Wayne Taylor Dons Owner Hat Veteran Sports Car Driver Charts Own Course by Forming Wayne Taylor Racing HOMESTEAD, Fla., (Nov. 18, 2006) - Throughout his career as a professional sports car driver, Wayne Taylor has worn many hats -...
Wayne Taylor Dons Owner Hat
Veteran Sports Car Driver Charts Own Course by Forming Wayne Taylor Racing
HOMESTEAD, Fla., (Nov. 18, 2006) - Throughout his career as a professional sports car driver, Wayne Taylor has worn many hats - racer, father, champion, ambassador, businessman, promoter, negotiator and spokesman to name just a few. Without taking away any of the aforementioned titles, add owner of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Team in the Daytona Prototype division of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series to Taylor's hat collection.
After a three-year partnership with constructor Riley Technologies that netted the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series championship, Taylor has formed his own race team, known simply as Wayne Taylor Racing.
"Instead of just contracting someone to run the team, the time was right for me to take on a larger role and create Wayne Taylor Racing," said Taylor, who will continue to function as both owner and driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. "Thanks to SunTrust's support, we've been able to make Wayne Taylor Racing a reality."
Racing is a sport where the number of variables you can't control is limitless, while the variables you can control are few. Ownership falls into the latter category. For Taylor, the ability to control one's destiny and shape the team into a successful entity that can one day be passed on to his children is the driving force behind a racing career that spans almost two decades.
"I've been involved with sports car racing my whole life, and thanks to sound advice and a lot of support from both individuals and sponsors such as SunTrust and Pontiac through GM Racing, I've enjoyed a great deal of success," said Taylor, whose teenage sons, Ricky and Jordan, are following in their father's Nomex-clad footsteps. "I'm now at a point where I feel like there aren't too many things in motorsports I haven't experienced. And after winning races and championships as a driver, I want to do the same as an owner."
While ownership is a big step, Taylor has the necessary pedigree to know what will make his team competitive.
Before coming to the United States to further his racing career, Taylor was the 1986 South African F2 champion. By 1990, he was racing in the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) GTP Series for the factory Chevrolet team. In 1994, Taylor was the IMSA World Sports Car champion, a feat he duplicated in 1996 thanks to wins in the 24 Hours at Daytona (Fla.) and the 12 Hours of Sebring (Fla.). Wins in the 1998 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP class and the Petit Le Mans in a Ferrari 333SP also grace Taylor's resume.
Today, Taylor is a mainstay in the Rolex Sports Car Series. His 2005 championship with co-driver Max Angelelli is bookended by a runner-up result in the 2004 championship standings and a third-place finish in this year's title chase. In those three years of competition, Taylor's No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley has scored nine wins, five poles, 21 podiums, 28 top-fives and 34 top-10s.
Wayne Taylor Racing will be based in Indianapolis, with many of the people behind those statistics joining Taylor's new endeavor. Returnees include crew chief Marc Scott, a 33-year racing veteran who spent time in Formula 1 and Indy cars before coming to Grand-Am, and engineer Travis Jacobson, who will serve as the team's technical director.
Also providing continuity to the organization will be Taylor's friend and long-time co-driver, Angelelli.
"You don't win races with parts and pieces. You win with people," said Taylor. "We have some of the best people in all of motorsports - at the wheel and under the hood. I'll put them up against anyone."
Taylor will get his first look as to how his team stacks up on sports car racing's biggest stage - the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona Jan. 27-28 at Daytona International Speedway. For that race, Taylor the owner/driver will team with four-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, Angelelli and a still to be determined fourth driver. The foursome will look to earn a second Rolex 24 Hour victory to the one SunTrust Racing earned in 2005.
"With Jeff Gordon, we'll have one of the strongest lineups in what is probably the strongest Daytona Prototype field in Grand-Am's history," said Taylor, whose new team turned the fastest lap in Daytona testing Nov. 6-7 with Angelelli in the seat. "It'll be a huge test for us, but it's one we're ready for."
"Racing and having a chance to win the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona is something I've wanted to do for a long time," said Gordon, a winner of 75 Nextel Cup races. "Wayne Taylor has a proven track record at Daytona, and when the opportunity presented itself to race with him and Max Angelelli, the decision was an easy one."
The 2007 season will include 14 races at 12 venues, with the Rolex Sports Car Series season finale Sept. 15 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.