Wayne Taylor Racing: Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Preview - Max Angelelli, Ricky & Jordan Taylor

Sep. 29, 2015

MAX ANGELELLI, RICKY & JORDAN TAYLOR

Defending Petit Le Mans Champs Head to Road Atlanta Looking for Repeat Performance To Close TUDOR Championship Season in Style for the Konica Minolta Corvette DP

BRASELTON, Georgia (Sept. 29, 2015) – The 100th race for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) a year ago this weekend was historic in more ways than one for brothers and co-drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor and veteran Italian Max “The Ax” Angelelli, who scored a dominating victory in the first Petit Le Mans of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship era.

For starters, the Taylor brothers became the first Americans to score the overall victory in one of the world’s most revered endurance races, collaborating with Angelelli to lead a race-high 248 of 400 laps around the historic 2.54-mile, 12-turn Road Atlanta circuit, including the final 65.

It was also a landmark win for the Taylor family as team owner and three-time sports car racing champion Wayne Taylor, father of the Taylor brothers and 2005 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series champion alongside Angelelli, co-drove to a historic victory of his own in the inaugural Petit Le Mans in 1998.

As the Taylor brothers and Angelelli and the rest of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP team for WTR return to Road Atlanta for Saturday’s 18th annual Petit Le Mans to close out the 2015 TUDOR Championship campaign, they are intensely focused on nothing else but a repeat of last year’s dominating victory, which would put a much-needed exclamation point on a season of ups and downs for a team that typically finds itself in serious contention for championships until the final checkered flag waves.

Trailing the TUDOR Championship-leading No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP by 16 points, the best they can hope for is a second-place finish just two points back. Still within reach, however, is the North American Endurance Cup championship-within-a-championship, which calculates each team’s performance in the season’s four iconic endurance events – the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, and the Petit Le Mans. The Taylors and Angelelli are tied for third, eight points behind the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP and just one point behind the second-place No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford in the Endurance Cup standings.

Practice for Saturday’s Petit Le Mans begins Thursday morning. Prototype-class qualifying is set for 4:50 p.m. EDT Friday with a live IMSA TV stream at IMSA.com beginning at 3:35 p.m. The green flag flies at 11:10 a.m. EDT Saturday for the 10-hour race with live television provided by FOX Sports 2 in three segments – from 11 a.m. to noon, 2:30 to 7 p.m., and 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. The entire race will also be streamed live on IMSA TV at IMSA.com The race will be rebroadcast as part of a three-hour highlight package at 1:30 p.m. Sunday on FS1. 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 overall thoughts as we head back to Road Atlanta for the season-ending Petit Le Mans?

“I’m quite disappointed that we aren’t in the championship fight but, as it has been for most of the championship, it is fun to be able to be aggressive and try to win races. Petit Le Mans is a long race but the style of the racetrack rewards commitment and aggressiveness in traffic, which gives us an advantage because we can exploit those areas a little more than the championship contenders.”

How will it affect the way you race out there while the championship contenders are busy trying to take care of business?

“It is quite strange not really having any chance to win the championship, but we will do everything we can to win the race again. It can be an awkward situation because we can afford to be aggressive and take chances in traffic but, when battling around the remaining contenders, we have to be careful to not be the guy who takes somebody’s championship away. We have to let them do their thing but without sacrificing our race.”

What are some of the lasting memories from your Petit Le Mans victory a year ago?

“Last year was an amazing experience and still one of the highlights of my life. It is so special that our dad won the first-ever Petit Le Mans and we won the first TUDOR Championship Petit Le Mans. There were so many reasons that made it a great day – the team executed perfectly, Max and Jordan drove very well, the car was fast, and everything went our way.”

Any thoughts at all looking ahead to next year, what’s our plan moving forward, how we plan to have more ups than downs next year in the final season before all-new equipment is introduced for 2017?

“I feel like we still have unfinished business with the DP platform and our whole team would love to win the championship with the DP. We have come very close in the past but never won the team championship in the current specifications despite being super-competitive. So, we are highly motivated to put it all together and leave the DP behind with a championship in its final year before moving to the P2 spec cars in 2017.”

 

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

Your overall thoughts as we head back to Road Atlanta for this year’s season-ending Petit Le Mans?

“Heading into Road Atlanta, we are just focusing on winning the race. We have nothing to lose in the championship so we can take as much risk as we want, both on track and with strategy. We are heading back as the defending winners of the race, so I think we can head there with a bit of added confidence, especially after our strong race at COTA a couple of weeks ago.”

