Changes abound for Wayne Taylor Racing at the start of the Rolex Series season. Jordan Taylor replaces his elder brother Ricky as a full season driver for the Daytona Prototype squad while Velocity Worldwide give the squad a new sponsor and new – black and orange – livery to match.
One of the few constants, besides Wayne Taylor at the head of the team, is Max Angelelli. The Italian won the 2005 Rolex 24 and has an enviable record in qualifying for the Rolex 24, having put the team on the front row for the last three races, including a pole position for the 2010 event.
However, in testing earlier this month at Daytona International Speedway the team struggled to find the pure pace in their Chevrolet Corvette DP to challenge at the top of the timesheets, but as the team prepares for the first on track action of the Rolex 24 weekend Angelelli is relaxed about apparent issue.
“Everybody has gotten used to seeing us at or near the top of the timesheet each year, but that was not the case this year,” he said. “I’m pretty confident that, as everybody knows, a fast lap time is not what it’s all about for such a long race as the Rolex 24. But we have to admit that it was a concern to see six Ford- or BMW-powered Rileys with the six fastest laps.”
“Our team was actually experimenting with many items on our car that were specific to the 24-hour race distance and not all of them worked. So you have to take all of that into consideration when you look at our lap times over the course of the test. For the sake of our team, our sponsors and our fans, I certainly hope we can reverse the results that we all saw at the test.”
Jordan Taylor and Indycar champion Ryan Hunter–Reay, who completes the team for the race, will be making their six and seventh consecutive Rolex 24 starts respectively. However, for both 2013 will be their first with Wayne Taylor Racing and for 21-year-old Jordan it will be his first in the premier class of the Rolex Series having served his apprenticeship in GT ranks.
“It will be cool to go for overall wins, which I haven’t been able to go for in my career, yet,” Jordan said of the change in class. “Going to a new team with my family, Max who is like a brother to me, it’s just a great experience every way you look at it. The biggest thing will be learning the downforce of the DP, the capabilities that go with that. I drove the Action Express Corvette DP at Watkins Glen, so that gave me an idea what it’s like. Going from GT to DP is more a matter of looking out the front of the car than having one eye in the mirror. I can keep my eyes out the front windshield just because I hopefully won’t have cars driving by me on the straights.”
“Really, it’s just a different type of racing,” Hunter-Reay addresses his own switch from the DW12 Indycar to the Daytona Prototype and endurance racing. “Just like you would adapt to any different type of car, whether it be a Corvette Daytona Prototype or an ALMS car, it just depends on what you’re driving. You drive within that.”
“Really, the mentality that changes is that you are in an endurance race. You have to take care of the car. You can’t hit curbs. You have to look after it to hand it off to the next guy. You can’t be too hard on the brakes and you have to be good on fuel to be there in the end as it actually becomes a sprint race in the last few hours. Rolex 24s the past few years have been like sprint races the entire time, but there is that bit of conservation in there.”