Back to the track where the championship turnaround started last year.
It’s time to begin another rebound at Road America for brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor and their No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) at Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase Tudor United SportsCar Championship event at the legendary Wisconsin racetrack.
A year ago this weekend, Jordan Taylor and his then-co-driver Max “The Ax” Angelelli arrived at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn circuit located about an hour north and slightly west of Milwaukee not leading the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series point standings for the first time in three events. Two weeks prior, they had been taken out from behind midway through their race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and were plucked from the points lead to a seemingly unsurmountable 19 points behind in the championship.
Despite their rather unceremonious seventh-place finish at Road America, Taylor and Angelelli made up nine of those 19 points in the standings as the points-leading No. 7 Starworks Motorsport entry had a disastrous day. And the rest is history as Taylor and Angelelli ran the table at the season’s final three events with dominating victories at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California, and Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut to storm their way to the final Rolex Series driver championship.
This weekend’s scenario for the brothers Taylor is very similar to the one a year ago for the team, but the straits are not nearly as dire. Once again, they arrive at Road America not leading the point standings for the first time in three events, but their deficit to the new championship-leading No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP duo of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa is just two points with three events remaining. Also like last year, however, the team’s opportunity to at least hold onto its points lead if not increase it two weekends ago at Indianapolis was stripped away by the indiscretions of another competitor before the race field made it from the starting line to the first turn of the race. Ricky Taylor was slammed into a concrete barrier heading toward turn one moments after taking the green flag. The impact dislodged the all-important rear diffuser on the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP and the team had to resort to playing the fuel strategy game the entire race and cleverly salvaged a fourth-place finish while Fittipaldi and Barbosa went on to win.
In all three previous visits to Road America, the No. 10 WTR Prototype has found itself in position to win at one point or another. Ricky Taylor qualified on the pole when the Rolex Series first visited the facility in 2011, and he and Angelelli combined to lead nine of 46 race laps en route to a solid third-place finish. Despite qualifying only sixth the following year, Taylor and Angelelli combined to lead a race-high 17 of 49 laps, but a mishap while leading under caution with seven laps remaining dropped the team to a seventh-place finish. Last year, Jordan Taylor and Angelelli led 12 of 46 race laps but were shuffled back from fourth to seventh on a late-race restart while fighting their way to the front.
Can they close the deal?
This weekend, the brothers Taylor hope to finally close the deal at Road America once and for all and hope to get back in the driver’s seat in the all-important Tudor United SportsCar Championship standings heading into the final two events of the season. “I’m happy to be going back to one of the classic racetracks on our schedule. Road America offers a bit of everything and kind of reminds me of Le Mans in that it is so big and there are such long straights," Ricky said. "With that said, GT traffic can be very challenging because you can get stuck in traffic in very key portions of the track, such as the carousel and the kink."
Practice for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase begins Friday afternoon with Prototype-class qualifying set for 5:25 p.m. EDT Saturday. The green flag for Sunday’s two-hour, 45-minute race flies at 2:15 p.m. with FOX Sports 1’s delayed television broadcast set for 6:30 p.m. The Motor Racing Network’s live radio broadcast will be available on IMSA.com and MRNRadio.com, as well as on select radio networks, beginning at 1:45 p.m. Live streaming video of Saturday’s qualifying sessions will be available at IMSA.com beginning at 4:20 p.m. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and the IMSA smartphone app.