Ricky Taylor Tests SunTrust Racing Daytona Prototype Car Braselton, Georgia (May 4, 2007) -- In the past year 17-year-old Ricky Taylor has driven his share of race cars since moving up from go-karts. He's competed regularly in the Skip Barber ...
Ricky Taylor Tests SunTrust Racing Daytona Prototype Car
Braselton, Georgia (May 4, 2007) -- In the past year 17-year-old Ricky Taylor has driven his share of race cars since moving up from go-karts. He's competed regularly in the Skip Barber Southern Series, having just won its winter tour. This year he competes in the Skip Barber National Series presented by Mazda, where he has collected three pole positions and won one of four races and currently is tied for third in the points chase. Additionally, he raced at Road Atlanta last fall in the Star Mazda Pro Series. This weekend he will race for the first time in the Pacific Formula 2000 Championship series at Buttonwillow Raceway in California. The oldest son of sports car champion Wayne Taylor tested an IMSA Lights car during the winter. This week Ricky had a chance to test his father's championship winning No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley at Road Atlanta, adding to the breadth of race cars with which he has had the opportunity to drive.
The one-day test was arranged to give Ricky a chance to drive the five-liter, 500-horsepower Pontiac-powered race car at a circuit with which the young Taylor was familiar. The SunTrust Racing car now serves as a show car for SunTrust Bank but was the actual race car in which Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli won the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Team and Driver's Championship in 2005.
Tell us about your test and how different the car is from what you have been driving.
"It's a lot different than the Skip Barber car or the Star Mazda car. It's a lot bigger, a lot heavier, and a lot more powerful. I took most of the day just to learn the car -- just because of the size and the weight. I feel pretty comfortable with it now and I look forward to the next test. It's the most powerful car I've ever driven. The next most powerful car was the Star Mazda with half the horsepower, so it's definitely a big step up."
You've driven Road Atlanta many times, did that help with this test?
"I've probably done more laps at Road Atlanta than anywhere else in my car racing career, so it was a lot easier to learn just the car than to learn the car and the track. I had a little more confidence because of that and made coming in here for the test easier."
Are you ahead of your goals for today?
"I wanted to just learn the car first, then see what the changes felt like so I know pretty much what everything does."
Where do you go from here? What are your aspirations with the DP car?
"Hopefully I can just keep testing and get more and more comfortable with the car and eventually I expect to race...hopefully next year."
What is your focus this year?
"The Skip Barber National Series is my main focus for the year. Obviously testing is going to be pretty important for me. I'm definitely going to try to win the Skip Barber championship and get a free season in the Star Mazda series for next season."
How is the Skip Barber National Series going so far after four races?
"It's going okay. One race kind of hurt me in the points but we're allowed to drop one so I'm not that out of it yet. We still have a long way to go. I'm currently tied for third."
Regarding Ricky's test:
"We came here and the plan was really just for him to drive around and around. Honestly, there was no expectation and I didn't want there to be an expectation. I also just wanted him to do some mileage and Travis (Jacobson -- Race Engineer for Wayne Taylor Racing) was talking about changing some stuff. Very quickly he was up to speed and you could see that he was very at ease with the car. He didn't look like he was struggling. It just looked effortless. I thought he got up to speed way quicker than I expected. So that allowed us to do a lot more changes with him to learn about him, what his feedback is about, what he could learn by driving this car and working with us. He did 73 laps and he never put a wheel wrong. His times looked really good compared to what everybody else was doing around here at this test, even though that wasn't an issue. I'm very impressed. I've seen a smile on his face bigger than ever."
Regarding the goals for Ricky with the DP car going forward?
"Now I'm going to have to work harder to try and get him in one of these cars. My goal has always been to try to get him ready for the 24 Hours next year without compromising the team or anybody on the program. After what I saw today, there is no question he can be in the 24 Hour with us next year. We will continue to do more of these private tests with the show car. At some point we will include him with Max and I when we go testing for a proper race weekend so he can understand more about the race car and the whole team together."