Wayne Taylor Racing has gone on the offensive with a revised approach to the DPi championship according to Ricky Taylor, who said they are now taking every race “full attack” compared to a more defensive strategy in previous years.
The Acura DPi squad, which narrowly missed out on the title last year with Taylor and co-driver Filipe Albuquerque, currently sit fourth in the points standings heading into this weekend’s fourth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Taylor and Albuquerque’s 65-point deficit to leaders Alex Lynn and Earl Bamber of Chip Ganassi Racing came after challenging races at Sebring and Long Beach that saw the team take more chances from a strategic point of view compared to previous years.
“Before the year even started we wanted to change our approach a bit,” Ricky Taylor explained. “That was to be less defensive and more aggressive in how we attack the championship.
“Wayne Taylor Racing hasn’t won a championship since 2017 and almost every year since then it’s been a matter of leading early in the championship and then defending and trying to hold on to the end, and ultimately coming just short from teams that were coming from the back that were more aggressive.
“I can’t say this was on purpose or by design that we have this points deficit. But the situation we’re in is kind of fitting.
“We’re not going to be defending like we were. We’re going to be full attack. We have a good couple of races coming up with tracks like Laguna, Watkins, Road America, those sort of places, [that] should suit us quite well.
“Last year we got lulled into a bit of a false sense of security with Ganassi not really executing throughout the season. Now they seem to [be] starting to hit their stride.
“We’re going to need to execute shortly. The Acura really suits these next few tracks so we have to execute and do our job to close that gap in the mid season as we go to the end of the season so we can really take advantage of it towards the end.”
Taylor said they entered the recent Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach with a much more aggressive strategy, knowing their ORECA-built Acura ARX-05 would not be the favorite DPi car that weekend.
“Long Beach, we knew it wasn’t going to be a track that favored us,” he said. “We took a much bigger risk on setup. We committed to a completely different setup style/philosophy because we had nothing to lose.
“We were going to finish fourth to sixth and we weren’t very hopeful to reinvent the wheel and win the race but maybe we would be able to get a couple of positions or at least be a bit stronger.
“That didn’t pay off but it was a risk and that’s a risk we were willing to take.
“In the race, also going off-strategy, kinda gambling on the 30-minute window where we could have had a yellow putting us in the effective lead of the race…
“It’s those situations where we might be kind of on the outskirts racing against four Cadillacs vs. two Acuras. The penalty of going to a track that doesn’t favor us is fighting for a fifth [place finish] vs. them fighting for third.
“We need to make points on those weekends. Sometimes taking those risks for us seems worth it, although that one didn’t quite pay off.
“Those are some of the ways we’ve tried to implement that higher risk strategy.”
Taylor Expecting Results in Next Stretch of Races
With Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen all coming up on the schedule, Taylor is upbeat on their chances for success and closing the points gap to Ganassi.
Taylor and Albuquerque are defending race winners at both Laguna and Mid-Ohio last year.
“The Acura suits the very smooth, flowing higher-speed tracks where you can run the car very low, you can really take advantage of the aerodynamics-side of the car with the floor and splitter,” Taylor explained.
“When we go to the other places we can’t run it in the way that it performs its best.
“It’s just a function… We’re paying the price at some of the tracks for having such a great car at others.
“When you saw us struggle at Long Beach, we sometimes have to just swallow that pill and know that we have some light at the end of the tunnel with the Laguna and Mid-Ohios and Road Americas coming up.”