NASCAR Media Conference
August 7, 2012
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Jordan Taylor, driver of the No.5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona prototype. Taylor will join David Donohue with Action Express Racing for Saturday's Continental Tire 200 presented by Dunn Tire at Watkins Glen International.
Jordan has concentrated on the Rolex Series GT division the past two and a half seasons winning two races, including the 2012 event at Detroit Belle Isle, and finishing second in the 2011 championship. Taylor, a 21‑year‑old Floridian, competed in nine DP races in 2008 to 2009.
Last year you finished second in GT on the Watkins Glen short course. What are the challenges of coming from a long course in the GT Camaro where you finished fifth in June, to racing a Corvette DP on The Glen's short course?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, there are a lot of differences between the Corvette and the prototype. The first thing and the biggest thing would probably be the handling. In the GT car, you are relying mostly on mechanical grip, and then when you step into the DP, it's almost all reliance on the downforce.
So as a driver, I have to get comfortable with that and learn to build my confidence and trust the car on the high‑speed corners.
And going to Watkins Glen, the short course especially, it's such a high‑speed track where you are relying on all that downforce.
We have a bit of practice before qualifying everything, and so hopefully I'll be able to get comfortable and learn my way through the traffic and hopefully have a good race.
Q. Given the condensed schedule and the short course, why did you choose this weekend to make this move?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Well, with Autohaus pulling out of the previous Watkins Glen event and having a late call here to Indy, there was no real plans for me on racing here.
So once I got the call from Action Express to go test with them, and once the test went well and they asked me to come on for just this one race, I didn't really have any other commitments.
So if it weren't for this team, I wouldn't be racing, and I'm definitely looking forward to it. It will be my first race back in a GT in a long time, and so hopefully it will be a good race.
I'm also looking forward to driving with David and learning from him.
Q. This race will somewhat of a different kind of family affair for you. Also, I would like if you could comment on David Donohue, a driver still well‑known in our area here in Pennsylvania, and after all of these years, people still remember; what is it like driving with somebody like David Donohue who does have such a sterling reputation?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, it's going to be really cool to be driving with David. I always watched him on the track, and of course, I've known who his father was for all these years, and admired his career. I was never alive to watch him race, but of course, he's got a great history and a lot of success, and I'm sure I'm going to be able to learn a lot from David through the weekend.
For me, driving against my dad's team and my brother, it will be a little awkward I think to begin with, but it's just going to be another race car on the track and another competitor. So once I'm in the race car, we'll just be trying to beat any car that's out there.
Q. A bunch of questions I have for you based on my preceding colleague there. The first one that comes to mind is, you drove the Sun Trust car at Indy, if I remember, during the test in early July. That's a different chassis than what you'll be driving at The Glen this weekend; is that correct?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, that is correct.
Q. Now, you mentioned a test. Where was that that you tested?
JORDAN TAYLOR: It was a tire test at Watkins Glen a couple weeks ago.
Q. Now, can you contrast the two chassis? Did you notice a difference between the Dallara, which is what is what the Sun Trust Corvette was, and the chassis which is Pratt & Miller, or Coyote chassis that you'll be driving this summer?
JORDAN TAYLOR: The first one and the most obvious one is that in the Dallara Corvette, you sit on the left side and when you step in the Coyote Corvette, you're on the right side of the car. So that was the first thing to get used to.
From a handling perspective, it was almost impossible to tell the difference or make an educated guess, because at Indy we were on a certain tire and on a very low grip track for the first session, and that was the only session I drove.
When I went to Watkins Glen, I was on the tire that we were going to be racing at Watkins Glen on, and it's a completely different track, different surface and everything. So I wouldn't really make any real determination on the differences in the chassis itself.
Q. Do you have a preferred side on which to drive or from which to drive?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Being American and driving in America all of these years, I'm so used to sitting on the left. But going to Watkins Glen, sitting on the right isn't all bad because a lot of the corners are right‑handers.
So sitting on the right side of the car, I got definitely a better perspective of turning in and seeing the apex a bit better and knowing that you're right on the line and right on the edge of the track because you're right next to it on the right side.
Other than that, it's just getting used to when you turn left, you've got to remember that there's an extra about four or five feet of car on the left side of you that you're really not used to. So just being careful of hitting cars and curbs on that side will be something to get used to.
Q. Does this portend for GT in your future?
JORDAN TAYLOR: It's just a one‑race deal. I've got no plans in IndyCar right now for Montréal or the rest of the season.
Q. I guess my main question is: How did this whole deal with Action Express come together?
JORDAN TAYLOR: I don't exactly know how it started.
But I remember I tested at Indy and I had no plans on really the rest of the season with Autohaus. And then we spoke with‑‑ actually Action Express approached my dad about me in the Indy test and we got talking a little bit.
And a week later, I went to North Carolina to do a seat fitting with the team and possibly go do a test at Watkins Glen, the short course, to do the tire test.
Once we did the seat fitting we decided we would all go up to the test together and got through that pretty successfully; and got a call a week later asking if I would be available to do the race with them, driving with David Donohue.
