Ricky Taylor said that he and co-driver Helio Castroneves are not yet in a position to be “playing the championship game” although hope to continue their streak of success heading into the final three IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi races of the season.
The Acura Team Penske duo scored their third consecutive win in Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, having closed to what had been a 20-plus point deficit in the title race to just five points behind championship leaders Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe.
Taylor and Castroneves, who entered the weekend sixth in the championship battle, have cut their deficit in half, having jumped to third in the standings — tied with the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi-V.R pairing of Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais on 175 points.
Action Express Racing’s Pipo Derani has moved to second in the standings with 177 points, to the Wayne Taylor Racing pairing’s 180.
Castroneves admitted he hasn’t thought a lot about their title chances, especially after a tough start to the season, although the championship outlook won’t change their mindset.
“I wasn’t thinking about the championship to be honest,” said Castroneves. “But now with three races to go, because of the unlucky beginning part of the season we’ve had it’s a little bit tough.
“But we were able to overcome those situations.
“It ain’t over. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, next time we’ll be in Petit Le Mans and we did well last year.
“If they don’t keep touching the BoP, or they keep massaging it so everybody is keeping us the same.
“I thought everybody today was pretty competitive today.
“We’ll just put it together. We’ve made less mistakes than the others and that’s why we’re here.
“Hopefully we can continue to be competitive for the next race.”
Taylor, who won the Prototype title in 2017 with his family’s WTR operation, said the end-of-season stretch will be different given that two of final three races are Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.
“It’s super unique to end the season with so many hours of racing,” he said,
“We’re still not in a position where we can defend and not relax and play the championship game.
“We’re still the ones putting the pressure on. So coming into such long races, it’s such a big variable to go into a ten or 12 hour-races.
“Sebring is a whole different story.”