How will it affect the way you race out there while the championship contenders are busy trying to take care of business?

“It’s the same position we were in last year. Last year, we were fighting for second in the championship heading into Petit but had no chance of winning. It takes a bit of pressure off because you are just going for the race win, so you don’t have to keep an eye on the points and who you are racing in the championship. You can just focus on one goal – winning the race. It’s those guys’ championship to lose, so we shouldn’t change anything that we do on track. They need to look after themselves.”

What are some of the lasting memories from your Petit Le Mans victory a year ago?

“The Petit Le Mans was always a big race for our family growing up. Dad won the first one and it was always a big talking point around the dinner table. So, to go back and win, 16 years later, driving with Ricky and Max and Dad as team owner was pretty special. Hopefully, we can repeat it this year.”

Any thoughts at all looking ahead to next year, what’s our plan moving forward, how we plan to have more ups than downs next year in the final season before all-new equipment is introduced for 2017?

“I think we can head into 2016 with a lot of confidence. We had a strong car all year, always contending at the front. We had two wins and three seconds. Our bad races were very bad so, as long as we can minimize those bad ones, we should be in championship contention next year.”

 

MAX ANGELELLI, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:

You co-drove to a very special victory at Road Atlanta last year. What are your thoughts as you return this weekend to defend your Petit Le Mans championship?

“Last year was a very special win in every sense. It was the first win for all of us together, and we all did an amazing job at the race, especially the team. There was never a doubt that we were going to be able to win, and fortunately we did not have any problems or issues. All I can think of is, we did it last year, so why not do it again this weekend? I would rate the chances of it happening again quite high. It’s a 10-hour race and a lot can happen. One thing I can say for sure is that it will be another incredible race to watch from green flag to checker.”

How special was it for you to win your first Petit Le Mans last year? Can you describe your feelings one year later? And how special was it to win with both Taylor brothers for the first time at one of the biggest endurance races in the world?

“It was a dream that came true, for sure. All of together for P1 at the Petit Le Mans – no words to describe how I felt at the time, and how I feel about it even now. I’m part of the Taylor family and also a business partner of Wayne after being his co-driver for many years. One thing that put it all in perspective last year was during my flight back home to Europe after the race. For that entire flight, it was one of the first times ever that that I didn’t have any second thoughts or bad feelings about the race thanks to the kind of weekend it was for the entire team, and especially with the final outcome. It was all just perfect. As far as working with Ricky and Jordan, it certainly feels special that they still listen to me (laughs). As long as this continues to happen, I will be more than happy to oblige them.”

 

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

Talk about how great it was a year ago to see your sons and Max co-drive to the Petit Le Mans win 16 years after you won the inaugural Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

“It was like a storybook – kind of unbelievable. When I won the inaugural Petit Le Mans, Ricky and Jordan were 9 and 7. Sixteen years later, they win, driving for my team, with Max. And the way they did it – they dominated. The team was awesome. It was amazing that they were the first Americans to do it. And, they’re so young. When I won the race back in 1998, no doubt that was one of my highlights. It’s one of the hardest races to win. It’s become a big name in global motorsports. I’ve always felt it was a very big win. Giuseppe (Risi, partner in the 1998 Petit Le Mans-winning effort) was one of the first people to call and congratulate me for winning last year’s race. He was very happy for me and the boys, and said what an amazing job they did. If somebody told me back in 1998 that my boys would win Petit Le Mans in 16 years for my team, I would have laughed at them. Look at them now.”

Your thoughts as we head to Road Atlanta to defend last year’s win, which obviously had special meaning for you and the family, and what you might expect this weekend?

“Obviously, it really is a special place for me and it always will be, even more so after what happened last year. Winning the first Petit Le Mans in 1998 was truly something, co-driving with two great friends in Emmanuel Collard and Eric van de Poele, and having my family there to see it. It’s always great to win a race. It’s always great to win one of the big ones. But it’s really special to win the first race of a new race that has since gone on to become one of the really big ones. It will always be a part of history. As for this weekend, it would be just fantastic if Ricky and Jordan and Max could make it back-to-back wins there. However, it’s going to be tough as every race this season has been, once again. Unfortunately, we had a few too many not-so-good results mixed in with our really good ones and the season-long championship has gotten away from us. We still can finish a strong second in the overall championship, and the North American Endurance Cup is very much in play, but our focus this weekend is clearly on winning the race.”

 

– TSC –

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