Grand-Am Road Racing Media Conference
Topics: Grand-Am Road Racing
October 17, 2012
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much. Good afternoon, everyone. Today we have the pleasure of being joined by Wayne Taylor and his new driver for 2013 in the No.10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype, Jordan Taylor.
Wayne is a two‑time winner of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, including 2005 when he and codriver Max Angelelli won the Daytona Prototype championship.
Wayne, welcome to the teleconference. What are your thoughts of Jordan joining Max and the No.10 Corvette DP for 2013.
WAYNE TAYLOR: Yes, it's been an exciting time for me, given the fact that Ricky, Jordan's older brother, has driven for me for the last three years. During the course of this year, Ricky had some offers to go to a different team. We made the decision that it was a great move for him to move over to the Spirit of Daytona with Richard Westbrook. That obviously left a seat open in my car with Max.
Jordan's obviously been driving many different cars for General Motors. This year he drove the Corvette, the Camaro, the Daytona Prototype, a Cadillac, with not only his, Ricky and my ties with General Motors, we obviously needed to take our time and make sure everything was signed on to making this move.
We got clearance end of last weekend, so happy to say today that Jordan will now take over from Ricky and work with Max for the season. We have not finalized our driver lineup for Daytona yet, but obviously it's going to be the two of them and we'll probably run one more driver. At this point we will announce that a little bit later on.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Wayne.
Congratulations, Jordan. Jordan has two victories and five poles all in GT in the Rolex Series. He was second in the championship in 2011, won in Detroit this year. He has 10 DP races, but nine of them came at the very beginning of his career.
Jordan, what are your thoughts coming home to drive the Corvette with Max in 2013.
JORDAN TAYLOR: I think it will be really cool. I'm obviously excited to join the team, drive with Max, be with my dad around the racetrack. I was always hesitant to want to drive with my dad just for that logo on a driver just driving for his dad's team, looks like he's just been given this opportunity.
When you look at it from the outside, from the inside, my dad has this team that has won races, is capable of winning a championship, great teammate, great crew guys and everything, so why not make the most of that opportunity, go there, go to a place where you're going to be in a good environment, everyone is willing to help and teach you, help you move along in your career.
We have a test coming up in a few weeks at Daytona. I'm just looking forward to getting it all started an getting comfortable with everyone.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you. We'll now go to the media for questions.
Q. Wayne, the discussion of the move of Rick, is this all part of a master plan, how did this all transpire?
WAYNE TAYLOR: You always like to have a master plan in motor racing. It's the one business you can never count on a master plan because there's so many changes.
Coming into the beginning of 2012, we had actually talked about where the No.10 car was going to go after 2012. Ricky had started talk with Troy Flis at Spirit of Daytona. That started really early on this the year.
During the course of the season, it became evident this would be a good move for him. He's done three years in my team with Max, he's won seven races, 10 pole positions, won the very last race at Lime Rock. He's ready to go to the next level.
Obviously it would be nice to know that Max and I helped Ricky with a lot of things that you would take normally a lot longer to learn. So we knew this was going to happen.
As far as the Jordan scenario, we were not sure of that until really lately when GM sort of had to look at where their programs are going to be for next year, the fact that Jordan drives a Corvette. It was unfortunate this year he was in the GT car for Autohaus, and they decided to stop halfway through the season, which made this whole thing even more complex because we need to have Jordan in a competitive car, in a competitive series.
Once that had stopped, we started thinking about who would replace Ricky. Obviously Jordan was on the list. But at that time we couldn't make any decision because we weren't sure where GM was going to be, so we made a short list of drivers. Up until like two to three weeks ago, the whole thing came together.
I wouldn't say it was a master plan, but it certainly worked out in a way that I'm certainly happy with and I think Jordan has learnt a lot being on his own with other teams, which I think now Ricky can learn that, and I think Jordan can learn from us, then we go to the next level.
Q. Where does Max Angelelli fit into this decision process or how does he fit in?
WAYNE TAYLOR: Max has been my teammate since 1999. We drove together right up to winning the championship together in 2005. But he's not only been a teammate, he's been a very close family friend. Both Ricky and Jordan, he's seen them grow up. It's very much a family type relationship. He is a partner of mine in Wayne Taylor Racing, so he plays a role making role in decisions we do.
