Recently announced Acura Team Penske driver Ricky Taylor says that while leaving his family’s Wayne Taylor Racing squad was not an easy decision, joining Roger Penske’s illustrious organization was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
Ricky and brother Jordan Taylor recently wrapped up a dominant season with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship prototype title at Motul Petit Le Mans for their father’s team, winning five of the ten races, including victories at Daytona and Sebring.
Just days removed from what he termed a “dream season” with WTR, the elder Taylor brother said he’s already anxious to get the preparations for next season started.
“To join a team like Acura Team Penske is the opportunity of a lifetime for me so I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait to get started,” Ricky said.
“I can’t lie, nobody could have taken me away from driving with my brother and what my dad had built there besides an opportunity like this.
“With Team Penske coming back to sports car racing and Acura with their great season in GTD this year with the NSX, there’s just so many big factors that it doesn’t look like a flash in the pan sort of deal. It seems like it’s something that’s really exciting.
“The series is growing and it was a hard decision after such a good season with so much momentum built up over there, but this is an new challenge and an amazing opportunity. I’m excited to take it.
“Jordan and my dad would have said I was stupid not to, so coming over here is a decision I’m really excited about.”
Asked whether he had mixed feelings about racing against his brother next season, Taylor said the pair’s strong relationship plus his experience driving for Spirit of Daytona Racing in the 2013 Grand-Am season while Jordan was racing for WTR gives him confidence that problems are unlikely to arise.
“I think we’ve gotten to know each other really well and we’re best friends at home,” he said.
“The thought of leaving the team is a bit strange, and I think when we do get back on track I’m going to give my best effort to treat him like any other driver.
“I think I got used to it in 2013. If it was the first time, I wouldn’t know what to expect.
“There was a bit of a learning curve to it last time, but I think I’ve learned how to treat him on track as just another driver and once you’re racing, you’re doing the best you can and being selfish most of the time.”
Taylor should have an opportunity to sample the Acura ARX-05 DPi soon as a part of Acura and Team Penske’s rigorous testing plan.
Team President Tim Cindric said the team plans to test one or two times each month leading up to the Roar Before the 24 test in January.
Cindric added that it was at a test last February in which Taylor sampled Simon Pagenaud’s IndyCar that helped cement his status as a candidate for their sports car program’s driver lineup.
“In Ricky’s case, I’ve known Wayne for quite awhile,” Cindric said. “We’ve had a working association, and Ricky coming across and testing our IndyCar back in February or whenever that was really gave us a first-hand understanding of Ricky’s approach.
“Simon was there at that test because it was Simon’s car, and our guys came back really impressed with Ricky’s approach.
“There’s obviously the on track piece of it, and there’s so many that qualify on that front, but then you have to represent the Acura brand, the Team Penske brand, and then you have to get all of these guys where they work together for a common goal.
“It’s certainly a dynamic where we’re trying to put together the best collective effort.”