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TAYLOR: Sebring Debrief

Jordan Taylor files his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

My Mom always told me that you’ll have more bad days than good days in racing. Sebring this year was one of those bad days.

We were excited to get back to racing after a big break between the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring.

We had a two day test here in Sebring a few weeks ago and felt like we made a lot of progress with the car, so I think we were all looking forward to seeing how we stacked up on race weekend.

Once again we had Rubens Barrichello back with us as our fourth driver for this event. Many people asked why we were having four drivers, and I would just say, “Our fourth is Rubens Barrichello.” Not much else needs to be explained

Throughout practice and qualifying we were fighting some small problems with the brakes. The race was looking like rain on and off, which was going to work in our favor.

Rubens qualified and started the car for us. I was up second and got in the car about 45 minutes into the race. We had about 30 minutes of running until the rain started to filter in.

I was running fifth at the time and as we came into the braking zone for Turn 15, you could see the rain bouncing off the track up ahead.

At that point, you’re flat out, and past the point of where you would have had to brake on slicks for a wet track. Thankfully being 5th in line I braked a little earlier and I saw the No. 90 car fly over the exit curb as I slid across the track.

We pitted, but as we came down the pit lane, we decided to stay on the slicks as the rain had slowed down. If you have hot slicks and there’s just a light layer of rain, the slicks are the way to go.

We left the pits and were making up lots of time on the guys that went to wets. We ran another 15 to 20 minutes in mixed conditions where the slicks worked well, and then as I came into Turn 17 it was a downpour.

I slowed way down, and it was so wet that I could barely turn the car into the pit lane. It felt like I was going 10 mph to get the car to turn.

Once we went back to green it was fully wet. I always dreaded driving Sebring in the wet with all the different surfaces and bumps, but it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.

If you go into something with the absolute worst expectations and expect to be terrified, you’ll always be  happily surprised.

We ended up running third for a while as the rain was coming and going until the lightning started.

The race was red flagged for a few hours and once we got going again we had some electrical issues that developed and eventually took us out of the race.

It was an unfortunate end to the day, but that’s part of racing. We’re now looking forward to Long Beach in a few weeks as we’ll try to defend our win there last year.

As for the time off, I’ll be in New York, Charlotte, and Indy, but can’t wait to get back home to start driving on my new SimCraft simulator.

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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