Wayne Taylor Racing: Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit Preview - Ricky & Jordan Taylor

May 26, 2015

DETROIT – Hello Detroit. How have you been? A year has passed since brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor hoisted the first-place trophy after co-driving to another victory for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic on your Belle Isle street circuit. And they’ve been dying to return for a shot at a Motor City three-peat in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP.

That shot finally comes Saturday, when 25-year-old Ricky Taylor and recently turned 24-year-old Jordan Taylor look to make it three wins in a row on the 2.36-mile, 13-turn temporary street course just a stone’s throw from the world headquarters of longtime team partner General Motors and its Chevrolet brand.

Two years ago, Jordan Taylor and veteran Italian Max “The Ax” Angelelli left little doubt as they dominated from pole to checkered flag in scoring their first of five victories en route to the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car driver championship, leading a race-high 45 of 61 laps along the way.

Last year, it was older brother Ricky Taylor’s turn to join his brother on the top step of the podium, and even though they combined to lead another race-high 41 of 57 laps, their thoroughly dominating performance suddenly looked very much in doubt on the white-flag lap when Taylor was side-slammed into the turn-four concrete barrier by Joao Barbosa of the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP just nine turns from the finish. Taylor was able to continue with his wounded racecar and, as Barbosa suddenly slowed with a cut tire resulting from the incident, Taylor managed to retake the lead. He was barely but able to hold off the hard-charging Richard Westbrook in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP at the checkered flag. Coincidentally, Taylor and Westbrook were teammates in the No. 90 Corvette in 2013.

In addition to thrusting the team into the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship points lead for the first time, last year’s victory was redemption in a huge way for Taylor, who in 2012 co-drove the No. 10 Corvette with Angelelli at Belle Isle and led 13 of the opening 39 laps of the race, but inadvertently smacked the outside wall at pit exit after what was to be a final fuel-only stop while leading, ending the team’s inaugural Detroit outing prematurely.

But, let us not forget that, on that very same Saturday in 2012, Jordan Taylor did score a victory in his first-ever race start on Belle Isle, co-driving the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Camaro GT.R to GT-class honors alongside Paul Edwards.

This year, the Taylor brothers and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette team ride huge momentum into Detroit after three consecutive top-two finishes, including the season’s first race win last month on the Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) street circuit sandwiched by runner-up finishes at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (Fla.) in March and the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca earlier this month.

Practice for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic begins Friday morning. Prototype-class qualifying set for 5:55 p.m. EDT Friday with a live IMSA TV stream at IMSA.com beginning at 5:10 p.m. The green flag flies at 12:05 p.m. Saturday for the one-hour, 40-minute race with live television provided by FOX Sports 2 beginning at noon. FOX Sports 1 will rebroadcast the race beginning at 2 p.m. 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:

 

As far as your performance on the racetrack, the team is off to one of its best starts to a season in recent memory. What are your thoughts about how things have been going this season, why it might be going so well, whether it’s realistic to expect to perhaps run the table with podium finishes at every race?

“It has certainly been a great start to the season. Our team has executed very well and our pace has been strong at every racetrack. We cannot rest as the other teams will be pushing very hard and we always have to keep improving. We still have a lot of points to make up, so we have no option but to keep the pressure on the rest of the field all season.

 

Now you’re headed to Detroit, where the team has won two straight (and Jordan is three-for-three). Your general thoughts about the team’s success there and what it means to you. And, can we expect to be the team to beat again this year?

“It has been a good racetrack for us as we have had a good car there in the past. The track has changed a bit from past years but I don’t think it will affect our approach to the race. We expect everyone else will be stronger than ever, however, we do expect to not lose.” 

 

Last year’s race ended with a wild last lap. Talk us through that lap from your vantage point, what emotions you experienced as it was unfolding, and what it felt like to come out on top after a lap like that.

