“Ecstatic” is the word Wayne Taylor used to describe his emotions after winning his third Rolex 24 at Daytona overall as a team owner.
Taylor together with team co-owner Max Angelelli and the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R squad of Renger van der Zande, Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe, and Kamui Kobayashi picked up the team’s third Rolex 24 overall victory in four years on Sunday.
The WTR Cadillac DPi was the most prominent car at the head of the field, leading 493 of the race record-breaking 833-lap contest.
Speaking post-race, Taylor was thrilled with the win in what he says was one of the more strenuous Florida endurance classics he has witnessed.
“As everybody knows it’s a very difficult event to win and this year was probably more difficult than any other year simply because we had such a low car count which meant that there were not going to be a lot of yellows,” said Taylor.
“Pretty much everybody was flat out the whole race and working really, really hard.
“But you always had it in the back of your mind that there might be a caution. So at one point I think we’d lapped everybody up until the second [placed] car and we thought ‘OK, we’re sitting well here.’
“And all of a sudden a yellow comes out and changes the entire race.
“Truly the team was outstanding,. These drivers around me here I can’t say enough about them; they just are like superstars.
“I’m ecstatic; for Max and I, it’s our third win as team owners and then he and I won as drivers in 2005 and I won in ’96 so for me it’s five and Max it’s four.
“It’s just been a great experience to work with people like Scott Dixon who I’ve known but always been too shy to even talk to him and now we’re winning so that’s pretty good.
“Also I can’t say enough about Kamui Kobayashi and Ryan Briscoe and of course Renger, who did an outstanding job; I think he was the only one that did a [quintuple] stint during the night and it was really, really impressive. We’re ecstatic.”
Dixon, who picked up his fourth Rolex 24 win including his GTLM class victory with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018, said their performance during the night was the key to making it to victory lane.
Briscoe recovered after being handed a 60-second stop-and-hold penalty for running through a red light at pit exit under the race’s fourth caution in the 18th hour but was able to retake the lead within two hours, ultimately setting the team up for the run to the finish.
“I think what happened really is we just stayed the same pace. Yes, we did have some big laps which I think everybody at some point could kind of have a go,” Dixon told Sportscar365.
“It was really bizarre that we never really fell off; from the start of the stint even a lot of the times you’ll look and a lot of the quick laps were towards the end of the run which we know, for whatever reason with this team, they’re extremely good in cool conditions.
“This weekend was definitely a lot of that…honestly, through the night it was just so cold and that’s what helped a lot. We ran a very similar car from the Roar to where we are now; we knew that a lot of other cars had a lot bigger fall off than us which was the focus for us.”