Racing brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor are aiming to complete a sweep of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship‘s western swing this weekend at Laguna Seca.
The Wayne Taylor Racing duo, driving the #10 Corvette Daytona Prototype, won the first sprint race of the season at Long Beach in mid-April and now have the chance to make it two in a row.
“Long Beach and Laguna have always been good races for us,” explains Jordan. “When we have a good racetrack for us, it’s always good to take full advantage and get the maximum result there. So, we’re heading there with good expectations. I definitely feel we will battle for the win.”
“The new wrinkle this year is that it looks like the Mazdas will be the ones to beat there. It is ‘Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca,’ so I’m sure they’ve been saving a little something for this race, every weekend, to make sure they have their best chance to win on that track.”
The first three rounds yielded a mixed bag of results for Wayne Taylor Racing, with second at the Rolex 24 at Daytona preceding a troublesome run to 15th at Sebring. Long Beach marked a welcome return to form, bringing the pair to within four points of championship leaders Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, drivers of the #5 Action Express Racing Corvette.
“The whole year, we’ve had good momentum after a great start at Daytona and the win at Long Beach,” adds Ricky. “Sebring was just a bit of a speed bump in the middle of all that. Daytona was great, and the only thing at Sebring that kept us from competing for the win was electrical issues. Long Beach became just an extension of our strong and clean run at Daytona. It was a great result and a great boost for the team.”
“It’s nice to go to Laguna Seca with a win under our belt, already. It’s always nice to get that first one. Every year, you feel like it’s so competitive that you might not get one, and when you do have one within reach, it’s so easy to let them slip through your fingers. So, it was nice actually hold onto one so early in the season.”
Although the team is currently enjoying a purple patch, the tides may turn at Laguna Seca with a track more suited to the European-style LMP2 cars. The splitting of the field into two races for Prototype/GTLM and Prototype Challenge/GTD should also make a difference, with more clear track available for the LMP2s to exploit. This considered, it will take a flawless performance from the Wayne Taylor Racing crew to score victory number two in 2016.
“When we go to each track, it’s a totally different approach,” says Jordan. “Long Beach is super bumpy and you can’t really run the car very low. The P2 cars don’t really manage to make downforce very efficiently because they have to run a little bit softer and a little bit higher so they can get over the bumps, and they can’t use the floor of the car. When we go to Laguna Seca, it’s so smooth that you just try to keep the car out of the packers and off the ground and you use the downforce much more efficiently.”
“As far as the balance between the cars, it’s going to be a totally different story. The DPs favored Long Beach and the P2s are definitely going to favor Laguna Seca. It’ll be interesting going back, for sure. It’s a good track for us last year, but I think with Mazda and its new engine this year, they’re going to be pretty fast.”
“Having just the Prototype class and GTLM, it’ll be a much cleaner race, for sure,” adds Ricky. “There will be all professionals on the track. Everyone gives good racing room and is aware of everything around them the entire race. So, again, it’ll be a much cleaner race at Laguna Seca than in the recent past.”
“But, I kind of enjoy having GTDs and PCs because there are definitely times when we can use them to our advantage out there. Now, with just the GTLMs, we’ll be able to catch them quickly enough, but it will be tougher to get around them. But, it is what it is and it’s the same for everybody!”
Round four of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship will take place this Sunday (May 1) with the two hour P/GTLM race starting at 14:15 and the PC/GTD race beginning at 18:45.