MAX ANGELELLI & RICKY TAYLOR
Looking for SunTrust Win No. 3 on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
MONTREAL (Aug. 14, 2012) – Safe to say Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor and the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette Dallara DP team of Wayne Taylor Racing are feeling like their old selves again.
With a long-overdue podium finish and a relatively solid fourth-place run in their last two GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series outings, the veteran Italian Angelelli and Taylor, his newly turned 23-year-old co-driver, are creeping back closer to the racing form that saw them collaborate for six wins, 18 podium finishes and 10 pole positions in their previous 31 races together.
This weekend, they head north of the border for Saturday’s Montreal 200 on the legendary Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, where the SunTrust team has scored a pair of victories and two other podium finishes in five outings since the Rolex Series debuted on the 2.71-mile, 15-turn longtime home of the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix.
Angelelli and Jan Magnussen blazed to victory in the inaugural Montreal 200 back in 2007, leading a race-high 45 of 68 race laps along the way. Two years later, Angelelli and Brian Frisselle and the SunTrust braintrust on pit lane executed a perfect strategy in bringing home a second Montreal 200 victory in a race that ended in rainy conditions.
Add to that a third-place finish by Angelelli and Taylor in 2010 and last year’s runner-up finish by the SunTrust Racing duo and it’s no wonder the Montreal 200 is among the team’s favorite stops on the Rolex Series tour – never mind the abundance of world-class restaurants and scenery just across the St. Lawrence River in and around downtown Montreal and the warm Canadian hospitality and enthusiasm for sports car racing that greets them each year.
Count on another fast and furious battle to take place on the racetrack this weekend as the SunTrust team and its fellow Corvette DPs try to pull out all the stops in an effort to end the modest two-race win streak laid down by Starworks Motorsport in the season’s third-to-last event on the schedule.
Practice for Saturday’s Montreal 200 begins Thursday afternoon with qualifying set for 4 p.m. EDT Friday. Race time Saturday is 11 a.m. with SPEED carrying the television broadcast on a same-day-delayed basis beginning at 7 p.m. Live radio by the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Channel 117 begins at 10:45 a.m. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions can be found at www.grand-am.com, and on mobile devices at m.grand-am.com/laptrax.
Max Angelelli, co-driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Corvette Dallara DP:
You and the SunTrust team seem to be back to your old selves with a pair of solid finishes at Indianapolis and Watkins Glen. How do you suppose that will translate to another strong performance this weekend at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
“We are back on track. We have a nice history of winning and podium finishes at Montreal. I’m expecting for us to do well. The weather, as it always is, might be a question mark but I really don’t mind, either way. We have proved that we are very competitive in the dry and in the wet.”
Much like you and Ricky were the lightning-fastest duo in the Rolex Series for the last two-thirds of the 2011 season, it seems the Ford teams have emerged as the teams to beat with their exceptional speed of late and back-to-back wins. What is your plan to counter that?
“There’s not much we can do with tracks that have long straightaways, like Indianapolis and Watkins Glen and also, this weekend, at Montreal. All we can do is limit the damage and have a damage-control pace and strategy and hope for the best. The first thing we need to do is be sure we are the fastest Corvette DP and then see how the race will unfold. If it’s raining, anything can be possibility. That will be the great equalizer because, in the wet, engine and power are really secondary. In a dry race, then there’s not as much we can do racing head-to-head against the Ford Rileys or the BMW. Tracks like Indy and Watkins Glen and Montreal, all three are very low-downforce tracks. There are slow corners at Montreal, but not really enough to help counter what we will need, performance-wise, in dealing with the long straightaways.”
Knowing that you have a great appreciation for racing history, how special is it to race each year on the Montreal circuit?
“Racing in Montreal, especially the way it is situated on an island just a short distance from downtown, and having the Rolex Series garages and paddock at the end of the Olympic rowing basin, it’s like going back in time. The atmosphere there is all about competition. You can smell competition everywhere there. When you’re in the Rolex Series garage, you know that many years ago (1972) they had the Olympics there. Then, we go to the pit lane and you know Formula 1 was there just a couple of months ago, and it has been for many, many years. There have been many big races there. I have videos of old F1 races from the ’70s and it’s always very nice to go and race at a place where so many historic battles took place on the racetrack. Every year we go back, we also have a chance to add to that great history of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and I feel very proud to say we have won there two times in the last five years. I can’t wait to add more to that.”
Ricky Taylor, co-driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Corvette Dallara DP:
Your thoughts about heading back to Montreal after a couple of relatively strong performances at Indianapolis and Watkins Glen?
“I think it is encouraging that we’re running strong and finishing races again. I knew all year that we are fast but, the last couple of races, it seems like everybody has gotten so strong, especially the Ford teams. The race in Montreal is going to be tough for us and the rest of the Corvettes, but I think with the team we have behind us and our ability to work the right strategy, I’m hopeful we’ll come out of there with another podium result, possibly another win. It’ll come down to the same things we seem to talk about each race – we’ll have to qualify well so we can control the race with good track position because it is so very difficult to pass at Montreal, like it seems to be in most places we race. I’m definitely looking forward to going back to Montreal. I love it there.”
The SunTrust team has enjoyed a couple of wins and a couple of other podium finish in the previous five Montreal events. Is there something about the track that really agrees with the SunTrust car and drivers?
“Driver-wise, without question, Montreal is a classic Formula 1 racetrack. It’s very technical but very, very enjoyable when things are working well. I think, results-wise, we simply know how to get it done there because it really isn’t the greatest track for our particular racecar. It’s along the same lines as Indy and Watkins Glen – long straightaways and very fast, for the most part. The way we’ve been stacking up against the Fords at those types of tracks, we have been having a hard time matching the acceleration they get off the corners that lead onto the long straightaways. We’ll get as creative as we can in finding a solution to overcome that situation and hope for the best.”
How special is it for you to be racing on such a historic track like the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
“I think, for me as an American driver, you never get to drive on Formula 1 tracks, except for Indy this year. So it’s always a huge treat to head up to Montreal and race on that track. I’ve watched so many races from there over the years, watching on-board cameras from the ‘70s and some of the classic Formula 1 races, it’s really neat to be able to get out there myself with the Rolex Series. All the best drivers I watched and read about and I was interested in when I was younger all raced on that track. At the same time, since they don’t have many races at that track, the fan turnout is unbelievable and it’s very cool to see and hear their enthusiasm for us when we’re in town. They love our sport in Montreal and that makes for a great racing environment.”
Wayne Taylor, team owner of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Corvette Dallara DP:
Montreal is a track where you’ve had great success in your first five visits there. What is your outlook for this weekend?
“We love going to race in Montreal. It’s just a great place to go to, in general. Very enjoyable. As for our success at the track, oddly enough it’s certainly not a track that’s really ever suited our car. I think what made the difference for us in our two wins there was that our drivers and team were at their best and everything clicked, and the strategy both times worked to perfection. This weekend, as you’ve seen at the last two races at Indy and Watkins Glen, I think we’ll definitely have our work cut out for us once again. The Fords and the BMW have been able to generate so much more power that I’m afraid that we’ll just be racing against the other Corvettes. Those teams also now have aerodynamic devices available to them that will make them that much faster at another fast track like Montreal. It’s a little upsetting but, then again, we’ll just put our heads down and do everything we can go be there at the end and hopefully race for another win.”
Source: SunTrust Racing