“I have to say it was probably the wildest win I have had. At the end of the race, I knew we were good on short runs after restarts, then they (Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP) had the advantage after five to 10 laps. So, the late restart allowed me to get a good gap, and then it was about holding him off after that. I got balked by a GT in turn four on the last lap and did not do a very good job of defending my position, which allowed Barbosa to the inside. I attempted to hold the outside in turn five to position myself on the inside in turn six, and he exited the corner as if I was not there, pushing me all the way into the wall. Karma struck instantly and he developed a puncture, which gave us the lead and, ultimately, the win.” 

 

Lastly, talk about the importance of this race with respect to the fact it’s the hometown race for your team’s partner General Motors.

“I’d say it’s second only to the Rolex 24-hour. We put an incredible amount of emphasis on this event. Being right outside of GM’s headquarters, we give everything we have to give Chevrolet a good result on home soil.” 

 

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

 

As far as your performance on the racetrack, the team is off to one of its best starts to a season in recent memory. What are your thoughts about how things have been going this season, why it might be going so well, whether it’s realistic to expect to perhaps run the table with podium finishes at every race?

“Yeah it’s really been a great start to the season, performance-wise. Last year, it took us a few races to get things into a rhythm but, this year, we are carrying over the same package as last year in terms of car and personnel. We ended the year strong with our win at the Petit Le Mans, and we’ve carried that momentum through the first few races this year. I think we are in a great place right now with everything, and we expect to be battling for wins the rest of the year.” 

 

Now you’re headed to Detroit, where the team has won two straight (and Jordan is three-for-three). Your general thoughts about the team’s success there and what it means to you. And, can we expect to be the team to beat again this year?

“Our wins at Detroit have always been a full team effort. We only have one pit stop, so a lot comes down to the team getting the job done in the pits. The guys have always done a great job to either keep our track position, or make positions up. Heading back there this year, I think we’re in a better position than we have been in the past. We have a stronger qualifying car than we did in the past, which should help our starting position compared to last year, and we’ve always been strong in the races and pits. Hopefully, we can make it four-for-four.”

 

Last year’s race ended with a wild last lap. Talk us through that lap from your vantage point, what emotions you experienced as it was unfolding, and what it felt like to come out on top after a lap like that.

“It was a complete nightmare watching last year’s finish. I remember, with about 10 minutes to go, I went to the bathroom just to avoid watching the TV for a few minutes. I knew Ricky could hold him off, but I also knew how aggressive the 5 car can get, sometimes. When it all started to unfold on the last lap, it was just a massive swing of emotions, corner by corner. And once you thought it was all over, the 90 was right there in the last few corners. It was a huge relief when he made it into the second-to-last corner in the lead.” 

 

Lastly, talk about the importance of this race with respect to the fact it’s the hometown race for your team’s partner General Motors.

“Every year, we have a few big races on the calendar that are a little more special than others. Detroit is big because we are in GM’s backyard. We have a big dinner every year with all the executives and they talk about how big this race is for them, and how important it is for a Chevy to win. Hopefully, we can carry the flag for them again this year.”

 

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

 

It’s been arguably your team’s best start to a season and you’re heading to Detroit, where you’ve won the last two years. Any concern that, like all good things, this streak may eventually have to end?

“Needless to say, we couldn’t wait to get to Detroit right after the race ended at Laguna Seca. It’s been a great few weeks of preparation since then, I believe. We’re well-organized, well-prepared, the guys have done a great job with the car. Detroit’s obviously an important place for us. We’ve won two in a row there and Jordan’s won three. As will be the case from now until the end of the year, we need to gather all the points we can get each time we race because we’re still a fair way behind. We are definitely not thinking about anything but winning each and every weekend. I think we’ve already had our bad race and that was Daytona. It was a great one on the racetrack but a devastating one, points-wise, and it’s still very disappointing as far as the consequences. Otherwise, we’ve always been there so far this year, even though the competition has been incredibly stiff. Right now, there’s a gap from us to the leaders of 11 points, which is a lot better than it was after Daytona. We’ve only done four races, so we’ve got six big ones, including a six-hour and a 10-hour, which means many things can happen. I remain confident.”

– TSC –

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