Dutch racing driver Renger van der Zande has been named Jordan Taylor’s full time teammate for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, driving the Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R for the 2018 season.
The 31-year-old from Amsterdam co-drove with Belgian sportscar star Marc Goosens this past IMSA WeatherTech season in the #90 VisitFlorida Racing Prototype-class entry, scoring a signature win with a dramatic pass for the lead at the end of the race at Laguna Seca, as well as a podium finish at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Prior to that he won the Prototype Challenge title in 2016 with Starworks.
Van der Zande fills the seat vacated by Ricky Taylor, who co-drove with his younger brother the past four seasons to 12 wins, 25 podium finishes, and qualified on the pole eight times. Ricky Taylor is set to move to Team Penske for 2018, to race as part of its new Acura DPi programme.
“Renger was at the top of our list when it came to finding a replacement for Ricky and, after doing our due diligence to make sure he was free and clear of any other obligations, and based on that, we decided to move forward to further the negotiations,” team owner Wayne Taylor said.
“We are absolutely thrilled that it worked out that he can join us. Because Ricky and Jordan were fighting for the championship until the last race, we couldn’t really announce anything about Ricky until the season was over, which had us a little concerned that it would be difficult to find a good driver.
“Based on everything we’ve seen, Renger is going to fit in well here. Speed-wise, he’s going to be good. I think he will be good on equipment. He has a great personality and fits in with the team and our sponsors really, really well. Konica Minolta and Cadillac and GM are all on board and are very excited. We are really looking forward to this.”
Van der Zande added: “Needless to say, I’m very happy to join the Konica Minolta Cadillac team – it’s a mega opportunity. I have to say, for me, being with VisitFlorida Racing was a good step up from LMPC, and now joining a Prototype championship-winning team is very special.
“The atmosphere on the team is great. We are preparing to go full speed ahead for 2018 season, focusing on getting the drivers and the mechanics and everybody else working as a team. It feels like I’m jumping into a warm bath. In the last four years, my career went up from a guy trying to make a name in the sport to someone asked to race in the cars of championship-caliber teams. I feel very privileged to be in that position.
“Now, being contacted by Wayne and getting asked to drive for this championship-winning team, that’s the crown for driving all sorts of cars all over the world for so many years. Yes, there will be pressure on the track, and even more by replacing a family member. But pressure is always there – it doesn’t matter.
“I’m the type of driver who’s willing to take the risks. Of course, you have to be smart and do it in a clever way, but I’m racing the way I’m racing and I think it’ll fit very nicely.”
Van der Zande will be with the team during its December and early January test days at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in preparation for the 2018 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona Jan. 27 and 28.
Images courtesy of WTR