Jordan Taylor says Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi’s “amazing experience” will benefit Wayne Taylor Racing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona next month.
Two-time Formula 1 world champion Alonso and his fellow Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 driver Kobayashi will join Taylor and Renger van der Zande in the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R lineup.
Despite being rookies in the DPi category, Taylor believes Alonso and Kobayashi will provide fresh insight to the team that won the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship opener in 2017.
“[Daytona] is the one we want to win the most, so we’re putting everything we can into the car to win the race,” said Taylor, who has described Alonso as “the highest-rated driver in the world” and Kobayashi as a “hero in Japan”.
“Those are guys that can come up with amazing experience and knowledge that maybe we haven’t gone through in the past.
“They’ve had experience with Michelin in LMP1 over the years, so maybe they can come in with some different feedback that Renger [Van der Zande] and I don’t know about.
“I’m looking forward to it. I think it’s going to bring a lot of media attention having them in the car, but we wanted them because they want to win races just like we do and we’re going to put a lot into it.”
Taylor thinks Alonso and Kobayashi will help speed up the team’s adaption to the new Michelin tires that will replace Continental in IMSA next season.
“I did six years with Corvette Racing on Michelin and raced in Grand-Am on Continental,” he said, “So I was having to bounce back and forth.
“But we’re relearning as an engineering team what it takes for the car and how to get the most out of the car with the new tires.
“So I’m bringing a little bit of experience, but having Alonso and Kobayashi with years of experience in LMP1, Formula 1, Super Formula and Super GT can help our learning curve.”
WTR has been testing its Cadillac at Daytona this week with Taylor, while Alonso and Kobayashi will turn their first laps in the Dallara-based car during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 on Jan 4-6.
Taylor explained that this week’s program helped establish an accurate setup heading into the race, for which most DPi teams are needing to reset their cars to run on the Michelins.
“When you’ve got one guy you can go through a plan and do back-to-back changes all day to see how the car’s changing,” he said.
“The other guys [Alonso and Kobayashi] will come in for the Roar. They’re all professionals. It won’t take them much time to get up to speed.
“For us, everything we’ve learned this year on Continentals, it’s a lot different going to Michelin and adjusting to that. I think with just one guy it’s easier to focus on what we want to do.
“But we’re hoping that we leave here with a good baseline car to come back with, so we can just give the guys some miles at the Roar to get them comfortable, and then start a different plan when we get back.
“It’s our Superbowl of the year. You want to get the car right for this race.”