Former Detroit IMSA Champs Wayne Taylor Racing Build on Rolex 24 Success
Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear fans were not surprised to see the Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) team in Victory Lane after the Rolex 24 on January 31. Following four victories by the team on Belle Isle in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic in recent years, the celebratory sight of a happy and winning WTR team has become a familiar one to Motor City racing fans.
Last month’s victory by the No. 10 Konica Minolta ARX-05 Acura to open the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season gave WTR as many victories in the legendary 24-hour endurance race as the team has enjoyed on the streets of Detroit as it marked the squad’s fourth Rolex 24 win and the third straight in IMSA’s signature event.
Team owner Wayne Taylor said this particular victory may have been the most rewarding. As he shared with IMSA.com, the challenge of transitioning manufacturers to Acura after years competing for Chevrolet and Cadillac, was significant along with the tight timeline to adapt to a new car and an new all-star driver lineup of Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi.
"I could probably tell you that today was one of the best days I’ve ever had. It was a very, very special day,” Taylor said after his team captured the 59th Rolex 24. "I knew (Acura and HPD) wanted me because they felt I must have some golden secret about how to win Daytona, which I didn’t. Winning it today after only having these cars for two and a half months is a testament to the people I’ve hired and the people who work for this organization. I’m eternally grateful for all of them."
Much like the team’s recent success in the twice-round-the-clock race on the Daytona International Speedway road course, WTR has captured the checkered flag in Detroit with different cars and multiple driver combinations – demonstrating the team’s ability to adapt and deliver. The first win for Wayne Taylor Racing on Belle Isle actually came in 2013 racing in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series - before the merger between GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series to form the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. WTR has proven that while the cars and drivers may change, one thing remains the same for the team in Detroit and Daytona – success.
For its Detroit victories in 2013, 2014 and 2016, WTR raced the Chevrolet Corvette DP. In 2017, the team drove to Victory Lane on Belle Isle in the Cadillac DPi. Jordan Taylor, one of the winningest drivers in Detroit Grand Prix history with five career victories in the Motor City, teamed with co-driver Max Angelelli for the team’s first win on Belle Isle in 2013. The combination of Jordan and his brother Ricky produced the last three Detroit wins for their father’s team.
At the Rolex 24 in Daytona, WTR triumphed in 2017, as well as 2019 and 2020, with the No. 10 Cadillac DPi, while this year’s win featured the team’s first win the new Acura. The Taylor brothers teamed with Angelelli and NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon for WTR’s landmark first Rolex 24 victory in 2017. In 2019, Jordan Taylor raced the full IMSA season with Renger van der Zande in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac and they were joined by endurance racer Kamui Kobayashi and former F1 champion Fernando Alonso for the winning performance. In 2020, van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe drove the No. 10 Cadillac for the full season and they teamed up with Kobayashi and former INDYCAR and Detroit Grand Prix champion Scott Dixon for the memorable Daytona triumph. With its transition to the Acura DPi this season, Ricky Taylor returned to the team to compete for the full season with co-driver Felipe Albuquerque. Former Indy 500 winners Castroneves and Rossi join the WTR endurance lineup this season and they got their first taste of Rolex 24 victory with the team on January 31.
With its new lineup and its legacy of winning at both Detroit and Daytona, Wayne Taylor Racing will be back on Belle Isle on Saturday, June 5th with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi, GTD and LMP2 classes competing in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic. Fans can register now for an early opportunity to purchase tickets to the 2021 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear to see WTR and the rest of the IMSA sports car stars and cars in action this summer.