Cadillac Racing’s newly-announced Pirelli World Challenge SprintX drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor say they are honored to get the call to join the brand’s World Challenge lineup in addition to their IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship program.
The brothers teamed to win last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona for their fathers’ team alongside Max Angelelli and Jeff Gordon, and now have their sights set on World Challenge’s new two-driver SprintX format with co-drivers Johnny O’Connell and Michael Cooper.
Both Taylors said the opportunity came in part due to their longstanding relationship with Pratt & Miller, the vehicle and engineering company behind so many of General Motors’ racing efforts.
“As everybody knows, Pratt & Miller has been pretty close with [Wayne Taylor Racing] in the past, me and Jordan have spent time in some of the Corvettes, and it’s all a big GM family,” Ricky Taylor told Sportscar365.
“Now that we are with Cadillac on the IMSA side, it just made sense that the drivers could go either way and we could be a part of it.”
Ricky will be making his World Challenge debut when the green flag falls on the first SprintX round of the season at Virginia International Raceway in April, but Jordan Taylor’s history with Cadillac in the series dates back several years.
“I’ve actually been sort of involved with Cadillac Racing for several years now,” Jordan told Sportscar365. “My first test with them was back in 2012 in the CTS-V, and I actually did two race [weekends] for them at Mid-Ohio in a third car in 2012 and 2013.
“So I’ve always been sort of involved in the program, I’ve done some testing for them with new car. I loved working with the whole team, it’s just never worked out to have a race seat for the full season with the races we have in IMSA.
“With this SprintX option, it opens up a lot of things for us. As soon as the schedules were announced and there were no clashes with SprintX and IMSA, it was kind of a perfect fit.
“I was super excited when they asked us that we were options for them. We did a test for them last week at Sebring and now we’ll be racing with them.”
Both drivers said adapting to the Cadillac ATS-V.R was the top priority, especially for Ricky who said this car is unlike any he has driven previously in a few key areas.
“There’s a definitely a learning curve as I’ve never driven a car with ABS or a turbo, so that was a little bit of a learning curve,” he said. “This car is really nice to drive compared to other GT cars that I’ve driven.
“The ABS makes life a lot simpler, it definitely closes up the drivers, I think. It’s easier to get on pace once you figure out how much you can trust it. As far as the car goes, it gives you great feedback through the seat, through the wheel. It’s just a lot of fun to drive.”
Aiding the Taylor brothers in their transition at the Sebring test were the full-season regulars.
While driver pairings have not been announced, all four drivers tried multiple combinations during the test, a healthy respect has already developed between the quartet to the point where Jordan Taylor said he’d love to see O’Connell and Cooper get a shot in the IMSA Cadillac DPi-V.R if the opportunity should arise.
“I think that would be cool,” he said. “I’ve known Johnny for years. My first race with GM was actually with him back in 2010.
“I’ve driven with him a few times, I know how quick he is, how experienced he is. And Michael as well, I’ve known him just from testing with Cadillac, and he’s been great.
“He hasn’t been around for that long which surprises people because when he races, he races like a guy who has a lot of experience. He was a good pick for them and it would be cool to have a mix between IMSA and World Challenge and have them give our prototype a try sometime.”
With three cars and six full-season IMSA drivers to pick from in addition to options outside of the Cadillac Racing fold, Jordan added that he took pride in the fact that Cadillac turned to him and his brother when the SprintX opportunity arose.
“It’s definitely a big compliment,” he said. “The other Cadillac drivers [in IMSA] are very experienced, they’ve had a lot of success, so it made me very happy that they asked Ricky and I.
“To get that call and to be asked to do it, it’s a huge honor. There’s only a handful of Cadillac drivers out there, so to be one of those few that are asked to step up, that means a lot to us.”