Ricky Taylor said he and co-driver Filipe Albuquerque are “going to go for it” in next weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title-deciding Motul Petit Le Mans, admitting that Wayne Taylor Racing will not be holding anything back in the battle for the DPi championship.
Taylor and Albuquerque head into the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta with a scant 19-point lead over fellow Acura squad Meyer Shank Racing and drivers Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis.
In what’s been a season-long battle between the two Acura ARX-05 entries, Taylor enters the weekend in the familiar situation of fighting for the DPi crown for the third consecutive year.
The 33-year-old Floridian won the Prototype championship in 2017 with WTR and backed it up again in 2020 with Acura Team Penske, prior to final lap battle with Felipe Nasr last year that ended up going the way of the Brazilian and Action Express Racing.
“It’s never been easy,” said Taylor. “It’s nice to have had the experience of being there before.
“Obviously it’s really difficult to go into the last round of the championship fighting for the title let alone being a ten-hour endurance race that’s already on its own one of the most difficult races in the world.
“Just all of that compounded together makes for quite the drama and quite the stress for the teams and drivers. But I think it’s going to be for a great show.
“We’ve been there before; we’ve had success in Petit Le Mans and have won the championship before.
“We haven’t gotten the lead in an easy way. Our rivals, the 60, have been the consistent ones and have run a really solid season and we’ve been in a position where we have to fight for every point this year and try to come away with wins.
“Filipe has been amazing at the end of these races so many times this year. That level of intensity, we’re just going to have to bring to the last one in Petit.
“It would be very fitting if that was the way we were to win it, to do it with some action.”
Taylor said he would do the “same thing” again as his last-gasp attempt to win the championship last year, although said he would hope to keep his WTR Acura fully on the track this time around.
“That all happens very quickly when you’re going for it at the end,” he said.
“No matter what way you see it, I didn’t plan to go shooting through the grass like that. It was a bit of an evasive action in the end.
“We’re going to go for it. That’s the way we race, fairly. I think I would do the same thing again but maybe try and not go off [track]…
“I like to make moves as well and lean on the aggressive side if there’s a race win on the line.”
While WTR doesn’t have plans to take a defensive strategy, MSR’s Blomqvist said there will be no changing their approach that has seen the No. 60 Acura be a routine contender for wins but often fall short in the closing stages of races.
In addition to their victory at the season-opening Rolex 24, Blomqvist and Jarvis have five additional podiums — all runner-up finishes — to their credit, compared to the four wins by Taylor and Albuquerque.
“There’s a bit more on the line,” said Blomqvist. “It doesn’t really change too much, to be honest.
“At the end of the day we just have to do the best job that we can and beat the other guys. The whole year we’ve been trying to do that.
“I love qualifying so I’m looking forward to it because I think it’s going to be exciting.
“With it being so close I guess there will be a lot of spotlight on our little battle.
“We just have to make sure all of the preparation is the best that we can be and we’ve left no stone unturned.
“We’re fighting for a championship but if we go into that event thinking we need to do better than every other event, then we haven’t been doing a good enough job all year.
“It can’t really change too much from the approach and how we feel going into the race.”
Qualifying Could Impact Championship Scenario
While the 35 points for claiming pole will not turn the championship tables around, should the No. 10 car qualify ahead of the No. 60 entry, it would likely give the WTR team an extra buffer in the race, should neither Acura win.
Because of this, Albuquerque said he believes there’s more pressure on the MSR Acura in qualifying.
“If they qualify ahead of us, nothing will change for the race,” he explained. “They’ll still need to finish ahead of us or we need to finish ahead of them.
“But if we qualify ahead of them, we [would] gain a position to just finish behind them unless they win [the race].
“With that said, I think the pressure is a little bit on the 60 car to be sure that they narrow down that opportunity to be able to finish ahead of us.
“If they don’t and we can maximize qualifying and be ahead of them — because at the moment we’re not thinking of the Cadillacs or thinking about winning the race — we’re thinking of beating the  and see where we can end up.
“If we’re going to defend, it’s not going to work. So we need to attack.”