Jordan Taylor says he’s hoping to “get back in the points game” following a difficult start to his Prototype title defense in January’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Taylor and co-drivers Renger van der Zande and Ryan Hunter-Reay were forced to retire their Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in Daytona due to a series of tire punctures that struck their DPi car.
It came as a bitter blow to the defending race winners, which started its 2017 campaign off on a string of five consecutive victories.
The second-generation driver, who is now joined by Dutchman van der Zande for the season, said the disappointments of Daytona won’t change their outlook for the rest of the season, particularly heading into the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring later this month, a race which they also won last year.
“I don’t think it changes it,” Taylor told Sportscar365. “Obviously everyone wants to win the Sebring 12 Hours, so we’re here to win the race.
“We need to get back in the points game after Daytona but there’s still nine races left. We had a good car here last year and a good race, we won it. I think we come back here with some confidence.
“We’ll put Daytona behind us an focus on what we’re used to doing and execute as well as possible.”
Entering Sebring with a 19-point deficit to championship leaders Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque of Action Express Racing, Taylor anticipates a tougher title challenge ahead compared to last year.
The class has seen the addition of several new high-profile teams and driver lineups, including the arrival of Acura Team Penske, where Jordan’s brother, Ricky, has defected to, alongside IndyCar stars Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya.
“I think you expect everyone to be fast now,” Jordan said. “You look at qualifying at Daytona and it was really close. That’s cool.
“There’s all the different manufacturers and everyone was within a second, so you can’t ask for much more than that.
“You’ve got big team names coming in now and it’s cool to see them here and see them competing.
“For us, it’s an opportunity for Wayne Taylor Racing to prove ourselves again. We’ve been racing agains the same guys for years and years, and people can draw their own conclusions, but for us we always felt like we were doing a great job. This is our first year to capitalize and prove ourselves.”
Van der Zande Settling into WTR
Taylor feels that van der Zande has already fit right into the team, particularly after his impressive pole run at Daytona.
The former Prototype Challenge class champion, who replaces Ricky Taylor in the full-season lineup, arrives following a one-year stint with Spirit of Daytona Racing.
“We thought he’d fit in well,” Taylor said. “He fits in well with the guys personality wise.
“We knew he had the speed. It was a very impressive qualifying at Daytona and I think that really set the tone for us for the year where now he’s got the confidence in himself and inside the team. I think that’s really going to do us well for the season.”