Despite having to conserve fuel throughout the two hour event Spirit of Daytona Racing drivers Ricky Taylor and Richard Westbrook were still able to celebrate a podium finish in the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Taylor started the race – the third race of the Rolex Series season – and from the outside of the front pushed for the lead throughout the opening part of the race before the caution flag flew. Under the caution several other teams, including the race leading #99 of Jon Fogarty, took the opportunity to pit, while Taylor remained on track, inheriting the lead, but also the need to save fuel in order to make the team’s intended one stop strategy work.
Despite the shackles of conservation Taylor was able to hold onto the lead for 24 laps.
“The car was really fast in clean air,” said Taylor. “I felt like we were definitely as good as the 99 and then the 10 and 01 didn’t have the pace we did for sure. I was a bit frustrated with myself in traffic and I kind of let them get away.”
The car, and the task of saving fuel, passed to Briton Westbrook at the team’s one and only stop of the race coming shortly after the half-way point. Despite being told to save even more fuel by team owner Troy Flis Westbrook took the #90 Corvette Daytona Prototype back into the top three, though he was unable to keep up with the pace of Alex Gurney in the #99 and Max Angelelli’s #10 – both of which had opted for a two-stop strategy after pitting under the protection of the caution flag.
“We were pretty much out of fuel toward the end,” said Westbrook. ”But that’s part of sports car racing. Sometimes you have to play the fuel mileage game. It’s a real shame when you’re driving and you know how good the car is but you have to save fuel. But it was good points for the championship and I think when we all wake up tomorrow we’ll be happy.”
“We saved more fuel than what we thought, so we were pretty happy with that,” said Flis. “We didn’t have to take as much during the pit stop which was good. So then we had Richard conserving as well as being on that lean map. So it lost some power and we weren’t as quick as we needed to be to run the leaders back down. But the leaders did what they needed to do which was a great call of doing the short pit – stuff that we’re still learning here. I’d love to say that we know everything but we don’t, we learn every weekend. A great effort from the drivers today, a great effort from the team, ECR did a great job with the motor and we got Visit Florida on the podium and that’s what we need to do for the championship.”
The third place – their best result of the season to date – leaves Westbrook and Taylor fifth in the DP points standings with only a fortnight to wait until the next race on the calendar at Road Atlanta.