Q. The Rolex 24 At Daytona is the first race. How hard is it to put a team together going into the biggest, longest, most grueling race of the year? You have a new driver lineup now. You don't start off with a Sprint race, you start off with a 24‑hour race. What are the steps you take to find that cohesiveness with the drivers going into a race like that?
WAYNE TAYLOR: Well, I'll start and then Jordan can finish.
Obviously, a long distance race is the hardest race of the year and it's the first race of the year, so there's a lot of attention on that weekend. We've been relatively successful at the 24 Hour. Having Jordan being so close with us anyway, we know pretty much what he can do in the car. We know he and Max and the third person will get on really well.
I don't think this is like taking someone we didn't know. He's driven enough of these long distance races to know what his role is going to be. We had a disastrous 24 Hour this last year, so we're going to be under even more pressure for this one. It's the most important race, but I think it's not going to be very difficult in terms of cohesiveness or anything like that because Jordan is up to speed with these types of events.
Maybe you want to say something, Jordan.
JORDAN TAYLOR: Going into the 24 is probably the best race to actually go to a new team because you have two days in November to go testing together, then three days in January. By the time you get to the race you've done about five days and probably 12 hours in the car already and you've been working with your teammate and the team throughout that whole process.
Once you get to the 24 Hour, you get a ton of laps in the car and you do a ton of driver changes, a ton of pit stops, you get to know the way everything works. By the time you get to the Sprint races, executing all those little things even more, you'll be ready to go. Going into a big race like that is almost a better first race of the year than, say, going to a Sprint race.
Q. Wayne, both your sons are excelling in the sport. Can you talk about the pride being felt like being the father of these children.
WAYNE TAYLOR: Yeah, well, it's a great question. Yes, there's a lot of pride obviously. The thing about them, what most people seem to say, not only are they good race drivers, they're two really good kids.
At the end of the day, they live in the sport just morning, noon and night. Having driven my whole career, and Shelly traveling the world with me, being able to own my own team, having them both compete with me at some point, I don't know how much better it can get than that.
You also know that it doesn't go on forever. As happy as I am having Jordan, and Ricky leaving, going to Daytona this year personally for me is going to be a little more difficult because Ricky won't be with us, Jordan will be with us. It's going to be a little tough to start with, but other than that I don't know any other father that can be as happy and proud as I am.
Q. Jordan, obviously you've had your relationship with your brother. What might he have advised you? You have your relationship with your dad, but has he given you any tips, Dad is different as a team owner, to prep you for the season?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, he's actually warned me about it a little bit. I know I need to be ready about two hours before I need to get into the car, or dad will start yelling. He's always said good things about the team. He's gotten closer to my dad because he spends those really up‑and‑down times that you have in racing, those highs and lows, he's spent them all with my dad on the pit box on the radio. They've gone through a lot together.
I'm sure throughout this year we'll be going through a lot of the same things, whether we're winning or bad races that are bound to happen at some point. You go through those highs and lows. It's cool to experience those things with your family. Now it's my turn to go through the same thing.
Q. You obviously are bringing a lot of GT car experience to your career now. Do you feel like that will be a significant advantage to you, having been in the lower class? How will that translate to you?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, it's definitely nice to know what all the GT drivers are like. Now when I'll be passing them, I kind of know what to expect, how they drive, who is aggressive, who is not, different lines of GT drivers they traditionally take. Okay, if he's giving me an opening, he turns in late, so he might not actually see me.
I know over the years a lot of people don't respect GT drivers as much as they should. You see a lot more GT drivers make a living than in some of the higher categories.
It's been nice being there. You learn a lot from a lot of really good drivers that people don't really realize are actually very good drivers. I think I've learned a lot over the past few years being in GT, racing these guys. It's been a great experience, I think GP will be a new challenge.
Everything is always a new challenge and I'm looking forward to it.
Q. (Question regarding sponsorship.)
WAYNE TAYLOR: SunTrust has been the primary sponsor with me since 2005 or 2004. They will not be the primary sponsor next year. However, they will still be with Wayne Taylor Racing next year, as will Toshiba, as will General Motors, as will all of our current sponsors.
