Miller, Taylor, No. 17 Earn Third Straight TCR Win of Season

May 11, 2024

By John Oreovicz and Mark Robinson IMSA Wire Service

Chris Miller and Mikey Taylor kept their perfect 2024 season intact in the Touring Car (TCR) portion of the Michelin Pilot Challenge by following the same recipe of success.

As he did in the first two races this year, Miller put the No. 17 Unitronic/JDC-Miller MotorSports Audi RS3 LMS TCR in contention at WeatherTech Raceway, then Taylor powered the car into the lead and on to victory lane.

Taylor passed a pair of Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundais in the final 21 minutes of the two-hour race to secure the third win in as many outings this season for the No. 17 Audi. It’s been a rewarding beginning to 2024 for the JDC-Miller team after a shot at winning the TCR championship slipped away in the 2023 finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

“We’re focused on winning this championship after it got away from us in Atlanta last year,” Taylor said.

Miller started second in TCR but a miscue behind a GS car during his stint dropped him to fifth place when he turned the No. 17 over to Taylor on a pit stop. Taylor trailed leader Mason Filippi in the No. 98 BHA Hyundai Elantra N TCR by eight seconds with 45 minutes remaining but chipped away the deficit quickly.

Taylor shoved his way past Robert Wickens in the No. 33 BHA Hyundai through the Andretti Hairpin with 21 minutes to go. Two laps later, he followed a pair of GS cars past Filippi in the same spot to grab the lead and went on to win by 1.254 seconds.

“I don’t think we had crazy outright speed, but on old tires, which is what this track is known for, we were OK,” Taylor said. “It was a couple tough passes. The GS guys helped me out a little bit, making some holes, and we took what we could.

“It feels great, feels great,” Taylor added. “I had my mind on my wedding next week a little bit, but it feels good to be here. Great points for the team and just happy for everyone in the program.”

The win was the ninth for Taylor in Michelin Pilot Challenge competition and the eighth for Miller. Meanwhile, Filippi and co-driver Mark Wilkins, trying to repeat as the WeatherTech Raceway TCR winners, felt that second place was the best they could do on this day.

“I think we did the best we could today,” Wilkins said. “We can’t compete with that car with the pace right now that they can run, so for us, we were just trying to make as few mistakes as possible. We ran really a perfect day in my opinion, so second is a win for us today.”

Saturday’s race broadcast will air at 1 p.m. ET Saturday, May 18 on CNBC. Both classes of the Michelin Pilot Challenge return to action June 6-8 at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Four Hours of Mid-Ohio.

JDC-Miller Audi Makes ‘Hail Mary’ Recovery to Win TCR Class

January 26, 2024

By John Oreovicz & Mark Robinson IMSA Wire Service

Mikey Taylor won two races for JDC-Miller MotorSports on Friday. The first was to and from Orlando International Airport in the morning to pick up a critical part to be installed in the team’s No. 17 Unitronic Audi RS3 LMS TCR. Miller and co-driver Chris Taylor then proceeded to charge to the front and capture the four-hour Touring Car (TCR) class season opener.

After turning six laps in opening Michelin Pilot Challenge practice on Wednesday, the team was unable to start the car on Thursday. The No. 17 sat out Thursday’s practice and qualifying while the JDC-Miller crew scrambled to replace multiple parts on the Audi without success to get it restarted. What they didn’t have on hand to swap out was the engine control unit (ECU), but the nearest one they could find was in Mexico.

Arrangements were made for someone to fly with the part to Orlando early Friday morning and Taylor met them and the ECU at the airport and raced back to Daytona.

“We were not doing the speed limit to get back here,” Taylor said, “and we just made it just in time. Miraculously, the car started because we had no idea that the parts we had would actually fix the issue. It was a pure Hail Mary and we were super lucky today.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in my career,” he added, “and I don’t want to be part of it again because it’s too stressful.”

Starting at the back of the TCR grid, Miller knew quickly he had a fast car and moved up to fourth in class less than a half-hour into the race. Taylor pushed the No. 17 into the lead for the first time just past the halfway point and wound up leading all but four of the final 53 laps around the 3.56-mile road course.

Not to say it was easy. Taylor fended off challenges from Denis Dupont in the No. 76 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR, Tom O’Gorman in the No. 15 Rockwell Autosport Development Audi RS3 LMS SEQ and Mark Wilkins in the No. 98 BHA Hyundai. The margin of victory was 20.408 seconds over Dupont, Preston Brown and Nick Looijmans in the No. 76 Hyundai, but only because Dupont ran out of fuel coming to the finish line.

