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Ricky Taylor Looking Forward to Long Beach Reset

Ricky Taylor reflects on returning to site of near-win in 2023; Acura’s hopes for Long Beach…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Ricky Taylor said he’s looking to help propel Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti to victory lane at Long Beach this weekend after last year’s late-race failed win attempt that the second-generation driver admitted he’s been “Thinking about that moment for a year.”

Taylor and co-driver Filipe Albuquerque head into Saturday’s 100-minute street fight seeking their first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory since 2022, after new full-season teammates Louis Deletraz and Jordan Taylor broke through for the win in last month’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Cadillac.

While having three consecutive wins as co-drivers in the event from 2015-18, driving for WTR, neither Taylor brother has yet to return to the top step of the podium in the race since.

Ricky explained: “The first three wins came in almost our first times going to Long Beach. I think Jordan and I were thinking that the race wasn’t so hard.

“Since then it’s been, ‘OK, maybe we just had a really good car and team and nailed it those first couple of times’ because since then it’s been really, really difficult.

“It’s so unforgiving with the walls and the way the competition and the way the race plays out, it’s really intense.

“You come off the first two races of the season really relaxed and building into the race where this one, from first practice, you really have to be on top of your game.

“Qualifying is the most important of the year and then starting the race, you can’t anybody an inch.

“It’s a really difficult one. It means a lot to us, especially since being with Acura with it being the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

“We really feel a lot of incentive and pressure to win. It’s also Acura’s home race, so on top of the fact that the 40 is leading the championship and we need to make [up] some ground, we need to get a win for Acura on home soil as well.”

Taylor said last year’s Long Beach race, which saw him locked into a battle with eventual race winner Mathieu Jaminet before ending up in the Turn 1 tire barriers with two laps to go, has led to nearly a year to reflect on the failed pass for the win.

“I’m really excited to be going back because I remember my first feeling after the race last year was, ‘Gosh I wish I could try this again,'” he said.

“You don’t get a second chance in motorsports.

“Going back this year, I’ve been thinking about that moment for a year now. To finally get a chance to go and erase it from my memory this year, hopefully.

“If I would do it again, it’s so situational. It didn’t seem like an overly aggressive move at the time. We were in a position in the championship where there was so much up in the air, it was so early, there wasn’t much to gain or lose.

“Looking back on it, it cost us the championship. But there were also a lot of other moments that also cost us the championship.

“This year, we’re eighth in the championship. You can argue we have less to lose. But I wouldn’t make the same move, obviously, because it didn’t work.

“I might have waited a lap or two longer, knowing what I know now. He was quite off the pace and I might have had another chance. At the time, you think you don’t have another shot.

“I don’t blame myself for going for it last year. We really wanted to win the race and a second place wasn’t something we were interested in.

“This year, we come into it [knowing] that we need to get some points and we need a result. We’re going to be aggressive, but hopefully that situation doesn’t happen again.

“Hopefully we can get the pole and control the race from the lead. But even with one pit stop, a lot can happen. Hopefully it’s not that exciting.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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