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Taylor Had “Nowhere to Go” in Massive GT Pileup

Jordan Taylor reflects on seven-car GT pileup that ended his race in fourth hour…

Image: IMSA

Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor said he initially thought that he had broken his back when he clattered into Brendan Iribe’s Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 as part of a multi-car accident four hours into the Motul Petit Le Mans.

Taylor’s No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R was the GT Le Mans category’s first retirement from the Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale, as one of seven cars to be involved in the collision on the approach to Turn 10 as the field readied for a restart.

Recalling the incident, Taylor described running into an “accordion effect” of GTD cars bunching up before the field return to green flag conditions.

Taylor plowed into Iribe’s Inception McLaren, which was one of at least six GTD vehicles to be caught up in the accident that caused the longest of ten caution periods in the race.

The Corvette driver limped away from the car and was treated at the medical center for muscle spasms in his lower back, which he described as “thankfully not too serious.”

“When you’re restarting — I don’t know where we were in line maybe 30th or 35th — the leaders were coming out of [Turn] 10b and accelerating out of the chicane,” said Taylor.

“They start going and when you get back to 15th or 20th they’re still braking in the chicane and it causes an accordion effect.

“We were so far back that we were pretty much flat out all the way down the back straight trying to keep up with everyone. 

“By the time we got to the crest, I was behind the 79 or the 97 [car], and at that point we were in fifth gear and I was basically just following him and trusting him that he knows where we were going and he could see where we were going.

“As soon as we crested, he went left, I went right and basically where he had gone ended up being the only safe place. When I popped up next to him, there were two cars stopped in the middle of the race track. 

“I didn’t have anywhere to go. I slid into them, maybe at 110 mph. Thankfully the car was fine and thankfully all of the other drivers were fine as well.

“My first initial impact was that I thought I broke my back with how hard it was, and probably hurt the guy in front of me with how hard I hit him in the back. Thankfully he was fine.”

Taylor described how he remained by the trackside wall to send a ‘thumbs up’ signal to his older brother Ricky, who was driving at the same time for the Wayne Taylor Racing DPi squad.

“It was the first time I had a crash in an event where my dad and brother were at the race track competing as well,” he said. “It was the first time that one of us had a big accident.

“It’s always a [fear] for a family member to get injured. I knew Ricky was in the car and when I walked over the wall, my first thought was that he was going to drive past this mashed Corvette.

“He was looking over for a thumbs up and I knew he’d be freaked out, so it was kind of an emotional moment to be honest.

“It brings a lot of things back into reality. You’re on-track racing these guys and wanting to beat anyone, but as soon as an accident happens it becomes a lot more human and back into the big picture. Thanks to the safety team.”

Despite their race ending early, Taylor and Antonio Garcia sealed the GTLM drivers’ championship courtesy of their car taking the green flag at the start of the ten-hour enduro.

“My first stint was kind of messy with traffic in and out and with the wave-around procedure we were restarting on the back for that restart,” reflected Taylor on the early stages.

“The stack-up effect is always there in [Turns] 10a and 10b and it was way more extreme there today. It was unfortunate to catch us out but definitely amazing to get another championship for Antonio and I.

“Two in a row. It’s amazing to finish off the GTLM era with two championships like that.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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