Wayne Taylor says its Cadillac DPi-V.R was running to the suggested parameters by Continental Tire, despite having sustained multiple punctures that ultimately led to the car’s retirement in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The defending race winner elected to park its Cadillac DPi with just over six hours to go after sustaining five right-rear punctures in the trouble-filled race.
The pole-sitting entry, which led early in the hands of Renger van der Zande, first hit trouble in the fourth hour with Jordan Taylor at the wheel, who sustained a cut tire after reportedly running over a curb.
It was followed by two trips to the garage, first prior to midnight to replace a radiator, and another two hours later for a right-rear shock that was also damaged by an additional puncture.
While having recovered to 5th overall by the 16th hour, another tire-related issue ultimately brought the team’s race to an end, with Taylor making the call to park the car some six hours short from the finish.
“Once you’ve gone through so many sets of bodywork and equipment on the car and there was beginning to be a trend of where the tire was failing, so we looked through some data,” he told Sportscar365.
“When it failed in another area my engineer said to me: ‘I don’t know what we can do here.’
“I’m not going to put drivers at risk or other teams at risk, people at risk.
“I feel like I had to make that decision. I’m representing two big brands: Konica Minolta and Cadillac. Luckily for Cadillac they still have two cars that can win it anyway.
“I discussed this with Mark Kent from GM, he agreed with the strategy, and we made the decision.”
Despite some teams allegedly not fully respecting Continental’s tire pressure and camber recommendations, Taylor said they remained within its parameters all race.
Taylor said there was no warning earlier in the weekend, at a time when the pair of United Autosports Ligier JS P217 Gibsons first sustained right-rear punctures in practice, an issue the Anglo-Swiss team appeared to resolve by the race.
Additional Prototypes sustained right-rear punctures in the race, but largely believed to be attributed to low tire pressures.
“We have met with the tire partner and they have basically apologized and said that they will make this right for us because clearly we are always running within their limits,” Taylor said. “We have never gone outside [the window].
“We’ve got the same engineer who has worked on this team for the last seven, eight years. We’ve got the technical director of Dallara that builds LMP1 cars, designs cars, designed this car.
“We’ve got drivers that have won these races before, and we’re going to have to work through it with them.
“Hopefully they will make good on their promise because this is clearly, for us, there’s no real technical reason in terms of setup of the car, anything different, because we’ve run the car the same.”
Continental Tire’s Travis Roffler has pledged to work with WTR to identify the issue with the specific car.
“Wayne Taylor [Racing] has tested this tire tremendously,” Roffler said. “We know they adhere to their specifications and we’ve identified two of those as punctures.
“We’re working with them through data and telemetry. We just have this issue with WTR so we’re working closely to identify the issue on that specific car.”
Taylor, who celebrated in Daytona’s victory lane one year ago, which kicked off a five-race win streak in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, is confident the team will rebound.
“Races are races,” he said. “I don’t really care. At the end of the day, when we were running P16. We were ten laps down. We clawed our way to fifth, we clawed back three laps.
“It’s racing, right? Yes it’s disappointing. Of course it’s disappointing.
“I’m more disappointed for Konica Minolta and Cadillac and the team and drivers. But we go to the next one.
“We won five straight last year and we won a championship in our first year of the championship. Off to the races.”