New Series, New Cars ... Same Leaders

IMSA

Wayne Taylor Racing has been here before ... leading the Prototype point standings entering race weekend at Watkins Glen International. (Photo: Courtesy of IMSA)

They’ve changed the name of the racing series.  The cars are different this season, too.  But one thing remains just as it was a year ago when North American sports car competitors last visited Watkins Glen International in search of championship points.

Wayne Taylor Racing sits atop the Prototype standings in the inaugural season of the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship, just as it did in June 2013 when the final year of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series took teams to Watkins Glen.

Co-drivers Jordan and Ricky Taylor hold a seven-point edge over Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi entering Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, which marks the mid-point of the 2014 schedule.

"It’s been a consistent year for us," Jordan Taylor said, stating the obvious.  The No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette has finished either first or second in four of its five starts thus far – including a victory in its last outing last month in Detroit.  "It was nice to finally get that first win.  Now, we’re in the points lead and we’ll just take things race-by-race."

Which means the first priority is Sunday’s six-hour grind around The Glen’s 3.4-mile, 11-turn natural road course.

"It’s the fastest track we race on in terms of cornering speeds," said Ricky Taylor, Jordan’s older brother.  "Although it is such a high-speed circuit, it requires a lot of focus and the car must be placed very precisely.  This year, more than in years past, it’ll be very challenging."

Updates to WTR’s Corvette DP have brought increased G-forces in the corners and put a greater load on the driver.  With the longer race Sunday, the Taylor brothers will have a familiar face in their garage to take his turn behind the wheel.  Max Angelelli teamed with Jordan to win the final GRAND-AM Prototype title last season.

"A lot of teams are opting to use three drivers this weekend," said Ricky Taylor.  "The six-hour race distance doesn’t make things more demanding, per se.  But we’ll be able to take longer breaks between shifts, which is nice."

And according to Jordan Taylor, the extra rest will come in handy with a greater physical demand on the drivers when they are behind the wheel.

"We’ve got a little bit more power, but the big thing is all the extra downforce for the Prototypes," he said.  "We’ve got a big rear diffuser, a double-element rear wing and carbon brakes – a lot of stuff that puts off a lot more energy into the driver’s body.

"As the track develops over the weekend and it gets more rubber put down, it’s going to get faster and faster.  The faster you go, the more G-forces you pull and the more physical it’s going to be."

Traffic will also be an issue this weekend.  It’s the first time since the 12 Hours of Sebring in mid-March that all four IMSA classes will be competing at the same time.

"The races have all been really good and Watkins Glen will be, too," Taylor said.  "We’re going to have all the classes on the track together so I think it’s going to be an action-packed race."

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship teams will open practice Friday afternoon and qualify Saturday.  Motor Racing Network will have live coverage of Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen from Watkins Glen International beginning at 10:45 a.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com.

Race Center

Road America

@ Road America
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Radio Start:
MRN, 4:45 p.m. (ET)

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