Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) return to the streets of Long Beach this weekend as the defending Prototype winners around the legendary circuit looking to recover from a disappointing Sebring twelve hours last month.
The Taylor brothers Ricky and Jordan are seeking to get back on track following their twelfth place finish in Sebring that saw them drop to sixth in the WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship standings after finishing second in the opening race at Daytona.
Ricky Taylor feels encouraged by the pace shown so far by the team, and believes their twelfth place finish in Sebring is unrepresentative, and feels the Long Beach circuit should suit their Dallara Corvette DP.
“I’m really looking forward to going back to Long Beach,” insists Ricky Taylor. “We had a rough Sebring, so going somewhere that we have had a win and a second place is very encouraging to hopefully get some points back in the championship.
“It is always nice to go back when you are the defending race winners. It always gives you a little extra confidence and a boost in your step walking into the track on Thursday. We have been to Long Beach twice and we unloaded the first time with a good car right off the bat.
“The car has always suited the tight corners and hard braking at Long Beach. Track position is very important and qualifying is a premium, which we have managed to achieve a good result both times.”
Ricky insists that the two forthcoming races at Long Beach and Laguna Seca at the beginning of May offer the team two excellent opportunities to recover the lost points of Sebring, and feels they are still in with a good shot of making a challenge for the championship.
“It was a bit of a disappointment at Sebring because we felt that we had a little buffer leaving Daytona in points to the rest of the regular-season threats,” says Ricky Taylor. “After Sebring, we are very much still in the mix, but without the lead we had after Daytona.
“We have two good races coming up for us and we need to take advantage of those to set the tone for the rest of the season. Looking ahead, our team has worked very hard and our car is stronger than last year, so I am confident we can fight for wins for the remainder of the season.”
Brother Jordan admits he is happy to be returning to a track as defending champions as it makes him feel more confident knowing they were able to get the job done at the legendary track twelve months ago, and is looking forward to another strong street race performance from the team.
“It’s always cool to head back to a track where you are the defending winners,” says Jordan Taylor. “It gives you a bit of extra confidence and you tend to enjoy driving on those tracks a bit more. It’s a cool city to race in, with lots of racing history, so I always enjoy going back.
“We’ve always seemed to run well on both street courses and sprint races. We’ve had a first and second at Long Beach, and then two wins at Detroit. Everything has to go right in these races, from the drivers maximizing every lap, to the guys in the pits for that one crucial stop, to the strategy. So I think it just shows how well our team executes in those situations.”