Cadillac Racing teams are busy preparing for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season and the Rolex 24 At Daytona season opening race.
New teams to the Cadillac IMSA line-up have made their driver announcements and are getting acquainted with their new Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype race cars. Juncos Racing took the opportunity to roll-out their new Cadillac at Homestead-Miami Speedway getting season long drivers Will Owen and Kyle Kaiser and endurance events driver Rene Binder their first Cadillac laps. Juncos recently announced the addition of Agustin Canapino as their fourth driver for the Rolex 24. He joined the team at Daytona on Tuesday to take part in the Michelin on-track opportunity.
“Running at Daytona today for the Michelin tire test was a lot of fun,” Owen said. “The Juncos team worked together well again and we worked through lots of scenarios we could find during the race. It was a pleasure to meet and drive with Agustín, who is super-fast and has a great approach to learning new cars and tracks. I’m sure being around his expertise will help me improve as well. In only two days we have developed our Cadillac DPi-V.R a lot, and after a few more we will be very competitive. Once again, the car ran very well, and I had a good comparison of the strengths of the Cadillac V8 versus other cars I’ve driven. I am sad now that I have to wait three weeks to drive again, but I’m sure before we know it Christmas will be over with and we will be ready for the Roar.”
Jordan Taylor was on hand to put the 2017 prototype championship winning Cadillac DPi-V.R on the modified oval road course to put more miles on the new to IMSA tire combination. Taylor will be joined for the season by 2018 teammate Renger Van Der Zande. Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi, seasoned sports car driver, will join the team for the Rolex 24. The Wayne Taylor led team won the last race of the 2018 season, Petit Le Mans, and will be looking to carry that momentum forward to the 24-hour race at Daytona January 26-27.
“It’s been good,” Taylor said. “We’ve done three tire tests this year – we did one at Watkins Glen, one at Daytona, one at Road Atlanta. Any time you can get on the tire and learn something, it’s good. It’s definitely a lot different than what we’ve had in the past. Our team, in particular, we’ve run one tire manufacturer other than Pirelli for pretty much our whole career here. For us, it’s been important to talk to Michelin and understand what it takes from a set-up point of view and a driver point of view of how to extract the most from it, and every time we’re on track, we’re learning something new. Daytona is our biggest one of the year, so any opportunity we can come here and test, we’ll take it. This day was a big deal for us. We learned a lot.”
JDC Miller Racing chose to spend two-days at Sebring International Raceway to put some time on their Cadillac DPi-V.R. The two-car Cadillac team will have Stephen Simpson and Simon Trummer in the No. 84 JDC Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R with Chris Miller joining for the endurance events and Juan Piedrahita driving with the team in the Rolex 24. In the No. 85 JDC Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R Tristan Vautier and Misha Goikhberg will handle the full-season duties with former Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello and GP3 driver Devlin DeFancesco onboard for the Rolex 24. Juan Piedrahita will switch cars and be the third driver for the endurance events at Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans in the 85.
“I’m very impressed by how the Cadillac ran trouble free right away from the start,” Trummer said. “Obviously how the engine is behaving is very impressive, it gives you a lot of confidence. As we are in Sebring, where it is bumpy, I’m amazed by how the car is absorbing bumps. I really did enjoy my first laps. I think we had a good first run with our new car, but now I’m looking forward to improve it, and going to Daytona to start the preparation work for the Rolex 24.”
Returning 2018 IMSA WeatherTech prototype champions Whelen Engineering Cadillac will have Felipe Nasr and his new season long teammate Pipo Derani in the red No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R along with Eric Curran for the distance events.
The Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R returns Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque back for 2019 along with Christian Fittipaldi for his last run in the Rolex 24.
2019 Cadillac Racing IMSA WeatherTech teams and drivers:
No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R
Eric Curran, endurance events
No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R
Christian Fittipaldi, Rolex 24
No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R
Renger Van Der Zande
Fernando Alonso, Rolex 24
Kamui Kobayashi, Rolex 24
No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R
Agustin Canapino, Rolex 24
No. 84 JDC Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R
Chris Miller, endurance events
Juan Piedrahita, Rolex 24
No. 85 JDC Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R
Rubens Barrichello, Rolex 24
Devlin DeFancesco, Rolex 24
Juan Piedrahita, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans
The teams will return to Daytona in January for the Roar Before the 24 test, January 4-6, to kick-off the 2019 season. Cadillac will have six DPi-V.R cars on the grid for the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona to run January 24-27.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing/Photo. Juncos Racing