Image credit: Wayne Taylor Racing (via Facebook).
After flirting with victory in the first two races on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship calendar, brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor broke through in a big way Saturday, winning the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at the Long Beach street
A drive-time violation in the season-opening Rolex 24 put the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP team in a hole to start the season, but a runner-up finish at Sebring and a win at Long Beach puts the Wayne Taylor Racing team back in the thick of the Prototype championship.
In a classic Chevrolet vs. Ford battle, Jordan Taylor held off a hard-charging Joey Hand in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost/Riley to win by 3.3 seconds in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP owned by father Wayne Taylor.
“I knew we’d only have one shot so I went for it; and then from there we were able to evenly pace.” said Jordan Taylor. “I could see him approaching in the fountain, but then pull away on the front straight. I knew what my lap times were and could watch the gap every lap. I knew everything was a tenth here and a tenth there. Thankfully in the final laps we got some separation with some GT cars there and it was more comfortable.”
The team is now tied for fourth place in the standings with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP of Cameron and Curran, 11 points behind the series-leading No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP of Fittipaldi and Barbosa (96-85).
“I felt confidence the entire weekend,” added Ricky Taylor. “It was nice to have a nice package underneath us, and to be fighting between Corvette and Ford was nice to see. We also got first place points, so it’s the best we could get.”
It was a dominant weekend for Wayne Taylor Racing with Ricky Taylor also winning the TOTAL Pole Award in qualifying Friday. Ricky started the race from the pole and led throughout his opening stint, giving way to Jordan Taylor with 47 minutes remaining in the 100-minute sprint race. Running in the second position, Scott Pruett pitted the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley one lap later and Hand took over.
Hand inherited the lead on the pit stop exchange, but Jordan Taylor quickly pounced and took the top spot in Turn 1 with 44 minutes remaining. He led the rest of the way, although Hand closed the gap to within one second several times over the final 30 minutes.
The No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP team finished third, the third consecutive third-place finish to start the season for co-drivers Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante. Action Express Racing’s pair of Corvette DPs rounded out the top five with the team’s No. 31 Whelen Corvette DP of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran fourth and the points-leading No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi fifth. The VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP is now second in the championship.
The Claro / TracFone DeltaWing Racing team made its official debut at the Long Beach street circuit at the weekend too, but mechanical issues forced the team to retire after 20 laps. The revolutionary prototype co-driven by Katherine Legge and Memo Rojas showed speed much of the weekend, but struggled with an electrical issue shortly after the green flag of Saturday’s race.
“We’re investigating the cause of the electrical problem. We’re methodically going through everything and fixing things one at a time and unfortunately, something new came up today.” said Catherine Crawford, Race Engineer for the Deltawing team. “That’s why the DeltaWing program is here, to do something different, to think outside of the box.
“We will find a way to stop the issues that are reoccurring. We’ll keep on working until we get it all fixed.”
The entire TUDOR Championship event was run under the green flag – including the race, qualifying and Friday’s two practice sessions.