ELKHART LAKE, Wis., – July 26, 2023 – The unwavering trust between teammates Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque was fully displayed last season at Road America.
Mother Nature threw a curveball at the best-laid plans for the entire IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship field during the race at the 4.4048-mile road course.
Taylor’s nerves were wearing thin as he piloted the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura in rain and drizzle on slicks, tires meant for dry asphalt.
Taylor was battling with other DPi cars while competitors in LP3 and GT divisions, on wets, were driving as fast as the WTR Acura. “It was one of the most difficult stints of my career,” Taylor said. “It was just pure survival on track.”
Albuquerque started the race on the pole, and Taylor intended to close it out, but Albuquerque, a Portuguese native, got back behind the wheel.
Albuquerque overtook Meyer Shank Acura’s Oliver Jarvis with 24 minutes to go on a pass through the grass in Turn 7.
The Wayne Taylor Racing team claimed victory under caution after Jarvis crashed his car going through the Kink while attempting to wrestle back the top slot from Albuquerque.
“The big thing is that we win and lose as a team, and that is a perfect example of no matter who they put in the car, we at least support each other and make sure each other is fairly comfortable,” Taylor said.
The reigning winners return for the IMSA WeatherTech Championship, August 3-6, 2023 at Road America.
Taylor has found his share of sports car endurance racing success at the 14-turn track in Elkhart Lake. He’s collected three poles and two victories. Taylor and Hello Castroneves won a rain-filled race during the 2020 season in a Team Penske Acura.
The 2022 victory was also a special one for Bill Mullen, a veteran mechanic at Wayne Taylor Racing who had never posted a win at RA. The track was the final one on the mechanic’s win list, and he got the opportunity to retire from his road gig. Mullen still works in the WTR race shop.
Road America is slotted on the top-three list of Taylor’s beloved road courses due to the challenges those circuits offer. Le Mans and Watkins Glen are the others. “They sort of have that fast, flowing style,” he said.
“I love Road America. It’s that old-school style. If you make a mistake, you kind of have the punishment. I like the big tracks where you’ve got plenty of speed, and the corners are big, lots of third-, fourth- and fifth-gear corners.”
Taylor admitted that he’s ultra-specific about his favorite section at RA. “I love qualifying in the Carousel because it never feels as good as it does in qualifying,” Taylor said. “If you nail the qualifying, it’s really, really cool.”
The racer, who grew up in Florida and celebrates his 34th birthday on Aug. 3, said he’s excited to compete on Road America’s resurface.
The repaving project, completed in October 2022, was the track’s first since 1995. No layout changes were made at Road America, which opened in 1955.
Considering that IMSA debuted a new classification for the 2023 season with the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP), teams and drivers are still becoming accustomed to that formula.
According to Taylor, checking out the repave will make things incredibly interesting.
“There was always going to be an unknown, and everyone was always going to have an equal playing field,” Taylor said. “Obviously, we loved it just the way it was, but I think to go through the Carousel with some fresh pavement is going to be pretty exciting.”
Much like RA race fans, Taylor is a massive fan of immersing himself in the track’s atmosphere on race weekend. He’s enjoyed getting to know track neighbors who stay in on-track cabins.
“It’s one of the most unique experiences for us because we stay in the tiny homes off the front straight,” he said. “And we’ve had the same neighbors for one or two years. Sports car racing is unique for the camping style.
“It’s one of those tracks where you see the same crowd every year. You get that continuity.”
Bring the entire family to the IMSA Sportscar Weekend for non-stop racing excitement. Weekend campsites are also available, making the races fun and affordable. Ticket prices vary by day. Kids 16 and under get free general admission with a paying adult at the gate. Racing runs rain or shine. For additional event details and tickets, check out www.roadamerica.com