While racing may have come to a standstill and on-track testing prohibited due to the coronavirus pandemic, Acura Team Penske has taken advantage of the downtime in finding ways of making improvements to its DPi program.
The defending IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship-winning team has been working with its drivers remotely to improve communication and processes, according to Ricky Taylor.
Taylor, driver of the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 alongside Helio Castroneves, has been in regular dialogue with engineer Raul Prados, in communication exercises on the popular sim racing platform iRacing.
“I’m not huge into the sim racing stuff but the one thing that does seem to translate over that we’ve been doing is working on our processes and communication,” Taylor explained.
“My engineer and I would just pick a track and a car and try to do a practice test day, to practice our communication.
“We get on Discord (chat service) and just talk for two hours and practice our commutation. Because that doesn’t matter how realistic it is. We learn to understand each other.”
Taylor said the communication exercises have been supplemented with other analytical work that has kept the second-generation driver busy even while still sheltering-in-place at his Florida home.
“We keep working on whatever our next race might be,” he said. “We’ve been working on documents from last year, just reviewing qualifying and race performance.
“We went over some data the other day. Just to see some real world on-board video data was so nice and it made me sad to think it’s been that long without [racing].
“It makes me itch for the real thing, more than sim racing. There’s just something about real g-forces and the real sensation of real race cars.”
Taylor Increasing Fitness Regime
The 30-year-old said he’s also been able to focus more on fitness during the downtime in order to be better physically prepared to return to the wheel of the Acura DPi once racing resumes.
“This has been the longest since I’ve driven a real [race] car in probably 15 years,” he said. “I’m really missing it.
“There’s nothing that replicates the fitness training of actually driving a real race car.
“But in terms of training regime, the race season breaks your regime up quite a lot.
“There’s testing weekends and things you can’t keep the same training schedule.
“Right now, you’re just building a really good base for when we go back racing. Hopefully when we go back racing, it’s going to be a really condensed schedule, I hope, so we can get as much racing in as we can.
“We’re training a lot; there’s not much else to do. It’s a good opportunity to cook healthy meals and go out training.”