The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 overcame brake issues caused by debris that initially put the team’s win in jeopardy according to Filipe Albuquerque.
Albuquerque and Taylor, who extended their DPi points lead with their third victory of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season in Sunday’s race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, fought an ill-handing car during the Portuguese driver’s second stint.
It was quickly diagnosed as debris that was clogged in the brake ducts that had led to an increase in temperatures on its rear Michelin tires.
“After a while I started to struggle so much in the rear in the car,” Albuquerque explained. “We learned that we had some debris covering the rear brakes. It was getting worse and worse and worse. It was just [about] surviving.
“I was thinking we had a great car and we’re going to lose this [race] because of some problem we’re having on the brakes.
“I was actually feeling sorry for Ricky that he has to go in, two stints and a half with the car that was so hard to drive.
“My engineer was telling me different suggestions with the car.
“I just tried to tell them that it was hard but luckily we were able to fix it on the pit stop and the rear [tire] temperatures went down and it was good for Ricky.”
Albuquerque added: “The tire temperature was super high but there was nothing I could do about it.
“I was already trying to save a little bit of the tires because the gap was kind of nice. Then I started to lose it.
“I was sliding all over the place and braking was really hard. There was 14 laps to go [in my stint] and I was like, ‘Oh my God!’
“That’s why they hire us so we can do the job, no matter the conditions.
“I was sliding and braking through the Corkscrew on the exit, the car was sliding all over. It was just hard, especially with the tire degradation and hot temperatures was not helping at all.”
Taylor: MSR Acura Was “Really Out of Sequence”
Ricky Taylor admitted they weren’t concerned by the alternative strategy from the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura DPi, which led 53 laps after opting for a two-stop race that came back to bite them with no late-race yellow.
“The strategies were so different,” Taylor said. “They were in a position in the championship where they could take a gamble. They gambled on a late-race yellow like they did at Road America.
“They were half-a-stint staggered from us in terms of tire life and in terms of fuel, they were really out of sequence.
“You play your cards at certain times of the race and they played their cards really early and went long on that first stint to put them off-sequence.
“By the end they played their cards and had to save fuel. That was the strategy they chose.
“I don’t think we were ever really nervous of them. We were always racing the 31 [car]. We let the 60 do what they were doing because if they got the yellow, they would have won anyways and we couldn’t really play their game.
“The team had the game plan of watching the 31 and 55 [cars] and if the 60 got a yellow, they would have been lucky.”