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TAYLOR: Road Atlanta Debrief

Jordan Taylor files latest Sportscar365 debrief after tough Road Atlanta…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Whenever you look back on a season, you have highs, you have lows, and you have races where you wish you could have a second try.

From the outside looking in, you look at highs as race wins, podiums, and poles. We had two wins, six podiums and three poles as a team this year. But on the inside, you also look at the races where you overcame adversity or maximized what you had.

When you look at the lows, you look at the bad results and the mistakes.

We can break each race down individually and find positives and negatives.

Most people saw our Daytona as a massive mistake with our drive-time penalty. But what most people don’t know is what went on during that week.

We had wheel speed sensor issues starting first practice on Thursday. The guys pulled all-nighters Thursday night and Friday night, trying to find the issue. The team went into that race worn out; the drivers didn’t get a single legitimate lap in practice, which meant the engineer never got a chance to improve the car.

So in the end, most people saw this as a failed weekend with losing our points, but in my eyes, the fact that we were in contention on track to win that race was a miracle, and proof of our team.

We raced the car that we showed up with and had the fastest Corvette out there. The crew, working on no sleep all week, was beating everyone in the pits, every stop.

This was obviously one of our ‘lows’, but we can take some positives out of it. We’d like a second try at this one.

Sebring was a similar story. We had brake issues all weekend. None of the drivers got any practice time and the team didn’t get any rest, especially the engineers trying to find the issue.

During the race, we did more pit stops than anyone else, changing brakes at almost every stop. They found the problem with a few hours to go and we went racing, finishing second.

Most people would see this as a close loss, but in our eyes, we overcame adversity. Driving around in last, seconds off the pace, was not fun. Six hours into the race we were calculating if it was even worth finishing the race if no one else fell out, because we were that far off the pace.

I don’t think any of us want a second try at this one, that was a long day for all the guys. This was one of our ‘highs’ that most people would overlook.

Long Beach was a win, so obviously it was a high. I wouldn’t want to change anything about that…but there are always things we could have done better. I won’t give those away though, we’ll save them for next year.

Laguna was a second place finish. It was a tough race for strategy calls. We made our last stop earlier than the 90 and came out in traffic. The 90 had clear track and was able to jump us in the pits. All in all, not a bad day, but I think it was a small low after we led for so long.

Detroit was a low. We went in there as three-time defending winners, but we didn’t have the pace to win. We went the wrong direction on setup during practice, which is a lesson learned for both drivers and engineer. The race also didn’t go to plan.

Le Mans. That was a high.

Watkins Glen was a race of what could have been. All three drivers drove well. We were making the right strategy calls and the guys were executing in the pits. Ricky made a small mistake in the rain which ended our race. This was a low and a race we would want a second chance.

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. This is a race where you just thank your team. I was driving around in fourth or fifth almost all day, but they kept saying keep pushing. My washers teammate, Adam Banet, made the perfect strategy call that won us that race. This race was a big high. We didn’t have the fastest car on track, so we still have some work to do for next year.

Road America was a low. We didn’t have the fastest car and a small mechanical issue that took us out of contention. A weekend to forget.

COTA was a high that most people would overlook. We finished second, but I’d say it was a dominant second. I say that because no one was beating the 01 that day. We were the best of the rest. We knew we couldn’t beat them if they didn’t have a mistake, but we maximized what we had and had a flawless race.

Road Atlanta is one of those ‘what could have been’ races, so we would like a second try. We stayed out of trouble all day, kept things clean and simple. We beat the last yellow which would have put us in a great position if the full course yellow sequence would have happened, but the race was ended.

It’s always tough to look back on a year and think of what it could have been. All you can do is break it down, find the positives, find the negatives, and focus on what you need to work on in the future.

We have a lot to be happy about. We have an incredible group of guys on our team and we have great partners in Konica Minolta and Chevrolet. We’ll be back next year even stronger.

Jordan Taylor (@jordan10taylor) is the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series DP champion, driving for Wayne Taylor Racing in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Corvette Racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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