USCC: Wayne Taylor Racing Daytona 24 Preview
Three-time sports car champion and two-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Wayne Taylor hung up the racing gloves as a full-time competitor in 2006 and, albeit for one-off appearances in the 2007 through 2010 Rolex 24s, he says he hasn’t missed it one bit while running the perennially championship-contending team that bears his name.
But for this weekend’s 52nd Rolex 24 on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road circuit, Taylor has decided to come out of retirement to fulfill one of his racing dreams by co-driving for the first time with both of his sons Ricky and Jordan, as well as his longtime friend and business partner Max “The Ax” Angelelli, with whom he co-drove to the 2005 Rolex 24 race win and season-long championship.
Yes, it will be a family affair in the truest sense for the drivers of the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Chevrolet Corvette Dallara Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) as they help usher in the long-awaited Tudor United SportsCar Championship era, which represents the recent merger of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series and the American Le Mans Series.
Angelelli and the 22-year-old Jordan Taylor came within 21 seconds of winning this race a year ago with a near-flawless performance by the WTR organization and its No. 10 Corvette. They went on to win five races in 2013, including the final three of the season in thoroughly dominating fashion to clinch the final Rolex Series driver championship for Angelelli and the younger Taylor brother.
With 24-year-old Ricky Taylor returning to the team after a one-year stint driving the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP team, the decision to join his sons and Angelelli for this year’s festivities at their home racetrack was an easy one for longtime Apopka, Fla., resident Wayne Taylor, who first won the Rolex 24 with Scott Sharp and Jim Pace in 1996 before scoring his second win with Angelelli and Frenchman Emmanuel Collard in 2005.
The Taylor brothers will assume the role of full-time co-drivers for the inaugural, 12-race Tudor Championship schedule for 2014 while Angelelli steps out of his full-time role to become the third driver at the four North American Endurance Cup events – the Rolex 24, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, and the Petit Le Mans.
Wayne Taylor, meanwhile, will be content this weekend to drive a minimal amount of laps around the 3.56-mile, 12-turn superspeedway road course and leave the lion’s share of the driving to his sons, who already have a championship and an impressive 14 Rolex Series wins between them, and Angelelli, who’s hoisted first-place trophies 26 times since joining the Rolex Series in 2004.
The green flag flies at 2:10 p.m. EST Saturday for the 52nd Rolex 24.