Wayne Taylor Racing: Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach Preview

April 14, 2015

LONG BEACH, California (April 14, 2015) – A year ago this weekend, brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor and the rest of the No. 10 Corvette DP team for Wayne Taylor Racing proudly announced a brand new primary sponsor in Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Appropriately enough, they came oh-so-close – within .759 of a second – of punctuating the triumphant occasion on race day with a victory in the inaugural Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase on the iconic Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) street circuit.

 

The Taylor brothers and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP team are back in town for Saturday’s third round of the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship campaign looking to go one better than last year. And, on the heels of their solid third- and second-place finishes on the racetrack after 36 grueling hours of competition at the traditional season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, they relish the thought of an all-out sprint to the checkered flag for 100 minutes come late Saturday afternoon on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

 

Last year’s second-place finish in their first visit to Long Beach was a gutsy performance for the Taylors and the team as older brother Ricky, who qualified fifth and started the race, overcame relentless pounding from behind from an overzealous competitor that damaged the No. 10 Corvette’s diffuser and quickly assumed a position in the top-three for the remainder of his opening stint. After a typically quick pit stop and driver change by the crew, Jordan Taylor drove a determined out lap and wrestled second place away from the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa. He held his position the rest of the way and crossed the finish line three-quarters of a second behind the race-winning Scott Pruett in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry.

 

With last year’s experience on the Long Beach circuit in-hand and the momentum from the team’s hugely improved performance on the racetrack at Daytona and Sebring in their corner this weekend, the Taylor brothers and their stellar pit crew know full well what it will take to come out on top at Long Beach this time around. And the plan is to go out and make it happen.

 

Practice for Saturday’s Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase begins Friday morning. Prototype-class qualifying is set for 8:55 p.m. EDT Friday with a live IMSA TV stream at IMSA.com beginning at 8:30 p.m. The green flag flies at 7:05 p.m. Saturday for the one-hour, 40-minute race with a live video stream available via IMSA TV. FOX Sports 1 will provide a next-day-delayed TV broadcast of the race at 4 p.m. Sunday. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and the IMSA smartphone app.

 

RICKY TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:

 

Your thoughts about going back to Long Beach after the first-time experience from a year ago and what we might expect out of the team?

 

“I think everyone’s game is up from last year and I know our team is stronger in all aspects, so it will be very competitive. I think qualifying will be crucial to a good result as it is very difficult to overtake and, with only one other class on track, we cannot rely on GT traffic to open up opportunities.” 

You had that solid second-place finish at Long Beach last year, although it was quite a bumpy ride along the way. Talk a little bit about last year’s race, the early drama, and the solid outcome.

 

“Yeah, it was a rough start to the race but I knew we had a strong car throughout my stint. When I handed the car to JT (Jordan Taylor), I knew we had a shot at a strong result. JT and the team did a great job to get by the 5 (Action Express Corvette DP). It seemed like we were just waiting for the 01 (Chip Ganassi Racing entry) to slip up because we were right there. It was a great result and the beginning of a string of really good races.” 

On the racetrack itself, you had about as good of a Daytona and Sebring race as you can have, short of winning. Your thoughts about now shifting into sprint-race mode and what, if anything, can translate from our solid on-track performances at Daytona and Sebring.

 

“I think a lot can be translated into this weekend at Long Beach. Our pace at Daytona was excellent, and our teamwork was flawless at Sebring. We need to combine those when we get to Long Beach because there will be no room for any mistakes. It is exciting to start our sprint races. We are always trying to be slightly conservative when we go racing in the long ones, but these races are really cut-throat and we can race hard, once again.”

 

The team made up a lot of ground in terms of our position in the standings at Sebring, although the Action Express Corvette managed to stretch its points lead, a bit. Thoughts about the points race at this juncture?

 

“I think we still have a shot. Although there are fewer cars and fewer points to be earned each weekend, I believe we can wear them down and keep the pressure on all season long.” 

