Wayne Taylor Racing: Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach Preview - Ricky & Jordan Taylor
April 09, 2014
Brothers Taylor Set Sail on Long Beach Grand Prix Seaside Street Circuit
In Search of Maiden Tudor United SportsCar Championship Victory
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor were 16 and 14 years old, respectively, and young racing prodigies in the national go-karting ranks when their father’s sleek, Daytona Prototype raced for its first and only time on the legendary Grand Prix of Long Beach street circuit back in 2006.
This weekend, the brothers Taylor will for the first time share the driving duties of the championship-winning No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype when they join their fellow Tudor United SportsCar Championship competitors for Saturday’s Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase. They’ll take to the iconic 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary seaside street circuit as part of the 40th annual Grand Prix of Long Beach Verizon IndyCar Series weekend for round three of the 2014 Tudor Championship.
After a nearly flawless runner-up finish the last weekend in January at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona co-driving with veteran Italian Max Angelelli and their three-time sports car racing champion and team owner Wayne Taylor, followed by a seventh-place run alongside Angelelli in last month’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Ricky and Jordan Taylor are set to embark on the sprint-race portion of the schedule beginning with Saturday’s one-hour, 40-minute street shootout in Southern California.
Angelelli and fellow veteran Jan Magnussen co-drove to an eighth-place finish in the No. 10 racing machine when they were regulars in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series in 2006. Angelelli, who co-drove to the 2005 Rolex Series title with Wayne Taylor and the 2013 Rolex Series championship with Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 prototype, stepped out of his full-time co-driving duties to focus on the four events of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup.
The Rolex Series made its one and only appearance at Long Beach in 2006 while its then-rival American Le Mans Series assumed the role of Saturday headline race there from 2007 through 2013. This year, the two series combined to form the Tudor Championship and the highly anticipated unification of sports car racing in America already has produced blockbuster results in its inaugural two events at Daytona and Sebring.
The No. 10 Corvette DP is certainly no stranger to success on temporary circuits as it qualified on the front row and dominated the first half of the race on the Belle Isle street course in downtown Detroit in the hands of Ricky Taylor in 2012, then scored a dominating victory from the pole at Belle Isle in the hands of Jordan Taylor and Angelelli last June en route to their first of five wins in 2013.
Count on the brothers Taylor and their engineers and crew to dig deep into that knowledge base from their success at Detroit the last two seasons as they set their sights this weekend on that all-important first win of 2014.
Practice for Saturday’s Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase – part of the 40th annual Grand Prix of Long Beach IndyCar weekend festivities – begins at 10:40 a.m. EDT Friday with Prototype-class qualifying set for 9:05 p.m. Saturday’s one-hour, 40-minute race takes the green flag at 6:10 p.m. with live television coverage provided by FOX Sports 1 beginning at 6 p.m. A live online video stream will also be carried by IMSA.com with a prerace show beginning at 5:40 p.m. The Motor Racing Network’s live radio broadcast will be available in its entirety on IMSA.com and MRNRadio.com, as well as select radio networks beginning at 6 p.m. Live timing and scoring of all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and the IMSA smartphone app.
JORDAN TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype:
You’re headed to Long Beach to race for the first time in your career. How have you been preparing and what are your overall thoughts about racing there this weekend?
“I’ve been watching past ALMS (American Le Mans Series) races from there. I just got done watching the race from last year again. I’ve been doing a lot of research, running the simulator, whatever I can get my hands on. The dynamic between the LMP1 cars that ran there last year, between them and the LMP2s and GTLMs, it made for an interesting race, for sure. I’ve been focused mostly on where it’s possible to get by the other cars and where it’s not. What it comes down to is it’ll probably be best to be patient and wait for the straights, a couple of which are pretty long. We’ve always enjoyed watching the Long Beach IndyCar and ALMS races over the years because we weren’t going there, ourselves. It’s one of those huge events in racing history and goes back a long way. I love watching the videos on YouTube where guys like Patrick Depailler were wheeling their Formula 1 cars around there back in the ’70s, thinking how amazing it was to race there back then and how great the cars were and how crazing the racing was. I even watched one of those videos again last week just to see what it was like then compared to what it’s like now. Cars had so much horsepower they would jump up and down the many elevation changes. That kind of thing was never heard of anywhere else in the world – such elevation changes on a street circuit, especially. Cars would come down pit lane and there were people running all over the place. It was crazy.”
At one hour and 40 minutes, this weekend’s race will be one of the shortest in sports car racing history. What are your thoughts on that?
