Richard Westbrook excited to return to JDC-Miller after year away racing for Cadillac in WEC…
by Jamie Klein for Sportscar365.com
January 25, 2024
Richard Westbrook says that a potential reunion with JDC-Miller Motorsports was always on his radar after sealing a deal with the Porsche customer outfit to return to full-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.
After a season spent largely in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Cadillac in 2023, Westbrook is back in the WeatherTech Championship this year, sharing JDC-Miller’s customer Porsche 963 with Tijmen van der Helm for the full season.
Westbrook previously was part of JDC-Miller’s program in 2022 with a Cadillac DPi, which yielded podium finishes in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Speaking about his return to the team, the 48-year-old revealed that he always considered it a strong possibility even after becoming a works Cadillac driver.
“I have a really good relationship with John [Church],” Westbrook told Sportscar365. “We had a really strong year in 2022, we were close to winning at Daytona, Sebring.
“We always stayed in contact, and I felt when I left it wouldn’t be a final goodbye.
“I’m really happy to be back in IMSA as well. The writing was on the wall (at Cadillac) and I was happy to get it done and be back where it feels like home.”
On his goals for the year, Westbrook says he is hoping that he and JDC-Miller can replicate the form they showed in 2022 and take the fight to the works GTP squads.
“My last year with JDC, there was a lot of promise but we fell off mid-season before coming back really strong at Petit Le Mans,” said Westbrook. “We were leading for a good chunk of the race until Loic [Duval] had an unfortunate accident.
“I want to pick up where we left off there, which is punching above our weight and taking it to the factory teams.
“It’s a huge task, because there’s so much work for these teams to do in GTP, which makes it even harder for the privateers, but JDC always punches above its weight.”
No Hard Feelings With How Cadillac Stint Ended
Westbrook shared Cadillac’s full-time WEC entry last year with Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, the highlight of the year being a third-place finish in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
However, the trio struggled for performance in subsequent races, only finishing 10th at Monza and Fuji before concluding the season in Bahrain out of the points in 11th.
Looking back on his season with Cadillac, Westbrook said he had no regrets at how his time with the American marque came to an end.
“You have to be realistic,” said the British driver. “It was a good year, we came away with a podium at Le Mans with a brand new car.
“I wish we had been more competitive at the end of the year. We got stuck in a box a little bit, it was really difficult, especially against the [Le Mans] Hypercars in the WEC. It was a shame that we didn’t realise that early promise.
“If it wasn’t for a couple of small issues, we genuinely could have fought for the win at Le Mans. So I have nothing but good memories and I wish them all the best.”
Westbrook also suggested that a return to the WeatherTech Championship appealed to him more over staying in the WEC for a second campaign.
“It was my first (full) year in WEC last year, and I’m not saying I don’t like it, but it’s a different mentality,” said Westbrook.
“IMSA feels more like home, I’ve done it for so many years, I love it here. There was an opportunity to come back, and here I am.”