Taylors – young, fun contenders

April 24, 2014

Taylors – young, fun contenders

April 24, 2014

taylors_4_24_14A funny thing happened in talking to the resident fun drivers in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship series. Ricky and Jordan Taylor were serious.

Climbing the ladder to the top levels of competition, top sports car endurance racing drivers are definitely athletes and often discover the intensity and overlapping demands tend to take away some of the fun that got them into the sport. Thankfully, the Taylor brothers are exceptions in many ways, including the fun department.

“The two of us put pressure on ourselves,” said Ricky Taylor. “At times it may not seem that way, but we take it seriously. From the start of each race we remind ourselves to have fun.”

taylors_4_24_14aRaised in a top racing family, they hung out at races as their dad, Wayne Taylor, built his career and namesake team, but neither Ricky, now 24, or Jordan, 22, was especially interested in racing while growing up.

That started to change in their teens when they finally tried racing karts and attended the Skip Barber Racing school.

For Jordan, the first big race was indeed big; he started in the deep end at the Rolex 24 at Daytona at age 16. “Just before my first stint, my dad said, ‘you’re probably not ready for this,’ and he was right, but it went pretty well,” said Jordan.

“I was fortunate to grow up around the team and sit in on debriefs and learn how the engineers talk,” said Jordan.

The brothers are now teammates. “In most teams, there is a lot of ego,” said Jordan. “The drivers want to beat their teammates. Here, Ricky and I don’t care if one of us is better or faster for a race. We are a family. We haven’t argued yet.”

“Ricky and I like racing together and the results prove we deserve to race with this team. It is not just some guy buying seats for his kids. This is our family team,” continued Jordan.

Technically still a college student, a degree is its own endurance race as Jordan notes, “I’m on the 10 year degree path. It’s hard to take more than one or two classes a semester while we are racing.”

“We are each other’s best friends,” adds Ricky. “We are together on the cars and on family. We are different at home than on the track.”

Actually the media and fan perceptions are virtually the opposite of the Taylor family realities.

“Yeah, I’m more aggressive in the car,” said Ricky, who admits to taking more chances. “Jordan is more methodical. He builds up to it.”

And away from the track there are surprises, too. “Jordan is really quiet at home, he has a very select group of friends,” said Ricky. “He is very focused.”

Meanwhile Jordan laughs, “I am a clean freak. Ricky is a mess. When I go over to his place, I just start cleaning up; I can’t take the mess.”

One of the favorite moments for both came this January at the Rolex 24 at Daytona when they coaxed their dad, Wayne, out of retirement to race with the boys and longtime family friend “Uncle Max” Angelelli. “It was weird to come back to the big stage at Daytona for our little family team to finish second,” said Ricky.

With a second place finish at Long Beach, Wayne Taylor Racing, the defending race champions here at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, are in a tight battle for the championship with the Action Express and Chip Ganassi Racing teams. That makes it big fun and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My whole life is racing and family and I love my life,” said Jordan.

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