IRL: Taylor steps into Access

Access Motorsports will return to the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series for this weekend's Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway with rookie driver Mark Taylor at the helm of their ...

Access Motorsports will return to the Indy Racing League's IndyCar Series for this weekend's Firestone Indy 200 at Nashville Superspeedway with rookie driver Mark Taylor at the helm of their #13 Panoz G Force/Honda/Firestone machine, the team announced today.

Briton Taylor, the 2003 Menards Infiniti Pro Series champion who won seven races en route to that title, had a tough start to his IRL rookie campaign, earning a best finish of 12th at Phoenix International Raceway, the second race of the 16-event season while driving the #2 Menards/Johns Manville Dallara/Chevrolet for Panther Racing.

Taylor and Panther decided to part ways after the SunTrust Indy Challenge at Richmond International Raceway, where Taylor qualified third yet failed to finish due to an accident, his fifth in six 2004 races. Just the same, the 26-year-old is only 44 points out of the lead in the fight for 2004 Bombardier Rookie of the Year behind Kosuke Matsuura. Ed Carpenter is 15 points in front of Taylor in that competition.

Access Motorsports co-owner Greg Ray, the 1999 IRL champion made the announcement today that Taylor would contest the balance of the season for his team. "Mark's pace and learning curve have been impressive to date," Ray acknowledged. "He's run near the front all year and qualified third at Richmond. There's no doubt this kid is quick."

Ray has decided to step out of the cockpit in order to ensure the success of Access Motorsports, the smallest team currently competing full-time in the Indy Racing League's premier series. "I have decided to focus my time and energy on the business that will ensure our growth to be a healthy and competitive two-car program for 2005," Ray declared.

"I look forward to building a personal working relationship with Mark very quickly, as we could be teammates next season. We know Mark has the raw talent - that is without question. With awesome Honda engines and the Panoz G Force chassis, we know we have the best tools for Mark to continue the winning ways he demonstrating while dominating last year's Menards Infiniti Pro Series," Ray continued.

On the marketing side, Greg Ray and his commercial partners have been working with a company called University Loft, "establishing many new distribution networks in the United States and internationally. University Loft partners in Europe and the UK are very excited and have been instrumental in creating this opportunity for Mark and the Access Motorsports team," he concluded.

The fit of University Loft, which is a purveyor of lofts, beds, sofas, desks and other contract furniture for college residences, is good with the younger Taylor. "I am delighted to be back in the Indy Racing League with Access Motorsports for the rest of this season," Mark Taylor declared.

"I have already had my seat fitting and the team is very committed to achieving good results in the nine races we have left to run. I am very excited," Taylor noted, "to run the Honda-powered Panoz G Force chassis for the rest of the year and would like to thank Greg Ray very much for the opportunity. I'm totally re-energized and focused on winning the Bombardier Rookie of the Year title."

When he begins practice for the Firestone Indy 200 on Friday, Taylor will be pleased to run the #13, which has been lucky for him. He ran that number from the time he was an eight-year-old Cadet kart driver through his Formula Ford successes in 2000, when he finished second overall in the British championship with three victories and eight other podium appearances.

In addition to University Loft Access Motorsports' team partners include Renovac, a company specializing in vehicle appearance rejuvenation, Capgemini, which offers IT and business consultancies and Panasonic Toughbook computers.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mark Taylor , Greg Ray , Kosuke Matsuura , Ed Carpenter
Teams Panther Racing