DETROIT – With all due respects to the Doobie Brothers’ 1976 hit single, the No. 10 Konica Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) driver duo of brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor are “Taking it to the Streets” for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race on the Streets of Belle Isle temporary circuit in downtown Detroit.
And, considering they won back-to-back races in 2013 and 2014 on the 2.36-mile, 13-turn layout in the middle of the Detroit River, as well as four of the last six races combined on temporary street circuits, the Taylor brothers couldn’t be happier to arrive in the Motor City for this weekend’s festivities.
Just seven weeks ago, they executed to near-perfection in winning for the second year in a row on the iconic Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) temporary seaside circuit, the only other such racetrack on the IMSA schedule. They started on the front row and led a race-high 72 of 75 laps in a performance eerily similar to their race at Long Beach in 2015, which they started on the pole and led 73 of the 78 race laps and won going away.
In 2013 and 2014, the WTR Corvette DP enjoyed nearly that kind of success on the Streets of Belle Isle. Jordan Taylor, who co-drove to the GT-class win in the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Camaro the year before, moved up to the Prototype class in the No. 10 WTR Corvette alongside veteran Italian Max “The Ax” Angelelli for the 2013 season. Taylor qualified on the Prototype-class pole for the first time in his career at Detroit, and he and Angelelli combined to lead 45 of 61 race laps en route to their second of five victories on the year, which culminated with the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series driver championship.
The Taylor brothers followed up that effort the following year at Belle Isle by leading 41 of 57 laps after starting fifth, and Ricky Taylor survived a thrilling last-lap duel with Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP to take the checkered flag.
In those four street-race victories at Long Beach and Detroit, the WTR Corvette DP led 231 of the 271 laps contested – 85.2 percent – which is a testament to the team’s exemplary performance during pit stops, as well as the engineering staff’s ability to set the car up in a way that maximizes its ability to get around typically rugged street courses.
After last year’s disappointing sixth-place result at Detroit prompted by a late-race penalty for contact deemed avoidable while running second, the Taylor brothers and the Konica Minolta Corvette DP team for WTR look to get back to their winning ways this weekend at Belle Isle.
Practice for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic begins Friday morning. Prototype-class qualifying set for 5:50 p.m. EDT Friday with live video provided by IMSA.tv. The green flag flies at 12:40 p.m. Saturday for the one-hour, 40-minute race with live television on FS1 and the FOX Sports GO app beginning at 12:30 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:
Your overall thoughts as we head to Detroit and, perhaps more importantly, another temporary street track, which is the kind of track on which the team has absolutely thrived in recent years?
“I’m upbeat about this weekend, as well as the remainder of the season. It’s always a better feeling when we have the pace. We will have a tough fight at Detroit but we will look to gain points every weekend. It’s still a long way to go. Our car has always been good at the street courses and I think street courses also reward good execution on the pit stops, which is something our guys work very hard on. As a driver, I enjoy all of the tracks, and the passing opportunities at Detroit make it a unique street course for racing. Everyone will be competitive this weekend. The Honda will be strong with the addition of Katherine Legge to the lineup, as well as Action Express, who is always strong there.”
Is it particularly satisfying to be able to do so well at Detroit, which is headquarters for WTR’s longtime partner General Motors?
“Because of that, it really does feel somewhat like a home race for us. The pressure of representing GM there is obviously very exciting for us in that they are headquartered there, but also because it’s the automotive capital of the U.S. Considering how well we’ve done there, we can never lose sight of the fact Detroit is a tough track where we have to be very precise with where we place the car. It makes for a very intense hour and 40 minutes. That all adds up to make winning there all the more satisfying, for sure.”
JORDAN TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
Your overall thoughts about heading to Detroit after your dominating win at Long Beach but then the disappointing result at Laguna Seca?
“Yeah it’s certainly been an up-and-down year so far, which makes it kind of surprising that we’re only six points back in the championship. We’ve had two strong races and two races that didn’t go our way. I guess that’s both the positive and the negative of having a small field in the Prototype class. You don’t lose too many points for a bad race but, at the same time, if you have a good race, it’s hard to build a big gap in the points. Detroit has been a strong event for us in the past, so I think we can look forward to bouncing back this weekend. It does give you a bit more confidence going into events like Detroit and Long Beach given our history at those events. Everyone has to be on their game from the beginning of the weekend, to maximize practice and qualifying to get a good starting spot for the race. They are true sprint races with just one pit stop, so it requires perfect execution from the whole team.”
Is there any extra pressure racing at Detroit considering the team’s longtime partnership with General Motors?
“Detroit is one of the most important races on the schedule for us. You feel the pressure of being in GM’s backyard and you want to win on home soil for them. The track itself is pretty tough. Most street courses are very low speed, but Detroit is unique in having a couple of high-speed sections. They’re not necessarily superfast, but when they’re lined by concrete walls, it feels fast. The toughest part of the weekend will probably be getting through the traffic. With only seven cars in our class, I’d say almost everyone can win.”
WAYNE TAYLOR, owner, No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
Your overall thoughts about heading to Detroit after the team’s dominating win at Long Beach for the second year in a row, but then the disappointing result at Laguna Seca?
“We absolutely love having the opportunity to race at Detroit, which is the home race for our longtime partner Chevrolet, and the results have pretty much proven that. Long Beach is a very important race for our partner Konica Minolta and we were absolutely ecstatic to be able to win there two times in a row for them after finishing second the first year (2013), when we announced our primary sponsorship there. Likewise, winning twice in a row at Detroit at the most important race for GM is huge for us. We would have liked to have had the chance to make it three in a row there last year, but this year gives us the chance to start a new winning streak. Everyone on the team is ready. We need to go out and do what we know how to do and just make it happen. We’re in a close fight for the championship this year, so earning maximum points each weekend is what we have to do from now until season’s end.”
– TSC –
- Tom Jensen
NASCAR Editor at FOXSports.com & RACER Magazine