A year ago, it was a pretty huge weekend for the team as it introduced its new sponsor Konica Minolta. What was that like, and what does having Konica Minolta on board mean for your program?

 

“Having Konica Minolta join the team has been a completely new experience, where the sponsor is truly integrated and involved with the race team. The excitement, activation, and interaction has been amazing, which has only made our race weekends that much more exciting. Not to mention, they are seriously cool people and an incredible company.”

JORDAN TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:

 

Your thoughts about going back to Long Beach after the first-time experience from a year ago and what we might expect out of the team?

 

“Last year was our first time going back to Long Beach, and mine and Ricky’s first time. It was a bit of a hectic start. Ricky was hit in the rear a few times, which damaged our diffuser. When I got in the car, we came out behind the 5 (Action Express Corvette DP) and 01 (Chip Ganassi Racing) cars. It’s a really tough track to pass on, so I knew the out lap on cold tires was going to be my best shot. The 01 went by the 5 and I made a pretty aggressive move to follow him through and managed to get into second. From there, it was about getting through traffic and staying in touch with the leader. The 01 was really strong that weekend. We ended up P2, which we were all happy with.”

 

You had that solid second-place finish at Long Beach last year, although it was quite a bumpy ride along the way. Talk a little bit about last year’s race, the early drama, and the solid outcome.

 

“I’m looking forward to going back to Long Beach. I enjoy the track itself. It’s a fun layout to drive on. As for the team, I think we have a good shot at being right at the front. We had a good car there last year, and since then we have developed the car pretty far and I think we’ll be going back with a strong package. We have been super strong in the pits this year, as well.”

 

On the racetrack itself, you had about as good of a Daytona and Sebring race as you can have, short of winning. Your thoughts about now shifting into sprint-race mode and what, if anything, can translate from our solid on-track performances at Daytona and Sebring.

 

“I’m excited to start the sprint-racing part of our season. You can be a little more aggressive with everything and take a few more chances throughout the race. At Daytona and Sebring, you are pushing the whole way through, but there is always a sense of caution because it’s so long. For Long Beach, there’s no time to wait around.”

 

The team made up a lot of ground in terms of our position in the standings at Sebring, although the Action Express Corvette managed to stretch its points lead, a bit. Thoughts about the points race at this juncture?

 

“It’s still too early in the season to start looking at the points. We need to just go race by race and try to maximize what we can each weekend.”

 

A year ago, it was a pretty huge weekend for the team as it introduced its new sponsor Konica Minolta. What was that like, and what does having Konica Minolta on board mean for your program?

 

“It’s been a great year with Konica Minolta. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good, personal relationship with a sponsor as I do with all of the people of Konica Minolta. You can tell they are very much behind the program, which is exciting for us, because it gives us that much more incentive and motivation to go out and win races for them.”

 

WAYNE TAYLOR, owner, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:

 

It’s a big weekend for you and the team at Long Beach. Your overall thoughts heading in?

 

“Well, we’re coming off that second place at Sebring, which was a tremendous result for us considering all the problems we had in practice and qualifying that we finally sorted out once we got settled into the race. We had a really good run at Daytona on the racetrack. For all intents and purposes, we had second-place cars at the two biggest endurance races of the year – arguably a potential winning car at Daytona. Now we head out to Long beach, where we’ll be celebrating our one-year anniversary with Konica Minolta. We have most of their execs coming to the race, which is always exciting. They’re playing a bigger and bigger role with our team, getting more and more into our motorsports program. We certainly hope we can deliver them a win this weekend after coming so close in our first outing for them last year at Long Beach. Otherwise, we’re just taking it race by race at the moment, not really thinking about points. Brian (Pillar) our engineer is feeling good about the car, right now. The whole team is pumped up to perform this weekend. Both my kids are excited. We’re really looking forward to getting going out there.”

– TSC –

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