It was Taylor’s eighth Michelin Pilot Challenge win, the sixth for Miller and their second together at Daytona – the other in 2021.

It was also particularly rewarding for reasons other than the miraculous recovery. It salved the wounds of the way the 2023 season ended, when an early exit from the season finale ended a bid for the TCR championship. Team members also learned Thursday night that Jay Cottrell, a former JDC-Miller crew member, passed away and dedicated the victory to him.

“It was nice to be able to do this and have the whole team rally around trying to win it for him,” Miller said. “It feels extra special because of that.”

The Michelin Pilot Challenge returns to action March 15 with the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway.

JDC-Miller MotorSports Wraps Up Inaugural Porsche 963 GTP Season With 5th place Finish at Motul Petit Le Mans

October 18, 2023

JDC-Miller MotorSports wrapped up its first Porsche 963 GTP season with a solid 5th place finish at Motul Petit Le Mans. The team was set up for a late race charge, but late cautions foiled the plan as the race finished under yellow.

“The drivers and team executed the race flawlessly.” said Managing Partner John Church. “To get a top 5 finish in the race with no damage after 10 hours of Motul Petit Le Mans traffic is a strong testament to everyone involved. Our regular season drivers Tijmen van der Helm and Mike Rockenfeller helped get Jenson Button up to speed very quickly in the complicated Porsche 963 and the very busy Road Atlanta course. The Porsche again ran flawlessly over the 397 laps completed.”

Fan response to the yellow JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963 GTP was phenomenal. The autograph lines at Motul Petit Le Mans were some of the longest in IMSA history. Our drivers enjoyed their time with the fans and the fans with them.

JDC-Miller MotorSports has committed to the full 2024 season in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship GTP class. The team will announce its driver line-up in the next couple of weeks.

No. 17 JDC-Miller Audi Wins Wild TCR Battle with No. 33 Herta Hyundai

Late-Race Pass from Taylor in No. 17 Audi at Indy Creates Hotly Contested Championship Battle Heading to Season Finale

September 16, 2023

By Jeff Olson for IMSA.com

A wild pass in the dark during the final minutes left one team happy and another angry as the Touring Car (TCR) class championship intensified in Saturday’s penultimate round of the 2023 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Mikey Taylor passed Robert Wickens heading into Turn 7 with two minutes left, giving Taylor and polesitter Chris Miller their second consecutive victory and third of the season in their No. 17 Unitronic/JDC Miller MotorSports Audi RS3 LMS TCR.

“I knew if I had a big enough run, I’d be at least side-by-side,” Taylor said of his approach on the pass. “But he actually braked earlier than I expected, and I got a nice run around the outside. I don’t think he was necessarily expecting me to go there. It’s not a normal place to pass.”

The contact surrounding the pass didn’t go over well with Wickens, who, with co-driver Harry Gottsacker, managed to help maintain the TCR championship lead for the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR.

“I don’t want to be the poor loser, but I’ve never raced the 17 yet this year where there hasn’t been contact,” Wickens said. “I can race everyone else without any contact. It’s just the way he is. If that’s how he wants to play, that’s how we’re going to play.”

Wickens and Gottsacker will unofficially take a 20-point lead over Taylor and Miller into the season-ending race next month at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

“We have to perform, every race, to catch back the deficit we had at the beginning of the season,” Taylor said. “We’re taking it to Atlanta now. I think the ball is in our court. If we win, it doesn’t matter what they do.”

On a restart with 11 minutes left, Taylor passed Wickens, who quickly regained the lead when Taylor tangled with the No. 79 NV Autosport Ford Mustang GT4 driven by Drew Neubauer in Turn 14.

Minutes later, Taylor pulled his Audi alongside Wickens’ Hyundai, and the final tussle for the victory commenced. When asked if there was contact in the dark, Taylor replied, “Oh, for sure.”

“It was just good racing,” he continued. “That’s how we’ve all raced all season. I have a lot of respect for them. … If I finished second at Indianapolis, I wouldn’t be happy either.”

The two shook hands during the post-race celebration, but Wickens expressed his frustration with the late move and the previous pass on the restart.

“He hit me to get by, and then he hit a GS (Neubauer),” Wickens said. “I get back in front of him, and then their car is so fast that they just catch back up. I’m blocking for my life, and eventually all he’s going to do is just hit me out of the way. That’s what he does.”

Taylor’s winning margin at the line was 1.138 seconds. The No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR co-driven by Mark Wilkins and Mason Filippi finished third.

The Fox Factory 120, the season finale for the Michelin Pilot Challenge, will be held Oct. 13 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Peacock will provide live streaming coverage in the U.S.