“It’s going to be another new dynamic, especially having started the year with the Daytona 24-hour and Sebring 12-hour. We’ll have to change our mindset from endurance racing to a sprint race. It’s a whole new dimension when it comes to strategy, fueling, driver changes, etc. Everybody will be in learning mode, and whoever ends up making the right calls is going to come out on top. We were very good at those things last year and won a championship because of it. The last three races, we basically won in the pits. We came out ahead in position to race hard and hold onto the lead. This weekend will be similar to Detroit in that it’s a street course, and we did really well at Detroit the last two years. When we first get to Long Beach, the track will be green with no rubber down. As the weekend goes on, it’ll get better. We learned that at Detroit. This weekend, not only will the race be short, but the only practice we’ll have is two hours in the morning on Friday, when the track will be completely green, and a half-hour right before qualifying late in the day.”
Also new this weekend will be you and your brother Ricky being the only co-drivers in the car. How do you feel about that?
“It’ll be really cool. We drove together already this year at Daytona and Sebring, and it was a good transition to have Max (Angelelli) driving with us those two races to help us get used to working with each other. This will be the first true test of how Ricky and I truly work together. Basically it’ll be just us two with Brian (Pillar, engineer), Max and my dad working with us and sharing their different points of view. We’ll do our best to steer the car (setup) in the direction it needs to go. So far, at Daytona and Sebring, all went well.”
RICKY TAYLOR, driver, No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype:
Are you feeling excited to finally get to race on the legendary Long Beach street circuit this weekend?
“I’ve watched Long Beach for many years and always enjoyed watching the IndyCar race there. I’ve been watching old F1 races there, too, even though it was a slightly different configuration back then. It’ll be cool to go to Long Beach. So many racing legends have raced there. When the ALMS got to go there the last several years, I was always stuck at home feeling jealous. It’s a great track. I’ve spent a lot of time on the track on my iRacing (simulator), and I’ve learned a lot from Max (Angelelli) because he was there in ’06. He’s telling me everything he remembers about racing there that year. I’m definitely gathering all the information I can get my hands on.”
You’ve done well on the street circuit at Detroit the last few years. Does that translate into a successful weekend at Long Beach?
“My thought on street racing is it’s really exciting, really cool, and really fun to drive because those tracks are so unforgiving. You really have to be focused and not make mistakes. On a normal track like Sebring or Road America, you put two wheels off every once in a while because you’re running so hard and the consequences aren’t necessarily bad. But there is no such thing on a street track. You have to be very conscious of where you place the car. It’s quite nerve-wracking with concrete barriers all around you. Long Beach is only a 100-minute race, so we can’t be conservative. We’ll be pushing qualifying laps every time around the track and can’t make any mistakes. We’ll have GTLM (GT Le Mans) cars out there with our Prototype-class cars. We don’t lap the GTLM cars too often so, in order to make a move on them, we’ll have to be quite aggressive. Even in a typical two-hour, 45-minute race, the intensity is quite high. I think track position is going to be so important this weekend. If you can make any sort of a move, it’s going to be ultra-important. We’ll have to make two pit stops, but there, too, we will have to be really perfect, as will our in and out laps.”
What are your thoughts about just you and Jordan handling the driving duties this weekend?
“We did it once with Beyer Racing at Homestead in 2009. It was cool then, and it will be really cool this year. I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve worked really well together so far at Daytona and Sebring. No competition or egos at all between us. It’ll be a little strange to not have Max driving with us, but he’ll be really helpful to have by our side all weekend. I’m looking forward to working with Max in a whole new way. There also will really be pressure on Jordan and me to make sure we get solid points in this sprint race part of the season, which starts this weekend. We’ll really have to capitalize on all the opportunities we’re presented with.”
WAYNE TAYLOR, owner, No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype:
Your thoughts as we head to Long Beach this weekend?
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been there. Ricky and Jordan have never driven there. It’s certainly going to be an exciting weekend for us because we will be introducing our new sponsor there, and with that comes even more pressure to perform. But that’s what we’re in this business for and we love it. Ricky and Jordan have spent a lot of time on simulators, getting to learn the racetrack and how to get around it most efficiently. Max also has been giving them a crash course on what the track’s all about. Being that we have minimal track time to get ready, and with the race being just 100 minutes, it’ll be that much more of a challenge, but we’re really looking forward to it. It’s a big deal to be at Long Beach. It’s the first of the sprint races for us this year. It’ll be the first time that it’s just Ricky and Jordan driving. So, it’s going to be interesting. Of our two practice sessions, the first is two hours long and the other is just 30 minutes. But that first session is going to be on a very green racetrack with no grip, so we’re not going to get much setup work done on the car. But it’s the same for everybody and we’ll do our best to learn the magic setup. We did well at it at Detroit the last two years, and we’ll have valuable data from there. Overall, it’s going to be just plain exciting.”
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