Q. Jordan, now that this is all announced, does this ease your mind for this weekend going into Petie Le Mans?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, it's definitely been a little stressful. I've seen fans talking about it quite a bit. I knew everyone knew it was a natural fit for me to go there. Being here for Petit LeMans I can focus once I get through this race, then focusing on Daytona, going there November 13th and 14th, getting ready to go there for the 24 hour.
THE MODERATOR: Jordan has to go to practice at Petit Le Mans, so he has time for only one more question.
Q. Wayne Taylor, was Jordan Taylor your first and only option?
WAYNE TAYLOR: No. There's many racing drivers around. He was at the top of the list, though. As I said early on, it became a natural fit. But, no, there was a lot of drivers in line. But he was definitely on the top of our list.
Q. There's a lot of GM in the background to all of this. You raced the GM Corvette, the powerplant, so forth. Jordan came from GM. Ricky is going to a Chevy car. Did GM have anything to do with any of these decisions?
WAYNE TAYLOR: Oh, yeah, they've played a very big role certainly in Wayne Taylor Racing and independently with Ricky and Jordan. They've been a partner of mine since 1991.
Q. Did they have to approve Jordan getting in the car?
WAYNE TAYLOR: Yes, yes.
Q. Jordan, does this mean running full‑time with your dad that you will not be able to run with the Corvette in ALMS next year, whatever comes in the future?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Nothing's been decided yet. This year it was planned to do the full Rolex Series with Autohaus. They pulled out in the middle. It wouldn't really change anything because I was doing the three races with Corvette as well. This shouldn't theoretically change anything with Corvette racing for next year.
Q. Do you look forward to getting into a prototype? All drivers want more speed and power. Is this something that you're looking forward to or would you rather have a career based in GT cars?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, I was always proud to be a GT driver because I think people like to go to the prototypes because they're the faster cars that maybe have their egos a little bit bigger when they're in the faster car. I always loved racing in GT. I always respected the cars, drivers and teams. I always felt everyone on the outside didn't respect them as much because it was a slower class.
I'm excited to go to GP. It is looked from the outside as the top class in GRAND‑AM. It will be cool to go for overall wins which I haven't been able to go for in my career yet. Going to a new team with my family, Max who is like a brother to me, it will be a great experience.
Q. Wayne, you mentioned SunTrust is not going to be the title sponsor on the team. Are you ready to announce who that new sponsor is going to be or will it just be branded Wayne Taylor Racing into the horizon?
WAYNE TAYLOR: No, everything is done step by step. As I said, SunTrust will remain on the car, but certainly will not be the naming rights. It will be an associate. The car will run under Wayne Taylor Racing this year. We certainly don't need to promote the name on the racecar. We use the racecar to promote other brands. We are in talks with another entity that probably within three weeks we'll be able to talk further about.
Q. Is that going to be someone new or someone you're associated with currently?
WAYNE TAYLOR: It will be somebody completely new.
Q. Jordan, can you talk a little bit about the differences you expect going to GP from the GT cars? What do you think your learning curve will be?
JORDAN TAYLOR: The biggest thing will be learning of downforce of the car, the capabilities of coming with that. I drove a Corvette for Action Express earlier this year, so I have an idea what it will be like. Going from GT to GP, I'll be looking more out the front of the car than having one eye in the mirror, one eye out the front windshield just because I hopefully won't have that many cars coming by me on the straights.
It will be something new, but it will just be another challenge, another thing to learn. Going to be with Max and my dad, mentors I've had all the way through my career, so it will be more and more learning from their experiences.
Q. Jordan, it's been a while since you and your brother have competed directly. What is going to change pre and post race compared to last season?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Maybe some awkward dinners at the house. I don't know. I don't think it will be too much different. We've always wanted to help each other and move forward together. I'm sure it will be the same. It's just now we won't be able to share as much information that the engineers are giving us or the data guys or our teammates. We won't be able to tell those little things we were able to tell in years past.
I'm sure we'll be following each other on the track different points of the year, seeing little things, talking about, Why are you taking that line, those kind of things that we can help each other with.
I'm sure when we get home, if we hit each other, it will be a little awkward. On a normal weekend, I'm sure it will be all good.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Jordan, for joining us today. Thank you, Wayne. Best of luck for your team in 2013. The 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona will be here before we know it. I'd like to thank the media for joining us, as well. Thank you very much.
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