The Roar Before the Rolex 24 test days provided the scene for the Taylor Family Reunion, as three members of the Taylor family came together to work on the #10 Velocity Worldwide Covette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing.
Team owner and three-time sportscar racing champion Wayne Taylor stepped in to the car for the first time since a brief stint in 2011 to drive alongside his sons Ricky and Jordan Taylor at the season opening Rolex 24 at the end of the month. Joining the Taylors is longtime friend, business partner and championship-winning co-driver of Wayne, Max Angelelli.
“It’s a great opportunity for me and the kids and Max, all never having driven together,” said Wayne Taylor. “For me, not having driven a racecar competitively since 2010, it’s very difficult to get into these cars and go fast. And, I’ll have to say that until the night session last night, I was seriously considering that maybe this was not the right thing to do. But then, with some more laps, I started better understanding the car and its limits and, most importantly, began feeling comfortable. I don’t think I’m competitive enough to the point where I always used to be as a driver. But this situation is different. I’m not here to play a lead role. I’m here just to be here and lucky enough to be put in the car at some point. I think we can do it.”
Wayne Taylor, the winner of the 1996 and 2005 Rolex 24, came out of retirement purely for the opportunity to co-drive with his sons, who will drive the #10 machine full-time in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Angelelli, who was part of the 2005 Rolex 24-winning team en route to the Grand-Am championship that same year, also drove alongside Ricky Taylor to seven Rolex Series wins between 2010 and 2012, as well as taking five series wins and the Drivers’ Championship in 2013 with Jordan Taylor.
“I feel like we have had a very successful weekend,” said Angelelli. “We debuted a lot of new stuff on the car and did not face any big problems, and what small issues we had were addressed completely. Our car is very competitive. The new package with the help of Dallara and Chevrolet really worked well. I don’t see any major issues except the fact that racing for 24 hours is always a huge challenge.”
Angelelli set the fastest time of the WTR team throughout the tests, setting a time of 1:39.410 seconds at 128.921 mph, a time almost four seconds and 4mph faster than his fastest time 12 months ago. The extra speed comes as a result of numerous off-season updates to equalise the Daytona Protypes and the LMP2 machinery due to the merger of the Grand-Am series and the American Le Mans Series.
“As for making the DPs and LMPs competitive, I will best be able to answer that on Sunday after the race,” concluded Angelelli. “Who knows who is doing what here this weekend? I’ve seen some P2s going very fast, and I’ve seen other P2s with the same chassis and engine going very slow. Who is sandbagging and who is not? I can tell you that, if they want, they [the LMP2s] can be very fast. From the standpoint of the opportunity to race with Wayne and Ricky and Jordan all together, I think this is going to be the most special Daytona 24-hour ever.”