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TAYLOR: A Missed Opportunity

Ricky Taylor files his latest Sportscar365 column following the Six Hours of The Glen…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

A highlight of the racing season is always the Six Hours of The Glen. It is a race that has been so difficult to get a result since winning in 2011.

It is six intense hours where the speeds are the highest of the season, track position comes at a premium and this year we saw temperatures upwards of 90 degrees [Fahrenheit].

We had a two-race streak of success with a win and a second-place result at Mid-Ohio and Detroit, so a lot of momentum in the championship heading into this weekend for the 7 car being tied for 3rd place in the championship and well within striking distance of the leaders.

We started the weekend and the car was good in practice one but we definitely had plenty of room for improvement.

The car felt good but we struggled a bit for pace. Throughout the practice sessions we spent lots of time going through every possibility and looked at all sorts of setup changes to improve our pace.

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Helio and I felt confident in the car, but the real jump in pace came in qualifying when we qualified p3 behind only the two LMP2-spec cars.

Encouraged by our improvements, we got together again and found more changes to make for the race.

None of our sessions had been above 90 degrees air temperature but the race was going to be upwards of 95 degrees which would drastically change the track.

The key would be knowing which direction the track would go and making the appropriate setup changes to give us a winning car.

Due to the pole-sitting CORE car starting from the back, we moved up to P2 only behind the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier.

I got a decent start and was fully alongside Di Resta, but my teammate Dane got a really good one from third and got the lead at the start.

It was such a shame that we had to settle into the third or fourth spot for the remainder of that stint because our car was feeling so good.

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

By the fourth stint of the race we were leading when Helio beat the 6 car out of the pits and we were then in a position to control the race.

Our car was extremely good and I knew that we had a great shot to win. Helio was doing an awesome job and holding the lead when all of a sudden, a shifting issue popped up and the car would not shift gears.

We lost five laps repairing the issue and it turned out to be a simple $2 part that failed which put us down. We kept pushing because at that point we still had three hours to go in the race and with yellows we could get a few of the laps back.

The race continued on but without yellows which, unfortunately, didn’t allow us to regain any laps.

It was such a missed opportunity, we had one of the strongest cars I’ve ever had at the Glen.

Although it was disappointing not to get a result and the championship now feels far out of reach, the positive was the fact that we started the weekend with a decent car and everyone worked together to turn it into a dominant car.

With that positive performance, we hope to be able to take what we learned there to the final four races of the season and win as many as we can. Onto CTMP!

Ricky Taylor (@RickyTaylorRace) is the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype champion, driving for Acura Team Penske.

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