Taylor Pulls out Nail-Biting, Fuel-Saving Win at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Ricky Taylor found himself in a tense, make that intense, situation before claiming the overall win in Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge Presented by the TLX Type S at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Taylor, who was at the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 DPi, was quickly running low on fuel, while Felipe Nasr was charging hard in second place wheeling the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi V.R.
Taylor’s mission was to save enough gas to get the checkered flag yet use enough fuel to keep Nasr at bay.
“My fuel (warning) light came on with three laps to go, but I didn’t tell the crew,” Taylor said, after winning his second race of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with co-driver Filipe Albuquerque.
“It was so stressful,” he added.
Wayne Taylor Racing captured the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Mid-Ohio was the third race – and first sprint race – on the 2021 schedule.
Wayne Taylor Racing, nor Wayne Taylor the driver, had never won at the 2.258-mile road course located in the heart of the Buckeye State. Wayne, who had his face buried in his hands atop the pit box during the critical closing laps, is Ricky’s father.
The margin of victory was a scant 0.368 seconds over Nasr, whose last pass attempt on the final of 122 laps for the victory was thwarted by a slower car.
The final six minutes of the two-hour, 40-minute event were heart-stopping. Two Daytona Prototype international (DPi) machines in the lead pack surrendered their positions to get a sip of fuel on pit road to finish as Taylor and Nasr played a game of fuel cat-and-mouse for the triumph.
“It was unbelievable (watching) from the outside (of the car),” said Albuquerque, who enjoyed his first Mid-Ohio win. “Do we go for the win or secure second place? Wayne and the team committed for ‘Let’s go big. Let’s go for the win.’ It was beautiful.”
The gamble paid big dividends for Acura, which extended its Mid-Ohio winning streak to four consecutive years. Ricky Taylor has been involved in three of those wins, bringing his career IMSA total to 26.
“I’m extremely happy for Acura,” Taylor said. “Filipe did a great job. It was a fight from the green flag.”
Nasr co-drove the No. 31 Cadillac DPi with Pipo Derani for second-place honors. Rounding out the podium was the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports DPi jockeyed by Oliver Jarvis and Harry Tincknell, who dominated the first half of the race and at one point enjoyed more than a 10-second lead.
WTR is known for its endurance racing success. It has won the Rolex 24 four times in the last five years.
“That’s something this team has specialized in over the five or six years,” Taylor said. “This gives us a great momentum.”
Robinson, Fraga Close Out ‘Perfect Weekend’ for No. 74 LMP3 Team With Win
Meanwhile, the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 topped the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class. The LMP3 winner was driven by Gar Robinson, who opened 2021 with the LMP3 win at Daytona, and Felipe Fraga, who was making his season debut. The top four LMP3 machines finished on the same lap.
Robinson started from the pole position and helped earn Riley Motorsports’ 15th IMSA victory.
“The perfect weekend,” Robinson said. “This track has always been important to me because when you did well here it sets the tone for the rest of the championship.”
“This was my first prototype race ever,” Fraga said. “This was the first time I could race in IMSA this year. I’m really happy we won the race together.”
The DPi class returns to action at the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on June 11-12. The next LMP3 race weekend is the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, June 24-27 at Watkins Glen International.