Fresh off their first win together as co-drivers, brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor have taken different paths in quest of achieving glory in the world’s biggest endurance race.
It’s been a whirlwind month for the second-generation racers, who took over the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship points lead in Detroit, then immediately jetted off to Le Mans for the test day, before returning to Circuit de la Sarthe this week for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“When we won in Detroit I didn’t think we would get to enjoy this one,” Ricky told Sportscar365. “But with the long lead up to Le Mans, that extra bit of confidence is huge, especially here where it’s such a daunting track and intimidating environment. It can eat you alive. Having that positive energy is really good.”
Both drivers are no strangers to Le Mans but each have new cars to come to grips with this year.
Jordan, 23, makes his third consecutive start with Corvette Racing but the first with the new C7.R, which is on the heels of back-to-back TUDOR Championship victories in the GTLM class.
It’s a big step up for the Pratt & Miller-run organization, which struggled with engine and BoP-related issues in the race last year with its aging Corvette C6.R.
“I’m much more excited than last year because last year we definitely struggled but I think going into it this year, we’re in much better shape,” Jordan said. “The car has been quick right out of the box and a lot more comfortable to drive.”
After making his Le Mans debut at the wheel of a Larbre Competition Corvette C6.R in GTE-Am last year, Ricky remains with the French squad but steps up to LMP2 for the first time, at the wheel of a Morgan-Judd.
It’s a far cry from the Dallara-chassied Corvette DP in the TUDOR Championship, which ironically battles against LMP2 cars in the Prototype class.
“I’ve had a long time to think about what the car’s like,” Ricky said of the Morgan-Judd. “It’s much lighter than the DP, much less power as well, so it’s much more momentum-driven. The speed difference is massive compared to a GT car. Anytime you have to focus on one thing is better.
“Last year, for example, I had to learn the car and the track. This time, it’s just the car. It’s just another experience for me. I’ve got a lot of time throughout the week to make my way up to it.”
While both having driven GTE-spec Corvettes last year, Ricky said he’s enjoying his new perspective of Le Mans, including having an edge over his brother for the first time in the famed twice-around-the-clock enduro.
“It’s nice to get to pass him now and then!” Ricky said with a laugh. “Last year I didn’t get to do that very much. At the test, I came out of the pits right in front of him. It was kind of cool.”
Jordan added: “It’s good that this year we’re only two or three garages apart from each other. As soon as I got out of the C7.R during practice, I was able to walk right over to him to his garage to see how he was doing.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough one for him just because of the limited amount of time. But I think if anyone’s down to get it done, he’s the right guy.”
While Ricky and co-drivers Pierre Ragues and Keiko Ihara face an uphill curve in the highly competitive LMP2 class, Jordan, who will team with Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 73 Corvette, is upbeat about his chances to add an eighth win to the Bow Tie’s historic record at Le Mans.
“Every single car in the class has a lineup and a team that can win the race,” Jordan added. “I think as long as we stick to our own plan and don’t focus on them too much, we’ll be in good shape.”