Throughout the year, Continental Tire will focus on celebrating the fans, media, drivers, and teams and their contributions to sports car racing, including a weekly trip down memory lane in Sportscar365’s Continental Tire IMSA Reflections series.
This week, Ricky Taylor reflects on his breakthrough Rolex 24 at Daytona win last year, including persevering through some of the most hair-raising conditions he’s experienced in his career behind the wheel.
What are your standout memories from your time racing on Continental Tires?
“You can talk about Daytona last year as being a really memorable one. It was the worst conditions that I think 90 percent of the field had ever driven in.
“No one was expecting that kind of weather, and Continental stepped up with tons of rain tires. We never had any issues.
“Obviously the track was a complete mess, and without a proper rain tire the driver can’t do much on track. The were a surprisingly low number of cautions considering what the conditions were.
“I’m just really happy that one is over because mentally those races are exhausting. To win on top of that is extra special.”
What was it like to finally get that Rolex 24 win after several close calls?
“It was really nice this year coming into the track for the first time since winning. It feels real again. We had finished second four or five times, it was a lot, and you just keep thinking: is this ever going to come?
“With how strong the field is, you never know if you’re going to be in a position to win or if you’re even going to finish the race.
“To be in a position to win and to actually take advantage of it and win the race, it was definitely really nice. Now we can say we’ve done it. We still want to win again but if we don’t we checked that one off.”
In hindsight how special was your group of co-drivers at Daytona last year?
“There were so many good stories for our family: not winning as a family before and finishing second so many times, first win for me and Jordan at Daytona, Jeff Gordon coming in, Max Angelelli’s last race, there’s tons.
“Now, leaving the team, at least we left on a high. If we had finished second again and not won the championship, it would have been like we had some unfinished business but now we can close the book and move on.
“Everyone’s happy I think.”
What means more to you from last season: the Rolex 24 win or the championship?
“I probably have a better feeling in my stomach for the championship. The whole team works so hard for all of that and I think that’s more of a collective effort.
“You can say the same thing for the 24 hour, coming out with a brand-new car from Cadillac and finish the race without any issues at all, that says a lot for the team and Cadillac, so it’s hard decision for sure.
“I think the championship is really hard to come by and there’s a lot more hours involved. I think I’d have to pick the championship.”