It was 10 years ago this month that Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli co-drove with Emmanuel Collard to victory in the 43rd Rolex 24 At Daytona to kick off a remarkable and dominating run to the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championship. This weekend, the veteran Italian Angelelli and Taylor’s sons Ricky and Jordan Taylor set the stage for quite the anniversary celebration by clocking the fastest lap at the annual three-day Roar Before the 24 Test Days at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
It was 23-year-old Jordan Taylor’s lap of 1 minute, 39.181 seconds at 129.218 mph in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing that set the standard this weekend around the 3.56-mile, 12-turn superspeedway road course among the more than 50 car-and-driver combinations that took part in the three-day test. When he and his 25-year-old brother Ricky and Angelelli return two weekends hence to open the 2015 Tudor United SportsCar Championship season with the 53rd running of the twice-around-the-clock endurance marathon, they’ll look to go one better than the back-to-back runner-up finishes recorded by the team the past two seasons in America’s most prestigious road racing event.
The fast lap occurred during Saturday’s first of four test sessions, and was followed by the third-, fifth- and second-fastest laps of the remaining Saturday sessions. Angelelli was behind the wheel for the latter hot lap under the lights Saturday night.
All three drivers of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP performed flawlessly in executing the team’s testing checklist for the weekend. The team was in shakedown mold during both Friday sessions as it was its first official outing on the racetrack since last October’s victory by the Taylor brothers and Angelelli in the 2014 season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. They clocked the fifth- and seventh-fastest laps of the Friday sessions. Sunday testing was slowed by wet conditions but was productive, nonetheless.
Teams return to Daytona for Rolex 24 practice and qualifying Thursday, Jan. 22. The 53rd Rolex 24 At Daytona begins at 2:10 p.m. EST Saturday, Jan. 24 with live television coverage of the race in its entirety beginning with two hours on the FOX broadcast network, followed by alternating coverage on FOX Sports 1 and 2, as well as IMSA TV on IMSA.com.
JORDAN TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
“It was a good test. These days, you need to have the fastest car because, when you get to the final hour (of the race), you need to race everyone. Five years ago, we wouldn’t focus on a lap-time car. We’d just make it as comfortable as possible. Now, you need to work on lap times and race pace because you know you’re going to come to that last hour having to race for the win. Day one this weekend, we just went through things that basically we needed to get through because we hadn’t run the car since the Petit Le Mans. So, I wasn’t really going for a lap time or developing the car. It was all about basically getting the drivers reacclimated to everything and getting used to the track again. Day two, we started working on the car and were quickest in the morning and were in the top-three the next two sessions. I think we made good progress on the car. All three of us are comfortable with it. We did a lot of pit stop practice during the night practice to get all the guys back into that mode. Overall, it was quite successful. We definitely have a lot to do on the car before race week. But, I think right now we have a comfortable car I think we can race for the win with. And we’ll just keep working on the car. Last year, we were stronger in the night than we were in the daytime. That’s one of the things we worked on this test, as compared to last year.”
RICKY TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
“We had a long test plan to get through and we just kind of worked through everything we needed to do methodically, even though some of the things weren’t necessarily things that would make the car go faster at the moment. But we got a lot of good chances made. Everything in the test plan got accomplished. WE got all three drivers in the car at night and got some long runs in. We definitely have things we need to improve but we made a lot of progress over the three days. I think we’ll have a strong car for the race. Weather conditions have proved to be a big factor. The car changes a lot in the heat. It’s always easier to drive the car when it’s cooler at night. But since the race ends in the middle of the day, in the heat of the day, we’re going to have to set up the car more for that, and that’s been a big focus of the weekend. If we make it through the night, it’s going to be a big sprint to the finish, so we’re going to keep focusing on that.”
MAX ANGELELLI, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
“It’s been a long weekend but a very productive weekend. I believe we achieved almost everything we had planned to test and deliver and improve so I feel happy. I think we are very competitive. I still believe it’s going to be down to a nice group of Prototypes in the race. I don’t think there’s going to be just one dominant car. I believe we are going to have several good cars that can shoot for the overall win. So, I’m inviting everyone to come watch the race because it’s going to be a very exciting race.”
WAYNE TAYLOR, team owner, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
“The Roar Before the 24 was a good test for us. The standard of competitiveness is much, much higher than I was expecting. There’s nobody in the Prototype class you can count out. Literally, there are probably at least 10 cars that could win this race. It’s not like years gone by when it’s been a race of attrition because all these cars seem to be bulletproof, now, and everybody’s racing at qualifying speeds. We tried many different setups with the car so that when we come back, depending on the weather, we can look back at our data and make the appropriate changes. All three drivers did a great job over the weekend, and the team, as well. We have a great team that did a great job this weekend. Thanks to Konica Minolta and all their support, Chevy and all of our partners. There’s still work to be done because we don’t know if it’s going to be a cold weekend or a hot weekend, weather-wise. Staying on top of setup every minute of the race is so critical with this level of competitiveness. I think we have a good car and it’s going to be all about driving, changing tires and fueling the car, and keeping the car on the track the entire race with no issues.”
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- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine