Ricky Taylor will complete Jackie Chan DC Racing’s lineup for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the second-generation driver taking Will Stevens’ seat in the No. 37 Oreca 07 Gibson for the French endurance classic.
Taylor, who is set for his sixth Le Mans appearance, will join Jordan King and David Heinemier Hansson, who teamed with Stevens for LMP2 class honors in last month’s 1000 Miles of Sebring in their first outing with the Jota Sport-run squad.
Stevens is unavailable for Le Mans due to his previous race commitments with Panis-Barthez Competition, which he is contesting the European Le Mans Series season with.
For Taylor, who drove for the OAK Racing-run DC Racing squad at Le Mans last year, the chance to make his debut with the Sam Hignett-led Jota squad has been “years in the making”.
“I’ve always kept in touch with Sam and the team,” Taylor told Sportscar365. “It’s always been a goal of mine to drive for them. We’ve been working on it for a long time; it’s been year’s in the making but haven’t been able to line everything up.
“This year, to be doing it with David and Jordan King is a really a great lineup. I think we’re instantly one of the favorites.
“It’s probably the best chance I’ve ever had, personally, to win the race, so I’m really looking forward to that.”
It will mark Taylor’s first time in a Gibson-powered Oreca LMP2 car, although the Acura Team Penske driver is no stranger to the chassis, which forms the base of the Acura ARX-05 DPi that he drives in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Taylor explained that his brother, Jordan, tested with DC Racing at Sebring in February, and has also been able to provide feedback on the car.
“I was already busy coaching for another team and wish I could have done it but Jordan did it,” Ricky said. “He’s been able to give me some info on how it is and the differences it is to our [DPi] cars.
“The main difference is the engine and being a smaller, lighter engine. It will be a little more nimble than the DPi.
“The DPi class limits how much you can change [from a LMP2 car]. I think with the feedback of the car, feeling-wise, it shouldn’t be too different. I think the weight is probably big and some aero differences.
“But the cockpit will be almost identical. I’ll know how I want to fit in the car and where all the buttons are, so it will be very similar to what I’m used to.
“It will be slightly like home, I guess.”
Taylor said he will get his first laps in the car at the Le Mans Test Day on June 2.