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TAYLOR: Petit Le Mans Debrief

Jordan Taylor files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Third place has never felt so sweet. Petit Le Mans has always been a special race for our family. My Dad won the inaugural Petit back in 1998 and then Ricky, Max, and I won in 2014.

Our weekend didn’t start off so well this year. We struggled for pace all throughout practice and for qualifying.

We qualified right at the back of the Prototype field, so decided to take new tires and start the race from the back.

We made a couple final adjustments to the car for morning warmup and ended up quickest.

It was a nice little boost in confidence, but we knew it was just practice and also much different track conditions compared to what we would be racing in.

When the race got going, we had some issues right from the start.

We lost telemetry immediately, so the pits weren’t getting any info from the car. Ricky was able to make good progress in his first stint though. I think he got all the way up into the top-5, making a bunch of passes on track.

Ricky did a triple stint to start the race and then it was my turn to jump in. I had a good battle at the front.

I was able to pass the 5 car on track and then got by the 31 on the restart to get into the lead. From there we settled into a good spot, but knew that we weren’t able to race the 60 or 2 on pace.

The race was tough. Traffic was a huge part of how you were going to finish.

It was all about risk vs. reward. Obviously at the beginning of the race you want to take less risk, but at the same time you need to practice getting through it for the end of the race when you’ll be under pressure.

By the time nightfall came, we were still in contention of racing for a podium position.

I jumped in with just over an hour to go when we were running fifth.

With a late caution because of the issue with the Mazda, we were up to fourth and restarting right behind the 31. So the potential for a podium was there again.

The restart was pretty wild. We came through Turn 12 nose to tail, the 31 went straight to the inside to protect, an PC car was on the left, and my only option was going through the middle. Thankfully we had a couple inches to spare on each side and we were able to get up to third into Turn 1.

It was a great result for us. We were the highest finishing DP in the race, and with winning COTA, we were the last DP to win a race. It’s sad to see these cars going away next year, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say we’re excited for what the future will bring.

Jordan Taylor (@jordan10taylor) is a multi-time IMSA champion, driving for Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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