And of course I said yes, because I had no other plans, and I always wanted to drive in prototypes; and especially such a successful team like Action Express and David Donohue, you can't really say no. So that's really how it all came together.
Q. If I remember correctly, GRAND‑AM cars tends to be hotter inside for the drivers. I've heard a couple of drivers say that and just obviously with the record heat, not would it be affecting the driver, but it's going to be affecting the crew. Have you noticed any difference with all of that?
JORDAN TAYLOR: It's definitely been a hot year, but everyone's in the same boat.
We have in the cars, on the GT car, we had a Pratt & Miller A/C system for the Camaro which blew through the helmet and through the seat, which was basically refreshing air and probably 20 degrees cooler than the outside testimony tire. I'm not sure what we have in the Corvette DP.
But for the crew guys, they basically have to sit out in the heat all day and they don't get the pleasure of having a cool suit or A/C system and they have to sit there in those three‑layer suits all day. They definitely have a tough time on a hot day outside.
It's definitely nice when we get on a track like Watkins Glen where you know it's going to be pretty nice conditions, maybe possibility of rain. But you're not going to be sitting out there in the brutal heat like we had at the Indy test.
Q. Wondering being that you're 21 years old, looking at a future in this, what's your take so far and what are your greatest plans for the future?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, I love sports car racing. I've grown up around it with my dad all these years, and I never really had any aspirations to go do any racing or stock car racing.
Sure, if the opportunity came up, I would like to try something but not something I can go after right now. I really enjoy the endurance races and the formula that we have in GRAND‑AM and the rivalry been different manufacturers and carmakers is exciting and, you don't get much better racing than what you have here.
I'm enjoying it and I look forward to being here for a long time and hopefully have a successful career.
Q. With your brother's and father's team in the rotation, you'll be going head‑to‑head with Ricky at the start of the race. Any extra ribbing between the two of you at home leading up to the race?
JORDAN TAYLOR: No, not too much. I think it will be interesting to see what happens. Ricky has been there for a couple years now, and obviously has had a lot of success, especially in qualifying last year.
So I know he'll be one of the toughest guys to go up against. So he's been giving me little tips over the years about what he's been doing, so maybe I can put a little something together for the qualifying we have this weekend.
But I'm not expecting too much of myself. I know it will be a big learning curve through the weekend, and I just want to do the best as I can and do a good job for Action Express.
Q. This will be the fourth different car and third different series you're competing in this year; what are some of the challenges driving to the different cars and different series?
JORDAN TAYLOR: It's definitely tough, a few different cars. But it's a good thing, also, to learn new things as a driver and to adapt to new situations as quick as possible.
I think jumping from car to car after this year will have prepared me for a little more this weekend. I'm going to a calm arrow two weeks ago to a Cadillac to a Corvette this coming weekend.
Definitely way different driving style. And sitting on opposite sides of the car and different teams and getting to know the different people and how to work with them; it will definitely be a big learning curve through the weekend but everyone is up to the job.
Q. My question is about style, not the uniform you're wearing, but driving style. How much do you find your style is like your father's, and how much like your brother's, influenced by your brother, and how much is it you? And what particular things did your father find successful, have you adapted?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Well, basically my dad has been probably the biggest mentor I've had in my whole life, especially with the racing and growing up with him in racing and following him all those years when I wasn't really expecting to be a race car driver. I was picking up little things from him from going in the two‑seater rides with him on the racetracks and everything.
From a driving style point of view, I probably do drive pretty similar to him as we are both endurance drivers and we enjoy the endurance side of things. And we know that endurance racing, you have to get to the end; so being the most aggressive guy, the most exciting guy to watch isn't always the best thing to do or the most important.
I definitely picked up those things. In two‑seater rides, I notice sometimes things he does with his feet and his hands that I don't do, the way he plays with the throttle in the corners and the way he uses the steering in the corners is definitely not the same as me.
Haven't driven with Ricky too much to really compare myself with him. So I don't know exactly the differences we have between ourselves but a lot of people say we are a bit different of the way we go about things and the way we approach different situations.
But I guess if you're both getting to a successful place in different ways, it's okay.
Q. If I could, and just a real quick question, how much do you view this race, which is a one‑off, as an audition for other people to see you and how much pressure does that put on you, or is that not a factor?
JORDAN TAYLOR: I think every race that you go into should be the same mind‑set, and that's just to do your best that you can and maximize with what you have. It's not going to be any different from any other racing for me. It will just be something new that I have to adapt to and it will be as quick as possible and just do a good job.
I never go into a weekend thinking, okay, maybe it will be a little more consistent or easier this weekend. You always have to go in with the mind‑set that you're going to go in for the win and do as best you can.
Q. Where are you at with your schooling?
JORDAN TAYLOR: I think two or three years in, but with credits, probably only two years. I start again in two weeks exactly. So on the 21st, I go back to classes for the next semester.
Q. Are you still pursuing an engineering degree?
JORDAN TAYLOR: No, Ricky is in engineering. I'm doing business marketing.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for all the media who took the time to join us today and thank you for joining us today, Jordan, we really appreciate you taking the time and best of luck this weekend in Watkins Glen.
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