Ricky Taylor revealed that Wayne Taylor Racing had considered going on an alternative two-stop strategy in Saturday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach but had called it off following Filipe Albuquerque’s storming start to the race.
Albuquerque jumped from fifth to third by the first corner in an aggressive move that put the DPi championship-leading Acura ARX-05 into a strong position early on in the 100-minute contest.
While Loic Duval ultimately got around the Portuguese ace during his stint, Taylor explained that the Acura DPi’s pace deficit on the street circuit forced the team to think outside of the box with multiple options at play.
“We knew we didn’t have the pace to win,” Taylor told Sportscar365.
“We could have started the race, settle into our starting position of fifth then make something happen with strategy, maybe take a little more risk.
“But when Filipe got up to third we [thought] we couldn’t really take risks from there because it was a reasonable spot.
“Then the 5 car got around. They had way more pace than us.
“Settling for fourth was tough but once that early yellow came out and it was looking to go green, we couldn’t really risk a two-stopper at that point.
“Shank did a really cool strategy where if a yellow would have come out in that 25-minute window they would have easily been in the lead, which was our alternative strategy.
“But for us to take that risk and go for a two-stopper… We could have easily been last if we didn’t get a yellow, it was a bit too risky from third.”
Taylor described Albuquerque’s start as “awesome” and was something the team had discussed pre-race.
The No. 10 Acura made slight contact with the second-placed No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Kevin Magnussen before settling into third through the fountain curve.
“He had to make something happen,” Taylor said. “It was really risky. But we talked about it before.
“If you put your car on the inside, the risk is on the outside guy more-so. So if you’re the aggressor there it’s OK.
“The risky part came into the fountain. The 5 car was actually quite nice to us to not squeeze us more to that left wall because that’s where we could have seen some trouble.
“I think he did a great job. He was on the attack.”
Taylor added: “As soon as everyone settled into a rhythm, the 01 had their issue and everyone was able to run their race and not defend, [the Cadillacs] just stretched away.
“I’m pretty sure from my stint it was just a consistent loss every lap. I felt like our car was quite consistent over the run.
“At the end of the day we finished where I think our car was.
“As we’ve talked about with the balance, this was a Cadillac track clearly. Petit [Le Mans] is a pretty heads-up track as we saw last year.”
With their championship lead reduced to 19 points heading into November’s ten-hour season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Taylor feels they still hold the upper hand, even if it’s just marginally.
“We have to go race heads up at Petit, which I think for the story is awesome,” he said.
“We would have loved to have made it more comfortable. But we knew that if we came out with a fourth and [the 31] won, we could salvage [a result] and at least start Petit Le Mans with the first pit box, which is an advantage.
“We wanted that. It was our primary goal.”