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TAYLOR: Monterey Debrief

Jordan Taylor writes his first Sportscar365 column following victory at MRLS…

Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image

Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image

What a crazy year this has been. It’s been my first full season in the Daytona Prototype class and I can’t believe we only have one race left; the year has really flown by.

For our Velocity WorldWide team, it’s been a very up and down season. We’ve had a lot of ‘highs’ – three poles, four wins, and a second at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, but we’ve also had a lot of ‘lows’ at the other six events.

The main thing is that we’ve always been able to bounce back after a bad result.

For those that don’t know me, I’ve grown up in my career racing in the GT class. I was always very proud to call myself a GT driver. Once I was in the class and racing with those guys, I gained a massive respect for them and what they do.

I thought then, and I still believe now, that drivers and teams in the GT class don’t get the credit they deserve. So when I graduated to the DP class this year, I was a little disappointed to be leaving my ‘home’ in the GT class, but I was very much looking forward to the challenges ahead.

Skipping forward now to Laguna this past weekend… We came into the weekend with the points lead, but with five cars within five points!

We knew all we had to do this weekend was try and finish ahead of all those guys and not necessarily go for the race win; but when you look at who we were up against, all of those guys were going to be contending for the race win.

We started the race second thanks to a good effort by Max in qualifying. Once the race started we were able to see how strong our car was, as Max ran second for his whole stint, but was being held up for the majority of the first 30 minutes.

The yellow came out just after the 30-minute mark and that meant it was time for me to get ready for a nice, long stint to the end. The team did what they have been doing all year, beat everyone in the pits! We had a good strategy call and the guys over the wall executed it perfectly to get us out in the lead.

Once we went green, the car was a rocket ship. We were able to gap the field pretty comfortably and settle into a good rhythm. We pulled a 30-second gap on the field and with about 40 minutes to go a yellow came out, and our lead was all gone… It was the last thing I wanted to see but then I saw that I had Scott Dixon behind me, and that made it even worse!

I am a huge fan of the sport, and racing with most of these guys this year has been an amazing experience. We knew that the 02 car of Dixon was only there that weekend to help the 01 in the championship.

When we went green, I wanted to get away from him as quickly as possible to not give him a chance to make a move. We were able to gap them, but then another yellow came out and then we had to do it all over again.

We restarted with about 4 minutes to go, and I knew if the 02 car didn’t get me on the restart, the 02 and 01 car were most likely going to ‘swap’ positions to help the 01 in the points. We restarted for the final time, and Dixon was quite a bit closer throughout the whole first lap than he was on the previous restart, which had me a little worried going across the line with two to go.

Once I saw that we had about a two second gap on them, I was able to breathe a little easier, and come home with our fourth win of the year.

Our year has been a massive team effort, it sounds very cliché, but it’s true.

My engineer, Brian, being an engineer, gave me the stats and facts on it. For the races that we’ve won this year, Max and I have only passed one car on track (Barber) – all of the work has been done in the pits. Detroit was purely down to how fast our guys’ pit stop was, and our Kansas and Laguna wins were a combo of pit stop speed and strategy.

So thanks to our WTR guys, we are going into Lime Rock with the points lead.

See you guys in a few weeks.

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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