Ricky Taylor looking for redemption at Long Beach

A year ago, a disastrous pit stop for issues during a swap with co-driver Filipe Albuquerque left Taylor forced to put on a furious charge in the No. 10 Acura ARX-07 for Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti.

Taylor overcame a gap of 8s with eight minutes left and stormed back through to second and, with three minutes remaining, caught the Penske Porsche 963 of race leader Mathieu Jaminet, who was on older tires. With two laps to go, Taylor dove to the inside of Jaminet entering Turn 1 but underestimated the lack of grip off the racing line as momentum carried him into the tire barrier and left the latter to coast to the win.

Although a year has passed since then, the loss – that he takes ownership of – is still fresh in his mind.

“I’m really excited to be going back because I remember my first feeling after the race last year was, ‘Gosh, I wish I could try this again’,” Taylor said.

“You don’t get a second chance in motorsport. Going back this year, I’ve been thinking about that moment for a year now and finally get a chance to go erase it from my memory hopefully, this year.”

If put if put in a similar position in Saturday’s 100-minute IMSA SportsCar Championship race, would Taylor repeat the move?

“It’s so situational,” he said.

“It didn’t seem like an overly aggressive move at the time. We were in a position in the championship where there was so much up in the air, it was so early, there wasn’t really much to gain or lose. Looking back on it, it cost us the championship, but there were a lot of other moments that also cost us the championship. …

“I wouldn’t make the same move obviously because it didn’t work. I might have waited a lap or two longer knowing what I know now; he was quite off the pace, and I might have had another chance at the time. You think you don’t have another shot, so I don’t blame myself for going for it. Last year, we really wanted to win the race. The second place wasn’t something we were interested in.”

Taylor and Albuquerque are eighth in the championship standings after two rounds, which could provide a more aggressive approach on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street circuit.

“This year, we come into it, we need to get some points and we need a result,” Taylor said.

“We’re going to be aggressive. Hopefully, that situation doesn’t happen again. Hopefully, we can get the pole and control the race from the lead. But even with one pit stop, a lot can happen.”

One factor that is likely to make a bigger impact is having a softer tire compound versus last year, when Jaminet vault to the lead and win despite never changing tires during the race.

Taylor believes the softer rubber will allow for higher tire degradation, which could make for more defensive driving.

“There’s going to be a lot more deg,” he said.

“Out laps are going to be really strong. I’m not a strategist, but obviously the drivers are always throwing around ideas of ‘Oh, we should undercut them’, but everybody’s going to try undercut. There’s going to be a lot of people defending and then who goes long?

“There’s definitely going to be people trying different stuff and I don’t think it’s a full two stints, so there’s quite a bit of room to play. I think for one stop it’s going to be pretty exciting what people do.”

Read Also:

Source link