootout to the finish. Taylor, however, held on.
It marked brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor’s second win of the season, and first with longtime co-driver Max Angelelli.
Barbosa and co-driver Christian Fittipaldi, meanwhile, claimed the P class championship with their runner-up finish with Sebastien Bourdais, while the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford of Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Scott Dixon completed the podium in third.
The DeltaWing recorded a season-best fourth place overall finish, despite drivers Katherine Legge, Andy Meyrick and Gabby Chaves running the final three hours without first or second gears. It marked the team’s best career result.
Meyrick had collided with the No. 42 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda of Gustavo Yacaman in the fifth hour, which resulted in retirement for the P2 contender, which had set the race’s quickest lap by Ho-Pin Tung.
The French squad lost three laps early due to a loose turbo clamp but fought its way back onto the lead lap and given its speed, would have likely been a contender for the win.
Other P class retirements included the No. 9 Action Express Racing Corvette DP following an accident with the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R, while both of the SpeedSource Mazdas hit trouble.
The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP lost considerable ground in the sixth hour when the it went behind the wall after Andrew Palmer’s No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS made contact with Richard Westbrook while on the wave-by lap during a full-course caution.
The high rate of attrition resulted in only four P class cars finishing in the top-ten overall.
Prototype Challenge class honors went to the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport trio of Renger van der Zande, Mirco Schultis and Alex Popow, following a nasty late-race crash by Sean Rayhall, who appeared to be en route to class victory.
Rayhall’s No. 25 8Star Motorsports Oreca FLM09 was hit by the No. 57 Krohn Racing Ferrari F458 Italia of Tracy Krohn in the high-speed Esses, resulting in a massive airborne accident, which brought out the final yellow with 16 minutes remaining.
It gave the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car the lead but Gunnar Jeannette was forced to make a stop for a splash of fuel, giving the surprise class win to Starworks.
The No. 54 CORE autosport entry of Colin Braun, Jon Bennett and James Gue finished second, ahead of PR1’s Jeannette and Frankie Montecalvo.
While Braun and Bennett clinched the PC drivers’ championship at Circuit of The Americas, their result gave CORE autosport its fouth consecutive teams’ title.
Rayhall, meanwhile, was evaluated and released following the heavy impact which ended their race.
Despite nearly three hours of caution, the ten-hour race surpassed the traditional 1,000-mile distance, with 1,016 miles completed by the Wayne Taylor Racing trio.
RESULTS: Petit Le Mans