Taylor – the kids are all right
Taylor – the kids are all right
Turning your kids loose with the keys for a drive in the family car can be a bit scary.
Just imagine if the “family car” was a 600 horsepower IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Corvette DP Prototype, and the drive was through the tight, concrete barrier lined streets of the Long Beach Grand Prix race circuit.
That is the scene for three-time sports car champion driver Wayne Taylor, as he tosses the virtual keys to the Wayne Taylor Racing car to his sons, Ricky and Jordan.
But, things have turned out quite all right on all accounts. In fact, the Taylors are the defending pole and race champions here at Long Beach. And his sons recognize the opportunity and the responsibility.
“The Daytona Prototype means a lot to our whole family,” said Ricky Taylor.
“Firstly, it is the car that Jordan and I made our names driving in sports car racing. It was also the platform on which our whole family has made a living over the last 12 years, and the platform for my dad to be able to form his own racing team.”
Growing up in a racing family can have its advantages, but also its challenges. So can co-driving with your brother. “We all know each other, we know everyone’s strengths and weakness, so we just have to use that to our advantage,” said Jordan.
“These days every team has the top sports car drivers from around the world, so we cannot count that as an advantage compared to them,” said Ricky.
“We can consider that no team in the field has as good of a working relationship between teammates as we do, and that is an advantage that really helps us in long races.” A second place finish in the season opening Rolex 24 At Daytona certainly supports that claim.
At the ripe old age of 24, Jordan has an IMSA GRAND-AM championship, 11 race wins, and a class victory as a co-driver aboard the factory Corvette Racing C7.R at the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours race.
This year, Ricky, an 11-time IMSA race winner and IMSA series runner-up will join Jordan at Corvette Racing at Le Mans as they take the third spots aboard the pair of Corvette Racing GTE-Pro factory entries.
That race will put Wayne, a former Le Mans winner, in just one role; nervous parent.
Watching both his sons race through the day and night, rain and fog, in a highly pressured class filled with factory teams does that. So does seeing them drive for a team that has eight Le Mans wins in the past 15 years.
“Last year (Le Mans) was one of the most mentally draining weeks that I’ve experienced,” said Jordan, who spent the final hour of the race hiding in the back of the Corvette garage, too nervous to watch.
“I will never forget the feeling of being on the top step of the podium.”
“Having Ricky be part of the team at Le Mans this year is great,” said Jordan. “I’m confident that he will fit in and perform well.”
“Le Mans is like no other race in the world,” said Ricky.
“It was special to see Jordan, Oliver (Gavin) and Tommy (Milner) stand on the podium after winning last year’s race. I hope we (his co-drivers are Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia) can join them there this time around.”
The Taylors are not the only drivers with their family teams here at Long Beach. On the opposite side of the paddock, Graham Rahal (age 27) and Marco Andretti (30), both sons of former series champions, also drive for their respective family teams.
Here at Long Beach, Wayne Taylor expects the boys to bring the car home with the fuel tank virtually empty.
And, if it is once again covered in road grime, champagne, and confetti; well, that will be even better.