One of the most promising young sportscar drivers surely destined for the list of all-time ‘greats’, Jordan Taylor recently spoke to The Checkered Flag about his future in the world of endurance racing, among other topics.
Understandably, one of the 24 year-old’s proudest moments was scoring his first ever class victory at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, along with Corvette Racing team-mates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.
“It was my fourth time competing at Le Mans, all with Corvette,” he said. “Le Mans was always the goal growing up. I grew up in a sports car racing family, so the one race that we always talked about was Le Mans. To win such a big event was an amazing feeling. Now the goal is to get all the other major endurance race wins on the resume.”
In his usual home in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship, Taylor races in the top Prototype category in his family team of Wayne Taylor Racing, whereas his Le Mans companions instead race a Corvette C7R in GTLM, using the same car as at Le Mans. This not only means that Jordan has the extra challenge of adapting to a completely different car, but also fitting in to a new team. This wasn’t a problem for him, though.
“I’ve been with the team now for four years. I was in the #3 car with Antonio [Garcia] and Jan [Magnussen] for those first three years, but inside Corvette Racing, both cars are very close. You are always working together with both cars, trying to improve. So I knew Olly [Gavin] and Tommy [Milner] and understood how they worked.
Coming in for just that one week out of the year is definitely tough though. Everyone in that class is racing those cars every weekend, so they know the car like the back of their hand. I had to figure everything out in that week and get up to speed, but with the help from all the guys, it was an easy transition.”
Corvette Racing’s LMGTE Pro division therefore works together well as would be expected, but one might think that the family team he’s used to would bring a completely different set of challenges.
“We have our ups and downs as a family based team. When we win together, there’s no better feeling than to do it with the people you love. When we have a bad day, we all have to go back home together. I think we’ve found a good balance to make it work. We know how to work with each other to get the best out of everything and everyone.”
The Daytona Prototypes that Wayne Taylor Racing and many other rivals such as Chip Ganassi, Action Express and VisitFlorida.com Racing use will be discontinued after 2016, meaning that the top teams in the Tudor Championship will be forced to adopt the new-for-2017 LMP2 regulations.
Currently, this is a style of car not performing too well in the USA, despite its overwhelming success in the European, Asian and World Championships.
“I think everyone is looking forward to the new cars in 2017,” he commented. “These cars are getting old and it’s time for something new. I know we’re looking forward to working with a new car and the fans should enjoy seeing something new on track.”
However, despite his team’s eventual switch to LMP2, Jordan insists that he isn’t considering a prototype drive at Le Mans anytime soon.
“I’m pretty happy with where I am right now. The GT class at Le Mans is very competitive. We may only have nine cars in the class, but every one of those can win the race. I enjoy the battle between all the manufacturers. If something had to come along in the future, I would definitely consider it, but it’s not something I’m going after right now.”
Of course, it isn’t the distant future that is most important for any racing driver at the moment, and Jordan is no exception. The 2015 season still has some crucial races coming up next, with Circuit of the Americas the next stop for the TUSC circus. WTR haven’t ruled out a championship win, even if Jordan admits “it’s a bit of a long-shot right now.
“We are looking at it like our 2013 season where we won the final three races and the championship. We don’t have anything to lose, so we’re just going for race wins. If we can win a few races, that’s our best chance to make up ground in the championship, there’s no reason to race conservatively.”
Two wins have already gone to the Taylor brothers this year, at Long Beach and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. However, last weekend’s round at Road America ended in disappointment following suspension damage.
Both of their 2015 wins have taken place at shorter races, suggesting that the upcoming Circuit of the Americas rounds will favour the team, but as Jordan reminds us:
“We won Petit Le Mans last year. I’ve finished second at the Rolex 24 at Daytona twice, second at the 12 Hours of Sebring twice, and second at the 6 Hours of The Glen.”
Strong performances at these endurance races prove yet again just how talented the team is. If they can repeat the Road Atlanta Petit Le Mans win from last year, perhaps they are in with a chance of the championship. His results also show that Jordan is not kidding when he states his main career goal:
“I definitely want to win all of the major sports car races.”
This will come as no surprise, as that’s the aim for all of his rivals, but to already have so much success at such a young age shows that he has a good chance of doing so.
Fans of Jordan will be familiar with his frequent social media posts, which see him (usually travelling) doing everything from miming along to 90s rap songs to imagining the life stories of his sleeping aeroplane neighbours. He told TCF that the reason he does this is simply because: “I wanted something to keep me busy.
“I get bored pretty easily, so these types of things were a way to take my mind off of just sitting in a seat going from Point A to Point B. It’s a weird way to do it, but it seems to get the job done. I think it’s important to connect with fans. They are the ones that make what we do possible. It doesn’t cost us anything to do it and most of them appreciate it.”
The last couple of decades have created some legendary sportscar drivers, and perhaps we can now predict the next one.