Taylor Brothers, Auberlen/Werner Take Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase

After flirting with victory in the first two races on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship calendar, brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor broke through in a big way Saturday, winning the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at the Long Beach street circuit.

In a classic Chevrolet vs. Ford battle, Jordan Taylor held off a hard-charging Joey Hand in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost/Riley to win by 3.3 seconds in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP owned by father Wayne Taylor.

It was a rewarding victory for the team after a heartbreaking defeat in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and a runner-up finish in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida.

“I felt confidence the entire weekend,” said Ricky Taylor. “It was nice to have a nice package underneath us, and to be fighting between Corvette and Ford was nice to see. We also got first place points, so it’s the best we could get.”

It was a dominant weekend for Wayne Taylor Racing with Ricky Taylor also winning the TOTAL Pole Award in qualifying Friday. Ricky started the race from the pole and led throughout his opening stint, giving way to Jordan Taylor with 47 minutes remaining in the 100-minute sprint race. Running in the second position, Scott Pruett pitted the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley one lap later and Hand took over.

Hand inherited the lead on the pit stop exchange, but Jordan Taylor quickly pounced and took the top spot in Turn 1 with 44 minutes remaining. He led the rest of the way, although Hand closed the gap to within one second several times over the final 30 minutes.

The No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP team finished third, the third consecutive third-place finish to start the season for co-drivers Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante. Action Express Racing’s pair of Corvette DPs rounded out the top five with the team’s No. 31 Whelen Corvette DP of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran fourth and the points-leading No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi fifth.

The entire TUDOR Championship event was run under the green flag – including the race, qualifying and Friday’s two practice sessions.

GTLM

Joining the race in seventh place, Dirk Werner made a thrilling charge to take the lead in the closing minutes and give BMW its first TUDOR United SportsCar Championship victory in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in Saturday’s Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach.

Bill Auberlen started the winning No. 25 IHG Rewards Club BMW Z4 GTLM from the pole, but lost the lead on the opening lap as Giancarlo Fisichella charged from third to first in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia. The Ferrari added to its lead when Pierre Kaffer took over at the midway point of the 100-minute race – while the BMW fell back due to a miscue during refueling.

“Without a yellow flag, we know it’s going to be a long day,” Auberlen admitted from the pits.

Without the benefit of a caution period in the 100-minute race on the 1.968-mile street circuit, Werner put his head down. Driving a car carrying the paint scheme of BMW Motorsport’s first U.S. victory at Sebring in 1975, Werner caught Kaffer on the 68th lap and made the pass for the lead in Turn 9. With the Ferrari’s tires going away, Werner cruised through the final 11 minutes, winning by 2.911 seconds over Kaffer.

Hopes for a double podium for BMW went away when Lucas Luhr briefly went off course in the No. 24 IHG Rewards Club BMW started by John Edwards. That allowed Antonio Garcia to take third in the No. 3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R started by Jan Magnussen. A year ago, the pair gave the new Corvette model its first victory at Long Beach, launching a four-race winning streak.

Fred Makowiecki took fourth in the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 started by Patrick Pilet, followed by the BMW of Luhr and Edwards.

The entire TUDOR Championship event was run under the green flag – including the race, qualifying and Friday’s two practice sessions.

The Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach will be televised on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, April 19, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.