BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (April 2, 2013) – In the spirit of this weekend’s NCAA men’s basketball Final Four just two hours east on I-20 in Atlanta, Max Angelelli, his co-driver Jordan Taylor, and the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP team of Wayne Taylor Racing will be looking to rebound like never before during Saturday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park.
The beautiful but narrow, twisty 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park layout this weekend offers the perfect opportunity for Angelelli and Taylor to rebound from their current position of fourth in the championship. But, expect contact aplenty from green to checkered flag around the track’s incredibly tight confines, and rest assured most of it will be light years from avoidable. With a 2005 victory there by the No. 10 team and three other podium finishes in its last nine visits, hopes are high the season’s race number three is the charm and lands Angelelli and Jordan Taylor on the top step of the podium by mid-afternoon Saturday.
Max Angelelli, co-driver of the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
It’s been another five-week wait until your next race. Safe to say you’re ready to hit the track this weekend in Alabama?
“It’s been a long time since Austin. This waiting is very difficult, especially when the result of your last race is not the one you wanted. That makes the waiting even longer. We took a hit at Austin in the points, which has become a little bit like a lottery. It’s very difficult this early in the season to speculate. Obviously, you want to be at the top. So if you anywhere other than the first few places, you feel bad. That’s why I never really look at numbers. I do my best, the team gets 110 percent from me, and I leave the numbers to Wayne (Taylor, team owner), Simon (Hodgson, general manager) and the rest of the guys.
How do you expect the race to unfold on Saturday at Barber?
“Barber is vastly different from Daytona and Austin. At Barber, it’s difficult to overtake, so the team plays an even bigger role than the drivers. Pit stops, race strategy, it’s key. So that means track position. We are the best team on pit lane right now. Every team member is the best. Our history at Barber has been good, but it hasn’t been the best. It’s been a long time since we won there in 2005 but, except for last year, we’ve always had a very competitive car. The key is track position. We’ll have a competitive car again, and we’ll try to maintain it with good pit stops and good strategy. I always went there with great expectations because of our great record of performance. This time, I’m going to go to simply do the best I can do. Jordan is a great qualifier. Everybody saw what he could do in GT and what he did at Daytona and Austin. We never put drivers in the No. 10 car who are not competitive.”
If it wasn’t for the late-race penalty at Austin, it appeared you had the car to beat. What are your thoughts on that?
“I always drive the best that I can. The series has a new race director in place this year, and he has a completely different approach, a completely different view from his predecessor, so we have to get used to that. A lot of people were penalized at Austin, and also at Daytona, and I believe that is going to happen again. My focus is to not get called in again, but I’m very convinced it will happen to other people because things are different. Unfortunately, I’m a little uncertain about how to approach races because, after working with the same guy for so long, I was used to his style. Now we have a new style and it’s difficult to get used to. This is where I am confused about what is allowed and what is not allowed. Our series is very well known for very close racing, cars touching, contact. The last 20 minutes of a race, because it’s so difficult to overtake, people are defending their positions, people are attacking, that’s normal. The fans are coming to watch that kind of racing. It must be a show. Everybody has to understand that this is a show.”
Jordan Taylor, co-driver of the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
How do you feel about racing at Barber this weekend, and what might we expect to see?
“I always look forward to Barber. It’s a fun track to drive and I’ve had success there. My first time there in the (GT-class Racers Edge) Mazda, I qualified second and finished second. It was my first GRAND-AM podium. That was a good memory. The year before, in the Beyer Racing DP, we had a strong run up until about an hour to go before we cut a tire. I’ve always enjoyed Barber, even though I didn’t always have a great finish. Since it’s so difficult to pass, people are constantly trying to create opportunities, so it makes things a little exciting for the drivers. More so than a lot of other tracks, you’re going to get some contact at Barber and, after Austin, everybody realized you really can’t touch anybody or else you’re going to get a big penalty. So the name of the game is to race clean. Even in the pits, if you hit a crew guy or hit somebody by accident, you’re going to get penalized. What we saw last year with a lot of rubbing and racing, I don’t think they’re going to allow this year, but I’m sure with 30 minutes to go, if there are five cars nose-to-tail, you’ll see some contact near the end of the race and hopefully the result will be decided on the racetrack. In the beginning and middle of the race, while everyone tries to settle in, there’s not going to be much excitement, I’m sure.”
This will be your third race with the team. Do you feel like you’ve settled in well?
“After two races, I’d say I feel comfortable with the Velocity Worldwide Corvette team. This weekend, Barber will be my first track where we put maximum downforce in car. I haven’t driven with that setup on the car, yet, so it’ll be a learning experience. The track, itself, is really technical with no really long straights like Austin and Daytona, where the cars can get a little more spread out and which made handling the GT traffic a lot easier. Here it will be tight from beginning to end. When I was driving GTs, I was able to hold off a DP car for four or five corners at Barber. This time, I’ll be in the DP car and it’ll be a whole other story. You’ll see a lot of racing between the classes because the speed differentials won’t be as great, so a GT car can have a huge influence on the outcome of the DP race.”
What did you think of the recent announcement about the new combined series name and class structure for 2014?
“I think it’ll be good to have all the big names and big teams all coming together. Everyone will thrive off of that, and we’ll see the best racing we’ve seen in years. I think next year will be a learning year, but things look very promising for the future of sports car racing. Five classes a little bit too much, in my opinion, especially when you get to a big race like Daytona where we might see 80 or 90 cars. It’ll be very busy for us drivers, and the fans might get a little lost trying to follow all that, but it will be exciting, for sure.”
Wayne Taylor, team owner of the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing:
It’s been an up-and-down first couple of races. What are your thoughts as the team heads to Barber Motorsports Park?
“We had a great Daytona and a disappointing result in Austin. The good thing is, we have a good car and it looks like it’s good everywhere. Last year, at certain tracks, the tires weren’t working for us everywhere. I’m going to Barber optimistic because I feel like we’ll have a consistently fast car for the two-hour race. We definitely need to get some points back. You need to finish in the top-five on a consistent basis if you want to win the championship. Getting a 10th at Austin was not very good as far as the championship is concerned. But we still have a lot of races left and I’m really looking forward to going to Barber this weekend.”
Barber is a place where track position is so important, and in addition to Jordan’s proven ability to qualify well, your team has consistently beaten all the others off of pit road so far this season. That must add to your optimism this weekend, no?
“The guys have been doing a lot of work on pit stops since the end of last season. Simon (Hodgson, general manager), has been all over everybody, telling them, ‘We’ve got to win every pit stop.’ Everybody on the team is so passionate about being perfect on every stop, and they’ve been performing incredibly well, both at Daytona and at Austin. Barber certainly is all about track position so, obviously, it will be important to keep excelling on pit stops. Jordan certainly proved he is going to be a good qualifier. He was a little more than half a 10th (of a second) off the pole at Austin in his first qualifying attempt for us. That was a clutch performance, and he also put his Camaro on the GT pole at Barber last year. So, qualifying up front and executing on pit stops will hopefully go a long way for us this weekend.”
Wayne Taylor Racing