DC on the road - Wayne Taylor Racing

DC ON THE ROAD - WAYNE TAYLOR RACING, HARD AT WORK Wayne Taylor Racing can be summed-up nowadays as "hard at work." WTR is hard-at-work on their from-the-ground-up, completely new Dallara-built Daytona Prototype - powered by Pontiac in WTR's...


Wayne Taylor Racing can be summed-up nowadays as "hard at work."

WTR is hard-at-work on their from-the-ground-up, completely new Dallara-built Daytona Prototype - powered by Pontiac in WTR's case - that the team will debut in its familiar dark-blue SunTrust No. 10 livery come the GAINSCO Miami Grand Prix, Mar. 27-29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (The original, 2004, black SunTrust car was my favorite.)

Before the Dallara's arrival, the team was hard-at-work competing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, finishing fifth overall with Max Angelelli, Michael Valiante, Wayne and Rick Taylor at the wheel.

Before that, the team was well into preparations on the Rolex 24 SunTrust car when, with less than two months to go, it learned it'd also be helping to prepare the No. 9 Toshiba Pontiac-Riley in which Penske-Taylor Racing's Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Kurt Busch finished third overall in the Rolex 24 - and reportedly caused an itch to again win a race that Roger Penske hopes to successfully "scratch" in the 2009 Rolex 24.

Yet, going still farther back in time, during the 2007 season the SunTrust team was (you got it) hard-at-work throwing itself, body and soul into an attempt to match Max Angelelli's 2005 championship (shared with co-driver Wayne Taylor) by running down a second championship in the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

Though holding the points lead a couple or three times during the season, Angelelli would finish third in the standings after quite literally going out in a blaze in September's season finale at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City.

As if that wasn't enough, between the 2007 races the team's members were hard-at-work on fashioning their newest Indianapolis race shop, which is about six-times the space they previously shared at Mark Scott's Indianapolis shop. Between turning the car's bolts and nuts, WTR members even built most of the shop's administrative offices.

Then, they had to move in. Thank goodness they had a truck - or three.

"When we took delivery of the Dallara, it was actually like we could finally relax," WTR general manager Simon Hodgson said.

Well, relatively speaking.

The new Dallara was bare-bones: no wiring harness; no steering wheel. It couldn't even be classified as an engine-less roller; just the chassis. Okay, and a few body panels that weren't even affixed.

Hodgson said the bare-bones tub/chassis is pretty much de rigueur for Dallara regardless of series, who then leaves a receiving team to buy or manufacturer such things as a wiring harness - the cost of which can easily approach and/or become six digits when the dollars settle to the far right and bottom on an accountant's ledger. Furthermore, copper is a great conductor - and heavy. Every ounce saved is important in racing, so the wires need to be efficiently routed.

Such was in the plan, though. Furthermore, if someone wants a wiring harness for a Dallara DP, you can run down to the local Lowe's Home Improvement dealer and start buying, then fuming and building one for your ownself - or call WTR, which will market the harnesses to those in need of one or two.

"We put a lot of time into designing the harness and it's already been a constant process of improving it," Hodgson said. "We're always looking for ways to make it lighter and make it easily serviceable."

Interestingly, sitting alongside the Dallara was Taylor's 2002 Cadillac Northstar LMP02 car - a project on which the plug was pulled just when it was about to produce results - their loss; DP's gain - proving that more than one North American automobile manufacturer is maddeningly capable of playing that game. (Yet, it's one of the most powerful, original and still-viable underlying reasons for the DP's existence because every manufacturer will, at some time, book it from a race series.)

With the GAINSO Miami Grand Prix looming, the WTR Dallara on Wednesday looked far from complete, given it was all but stripped down to the frame in the wake of its test last week at Carolina Motorsports Park.

"Our goal there wasn't to do anything other than shake it down," Hodgson said. "We didn't push it. We just wanted to see if we could find any weak spots mechanically and structurally."

Frankly, it was hard to believe Angelelli - who pretty well knows only one speed equation: "push pedal until it can travel no farther" - would ever NOT push a car to its limits. When such was quickly pointed out, Hodgson simply smiled and offered, "Well, we did ask Max to take it easy a couple of times."

Still, WTR will show up at Miami as an unknown quantity - even though much of the Rolex Series paddock is certain the Pontiac-powered SunTrust car will be quick very quickly.

"I can't say we're not apprehensive," Hodgson said, "But, at the same time, we've got so much working in our favor. First, Dallara is an incredible builder. It's record speaks for itself. Plus, Max and Dallara go way back and they've built a strong rapport based on mutual understanding and respect. Travis Jacobson (WTR engineer) and Max have excellent communication lines between them. Then, (newest team member) Michael Valiante has already demonstrated he's the right person for the job as Max's co-driver. I'm very enthusiastic about what lies ahead."

"Of course, there's always some teething problems with a new car and we're not ignorant of such. It's one of the reasons we check and double-check our work."

With a new car on hand and facing the work required just to get it up to speed, Hodgson was asked for the team's goal this year.

"Win the Rolex Series championship," he said. "We've got a great bunch of people here at Wayne Taylor Racing who really believe in only one thing: winning."

The next DC On The Road installment: A Howling Eddie Cheever.

    DC Williams, exclusively for motorsport.com

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About this article
Series General , Grand-Am
Drivers Kurt Busch , Eddie Cheever , Helio Castroneves , Wayne Taylor , Michael Valiante , Max Angelelli , Ryan Briscoe
Teams Williams , Wayne Taylor Racing