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.

Miller and Taylor Return to TCR Victory Lane in No. 17 Audi

March 15, 2024

By Jeff Olson and John Oreovicz IMSA Wire Service

Chris Miller and Mikey Taylor drove the No. 17 Unitronic/JDC-Miller MotorSport Audi RS3 LMS TCR to a convincing victory in Touring Car (TCR) class action Friday at Sebring.

Miller engaged in a spirited battle with Motul Pole Award winner Harry Gottsacker in the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N TCR in the first 40 minutes of the two-hour contest. After the various strategies played out over the course of several mid-race cautions, Taylor emerged in the lead.

“It was a smooth weekend from start to finish,” said Taylor. “That’s what we wanted, and the team gave us that. I’m just happy the car ran well. The crew put in a lot of work after Daytona, and here we are.

“It was a tough race nevertheless,” he added. “It might have looked easy, but we were saving as much fuel as possible while just giving it our all there.”

It was the second consecutive Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR win for the No. 17 duo, who also triumphed in the season opening BMW M Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway in late January.

“We feel good, but the competition is really tough, and we know those guys are coming,” Miller said. “We had the best strategy today, which won us the race. But there’s a lot of fast cars so we need to keep working.”

Taking the checkered flag in second place was the No. 80 Victor Gonzalez Racing Team Hyundai shared by Morgan Burkhard and Chase Jones, but the car did not meet minimum ground clearance in post-race technical inspection and was moved to the back of the class. Andy Lally prevailed in a late-race multi-car scrap in his first race in the No. 12 StarCom Racing Hyundai that he co-drove with Nick Tucker. With the penalty to the No. 80, they moved up to second place with the No. 89 HART Honda Civic FK7 TCR with drivers Chad Gilsinger and Steve Eich taking third.

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.

Unitronic JDC-Miller Confirms Audi TCR Return

Mikey Taylor, Chris Miller back in team’s Gen2 Audi RS 3 LMS TCR…

January 17, 2024

by John Dagys at www.sportscar365.com

Unitronic JDC-Miller Motorsports has confirmed its return to IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge competition with the unchanged lineup of Mikey Taylor and Chris Miller in its Audi RS 3 LMS TCR.

The pairing, who finished third in the TCR championship last year, ended the season with three class victories, five podium finishes and four poles with its second-generation Audi TCR challenger.

“As the saying goes, why fix what isn’t broken,” said Taylor.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure driving with Chris and working with the entire Unitronic JDC-Miller team over the last few years.

“Last year we came so close to achieving our ultimate goal of the championship, and I’m confident if we can have a better start to our season we’ll be right there at the end again in 2024.

“Thank you to all our partners and crew members for coming back for another year of fun.”

Miller added: “Obviously 2023 didn’t end as we’d hoped but it was still a great effort by everyone involved and proved that we have everything needed to win the championship.

“To be able to return this year with a lot of continuity in the program should give us all a lot of confidence and I’m very grateful to everyone at JDC-Miller Motorsports, Unitronic, Liqui Moly and our other partners, for helping to make it happen.

“Looking back at last season we got off to a bit of a slow start as we were sorting out issues with a brand new car.

“We won’t have that excuse this year so it will be important to hit the ground running in Daytona and get a great result.

“I know everyone has been working hard to be as prepared as possible and I can’t wait to get on track.”

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.

JDC-Miller Looking to Cap Successful Seasons across Three Series

Jenson Button’s IMSA Debut and Two Challenge Series Championship Runs Highlight the Team’s Michelin Raceway Weekend

October 10, 2023

By Tony DiZinno for IMSA.com

Photo Credit: LAT Images

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Few teams run as varied a program within IMSA as Minnesota-based JDC-Miller MotorSports. Heading to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, the team’s three-series, three-class, four-car effort looks to steal headlines, thunder and championships from their rivals.

In Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans, the capper to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button will make his IMSA and track debut aboard the team’s No. 5 Porsche 963 entry in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class. It provides Button a chance to reunite with his NASCAR Garage 56 and 24 Hours of Le Mans teammate, Mike Rockenfeller, and emerging talent Tijmen van der Helm.

The team will also run a Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) chassis with drivers Rasmus Lindh, Dan Goldburg and Till Bechtolsheimer for the last race of that class within WeatherTech Championship competition. Its No. 85 Duqueine D08 has run with multiple drivers in four LMP3 races this year and has a best finish of third at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with a driver lineup that included Goldburg and Bechtolsheimer.

Motul Petit Le Mans will follow three additional races earlier in the weekend where the team seeks championships in a pair of IMSA challenge series.

Unitronic/JDC-Miller MotorSports with Chris Miller and Mikey Taylor in the No. 17 Audi RS3 LMS TCR will attempt to wrest the Michelin Pilot Challenge Touring Car (TCR) class championship away from Harry Gottsacker and Robert Wickens, who have a 20-point lead in the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N TCR.

Similarly, Goldburg looks to secure the inaugural VP Racing SportsCar Challenge LMP3 title in the No. 73 JDC MotorSports Duqueine D08.

Pulling double duty this weekend for JDC-Miller by driving an LMP3 in both the WeatherTech Championship and the VP Racing Challenge, Goldburg has a pair of 45-minute races in the latter to erase a 90-point gap to Bijoy Garg and the No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320.

Button Eagerly Anticipating GTP Debut

The JDC-Miller Porsche 963 tested at Michelin Raceway on Sept. 19, which allowed Button to learn both the car and the 2.54-mile, 12-turn track. After a 31-hour travel day from Singapore to Braselton, Georgia, Button was awed by the facility.

“How cool is this place?!?” Button remarked in a video before he started his track walk.

The smile continued once he’d completed the test day.

“Today went really well,” he said. “I got some good laps in the car. This track is nuts! It’s so fast, so fast flowing, with loads of blind crests. And I’m learning the track with a new car.

“It took a little while, but I felt really good at the end and good in the car. Yeah, I’m confident, so bring on Petit Le Mans!”

The JDC-Miller Porsche finished eighth at the TireRack.com Battle on the Bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, ending a run of three straight top-five finishes.

Team principal John Church isn’t ready to announce 2024 program plans but hinted “things are coming together well” and announcements should follow the season finale.

Taylor, Miller Headline JDC’s Challenge Series Title Attack

JDC has three IMSA titles on its resume, with three consecutive championships in Prototype Lites – the VP Racing Challenge’s previous series iteration – from 2014 to 2016 (Misha Goikhberg, Kenton Koch and Clark Toppe won those titles, respectively). Winning both the Michelin Pilot Challenge and VP Racing Challenge titles in the same year would mark quite a feat; winning either would add to the team’s extensive resume.

Taylor and Miller’s new second-generation Audi features a sequential gearbox among other technical enhancements. After working through some teething issues the first third of the season, Taylor and Miller hit their stride. They’ve won the last two races –VIRginia International Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway – and finished first or second in five of the last six races.

“The setup on this car is quite a bit different,” Taylor explained. “It’s a bit like a GT3 car with shims and how we adjust things. Now, I feel like we have a decent grip on it.”

As a single-car team, Taylor doesn’t underestimate what it would mean to win the title.

“I started in this class in 2018, and it was a lot more grassroots-type teams,” Taylor said. “Unless you put in huge money to compete, it’s quite hard, so I commend the smaller teams.

“You need a good driver lineup too, because it’s stout to go against (Herta drivers) Wickens, Gottsacker, (Mark) Wilkins and (Mason) Filippi.”

JDC-entered cars will run in Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans, which begins at 11:40 a.m. ET on Peacock in the U.S. (USA Network joins with live coverage at 6:30 p.m.), with the Michelin Pilot Challenge Fox Factory 120 at 12:25 p.m. Friday and the VP Racing Challenge races at 4:40 p.m. Thursday and 9:25 a.m. Friday. All three of those races will air live on Peacock.