Ricky and Jordan Taylor, drivers of Wayne Taylor Racing‘s #10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP, came very close to their second consecutive victory in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix yesterday, but ended up finishing a close 2nd.
The Taylor brothers led 60 of 112 laps, but missed out on a class and overall victory to the #90 Corvette DP of Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante. From the lead, Ricky Taylor pitted from first place for his final pitstop, and opted not to get new tyres, just more fuel. He was overtaken by Westbrook’s #90 whilst in the pits.
Six laps later, with 32 minutes left, Westbrook pitted, also just for fuel. This gave Taylor a perfect opportunity to re-take the lead, but failed to do so, due to the shape of the pit exit playing into Westbrook’s favour.
For the next 30 minutes, the two Corvette DPs were usually only around 2 seconds apart from each other, and they had to negotiate the slower PC, GTLM and GTD traffic. Ultimately, Taylor was unable to pass Westbrook, and so the Brit took the win.
“We had a really good car,” said Ricky Taylor, who was Westbrook’s co-driver in 2013. “Jordan did a great job in the opening stint to pull an eight- to 10-second gap to the 90 car. Then I got in and was able to hold a five- to six-second gap until the pit stops came around again. You can’t predict what traffic is going to do in those times. They pitted a couple of laps after us and came out of the pits as we were coming by. Three-tenths of a second and we could have gotten ahead and probably would have won the race. Our car was really good after that. I felt like I could put some pressure on Richard, but it was a little too late and the opportunity was lost. We knew they were going to be strong at the end of the race. But I think we were as strong, if not stronger. It’s a bit of a shame to have the best car and not win, but the points are good.”
At the start of the race, Valiante (#90) was able to overtake Jordan Taylor to take 1st in the first two corners of the race. Taylor regained the lead on lap 16.
“It was a good race,” Jordan Taylor said. “We knew it was going to come down between the us, the #90 and #60 (of Michael Shank Racing). We thought the #01 would be there, but they had trouble. We ran well. The race was dictated by traffic. Once we hit traffic, we could gain a gap or lose a big gap. That’s what really changed the race today. We were leading by 10 seconds, and then we’d lose the lead. When Ricky got in, we held the lead and then pitted. Richard (Westbrook) had clean laps while Ricky had traffic, and that’s where Richard made up his time. It was more a strategy and traffic race than anything, but we can leave here with good points and be happy with second place.”
With a 2nd place finish, the Taylor brothers move up to third in the Prototype class standings, 11 points off the lead. The next round for the team will be on May 30, the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at The Raceway on Belle Isle in Detroit, MI.