Ricky Taylor says he was on full “attack mode” to Filipe Albuquerque in the closing stages of Saturday’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach but ultimately was unable to find a way around for victory.
The Acura Team Penske driver settled for a second place finish in the 100-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship sprint race, despite having had the quicker car in the final 30 minutes.
Taylor’s final stop with 36 minutes to go saw the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 take on fresh Michelin rear tires, compared to the eventual race-winning No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R of Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa, which changed only a right-front tire during its stop five minutes earlier.
“Halfway through the stint, we were catching him a lot,” Taylor told Sportscar365.
“We definitely had the faster car with newer tires and didn’t have to save fuel. We were in the attack mode.
“I was happy I was in the position I was in, on the attack.
“But when we got to him and the way the traffic fell. He did a great job defending. So it really didn’t give me an opportunity to make a move.
“There was one chance I had earlier in the stint when a car came out of the pits that I could have made a strong move but he just did a great job defending. I wasn’t able to get a way in.
“If there was a hole I was going to go for it.”
Taylor believes that the Dallara-chassied Cadillac DPis have been better-suited to the new-for-2019 Michelins than the Acura DPi this weekend.
“Obviously our car is really fast over one lap but I think in the race they could do two full stints on their rear tires, where we changed the rears,” he said.
“It was a big gain for half the stint but they still held on.
“At the end of the day, they had really good tire wear, so that’s one area we probably still need to work on. And that’s something where the BoP might not necessarily help you.
“We still have work to do. The cars were fast. I think we had the right strategy.
“They may have gotten a little lucky they had the slow puncture. It’s the way it goes but I think if we were to redo it, we probably wouldn’t have done anything different.”
Big Points Day for Team Penske Pair
With both DPi championship leading cars hitting trouble in the race, Taylor and co-driver Helio Castroneves managed to make a big points haul with their second place finish.
The duo now sit only two points behind Whelen Engineering Racing’s Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani, with Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande slipping to fourth due to their retirement on Saturday.
“It was a really good day for the championship,” Ricky Taylor said. “We’re only two points out. Second is good points but we wanted to win that, obviously.”