Jordan Taylor said he’s been pleased with progress made with the new Cadillac DPi-V.R, having been one of the lead development drivers for the Dallara LMP2-based prototype in the build up to its race debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The 25-year-old, along with brother Ricky and longtime Wayne Taylor Racing driver Max Angelelli were among the first to drive the all-new car in a shakedown at Putnam Park in September.
“The coolest part for me as a driver is just being a part of it from the ground-up,” Taylor told Sportscar365. “I was the first driver to sit in it and took it out for its first laps.
“It’s a great experience to be the first driver in a race car but daunting at the same time because it’s the only one in the world at the time and there’s no spares.
“We took it slowly and methodically and it’s nice to see the combined efforts from Cadillac, Wayne Taylor Racing, Dallara, ECR [Engines], everyone involved. Every test we went to we had tons of people around the program.
“It was an interesting start, how slowly you build up into a new car and kind of frustrating not to just get in and go and go flat out, but it was a good experience.
“Each test we picked up the speed, picked up the pace and added load to the car to see how it would react and it’s a much different car than what I’m used to.”
The Taylor brothers, who have achieved the majority of their sports car racing success in DP machinery, have also been working to adapt to the new-generation LMP2-based car.
“The DP is a big, heavy machine that moves around a lot and the DPi is designed like a LMP2 car, which is aero-based,” Jordan said.
“It’s a much different driving style, it’s a different feel, and it took a good amount of time to get used to it and get comfortable.
“As drivers, Ricky and I will get more and more comfortable. And as a team, it’s a huge project to learn how it works, but it’s great to have partners like Dallara who have experience with this time of car.”
Since its rollout at Putnam Park, WTR has racked up considerable mileage with the car, having since completed multi-day tests at NCM Motorsports Park, Watkins Glen and most recently a 28-hour endurance test at Charlotte Motor Speedway last month.
While split up between two days, the Charlotte test provided valuable data on the loads they will face in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener in January.
“You can do as much research as you want to with a computer to see how much load a car can take, but until you get on the race track you don’t know how much it can take,” Taylor said.
“We started at Putnam Park, went to Watkins Glen, and then to Charlotte. You can see increased load track after track.
“Even when we got to Charlotte with the radius being so sharp and the banking being so high, it has higher loads than Daytona.
“You’re going to be going pretty fast, so we set a pit-speed limit on the back straight and we raised it throughout the test, increased the load around the oval.
“Once we found the happy medium for how fast we could go around the oval to kind of match Daytona, we set that standard and ran our test from there.
“If we were flat-out around Charlotte, I think it would be pretty intense because the car is fast and being so stiff. Charlotte isn’t as smooth as Daytona and with the bumps through Turns 3 and 4 it was pretty gnarly just bouncing off the ground.
“It was good that we did it, and now we can go to Daytona and know the car can handle it, as well as the Continental tire.”
With only minor teething issues throughout the initial tests, Taylor said they’ve been focused primarily on endurance runs, in proving the car’s durability.
“Our tests have been basically running the car to see what goes wrong and how we can fix that,” he said.
“We’ve just been putting miles after miles [on the car], and when we start testing at Daytona, that’s when we’ll start developing it for that track.
“Once we get through Daytona, we can start developing it for unique-style tracks where you can use the aero, use the downforce, create a car that’s going to work over the bumps at Sebring.
“Daytona is our focus right now, making it durable and fast, and after Daytona we can start properly developing aero and the mechanical side.”
Taylor said he’s looking forward to the new-look Prototype class, with a number of new arrivals and increased car count likely to provide a more competitive field.
WTR’s entry as well as two other Cadillac DPi.V-Rs from Action Express will be joined by the two-car Mazda effort, as well as Tequila Patron ESM’s Ligier-Nissan DPis, along with Gibson-engined LMP2 cars from PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, Starworks Motorsport and JDC-Miller Motorsports for the full season.
“The past couple of years in prototypes, it’s been kind of sad seeing the car count [dwindling],” Taylor said. “It’s good to see it going up into double digits again.
“Everyone talks about GTLM and GTD, their grids aren’t massive and ours is just a little smaller, but the quality was there just not the quantity. But having 10-15 cars full-season, at least for the Rolex 24, is really exciting.
“Seeing the cross between chassis and engine combinations is going to be really exciting.
“I think now that we’ve seen the cars coming out one after the next, and seeing so many different design philosophies, it will be interesting to see what works on what type of tracks, how it’s BoP’d.
“Hopefully everyone can come in with an even playing field and hopefully the best-designed car and engine package and team will be the victor.”