Chevy Racing–Corvette Racing–Jordan and Ricky Taylor

NATE SIEBENS:  Thank you to everybody for joining us on the call today as we head into this Saturday’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers, which will be at Detroit’s Raceway on Belle Isle.  This weekend’s 100‑minute race features the TUDOR Championships Prototype and GT Daytona classes, and it will take the green flag at 12:10 p.m. eastern time.  The race will be televised on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 1:30 p.m. eastern time.
Joining us on the call today are brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor, who co‑drive the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for their father’s Wayne Taylor Racing team.  Ricky has seven career professional sports car victories, his best result in Detroit so for was a fifth place run last year in the GRAND‑AM Rolex Sports Car Series race.  Jordan has won both of his previous visits to Detroit.  He won the Rolex Series GT class in 2012, and in Daytona Prototype last year alongside Max Angelelli on their way to the 2013 Rolex Series DP championship.
Immediately following Saturday’s race both Jordan and Ricky will be headed to Le Mans to participate in the mandatory test day on Sunday. Jordan will be part of the No. 73 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7R driver lineup alongside TUDOR Championship regulars Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the GTE Pro class.  Ricky will share the No. 50 Larbre Competition Morgan‑Judd in the LMP2 class.
Jordan, let’s start with an opening question for you.  Detroit has been very good to you so far.  What are you and Ricky going to do to continue that momentum this weekend?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  Well, looking back at the past few years, we didn’t necessarily have the fastest car both years, but Detroit is a street course, and it’s a difficult place to pass, and I feel both times that we’ve been there, both with Auto Haas in 2012 and then last year with Wayne Taylor Racing that we were good in the pits, and after the last pit stop they left in the lead, and I think that really set the tone for the races, being that track position and basically controlling the race from front.
Our team has been notoriously good this year and last year in the pits, so as long as we can keep that trend going and both Ricky and I can keep it up somewhere near the front, I think we’ll have another shot at another win.
NATE SIEBENS:  Thanks, Jordan.  Ricky, you and Jordan obviously off to a solid start this season, three second‑place results from the first four races.  How do you guys break into the win column this weekend, and also, how important is it to win again in Detroit with a Corvette DP?
RICKY TAYLOR:  I think it’s one of our most important races of the year, being that we’re in GM’s backyard and on a street course.  It’s in a very important part of the season, so we’re putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to perform well.  And then in terms of winning races, I think we’ve been right up there.  I think it’s just a little bit of track position here and there.  I think we just weren’t the strongest car at Laguna, so we settled for good points and second place and then Long Beach and Daytona we were right there.  I think it was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  We’re just going to have to keep pushing, and if we keep running this strongly, I’m sure the wins will come.
Q.  Hi, guys.  Just a question about parity.  We’ve had long races and we’ve had short races this year, so far, and I was wondering what you guys thought about the parity between the DP and the P2 cars the way it is now.  How do you think they’ll do against each other in Detroit, and do you think the two cars are able to live happily racing against each other in the series?
RICKY TAYLOR:  I think the parity is actually really good.  I think it’s hard to kind of get over the hump of the first Daytona where everybody knew the DPs would be favored, and then we went to Sebring, and I thought it was very evening.  I think a P2 car ended up with the fastest lap of the race, but the way the races went, it favored the DP, and then Long Beach I thought was pretty close, maybe a little bit favored to the DP, and then Laguna was a P2 track.
I don’t think you can ask for everything.  You’re never going to match the two cars on the straights and you’re never going to match the two cars on the corners.  I think they’ve found a very good middle ground, and I think our team is very happy with the parity of the series in that we’re still having to fight really hard for wins.  We never thought it would be this close, to be honest.
JORDAN TAYLOR:  Yeah, I mean, I think since Sebring, it’s actually been quite good.  I remember battling with Simon Pagenaud in the Extreme Speed car and I was one of the first people, I didn’t really say it out loud, but I never really thought the cars could be close, a DP and a P2, and once I was around Pagenaud for around 45 minutes straight at Sebring, the cars were shockingly close, not just in the corners but also in the straights.  I think certain types of corners that lead into straights suit us, and certain types of corners suit them.  Different tracks can suit different cars, and just like Ricky said, you can’t ask for everything.  You can’t have cornering speeds and straight line speeds.  It’s got to be a balance of the two.  Different tracks, different people are going to be complaining, but we did as well as we could have done at Laguna finishing second to a P2 car, and they’ve been up front like Muscle Milk was up front at Daytona when that was a DP track. As long as teams are executing well, I think the balance of the performances have been quite good.
Q.  Somebody told me that I may not be able to tell that you’re brothers when I get there.  Have you always been the type that did your own thing, or what can I expect?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  What to expect between us?
Q.  Just the visual.  I haven’t been on the scene for a while.
JORDAN TAYLOR:  I’ve got a mullet, so that will be pretty easy to spot, I think.
Q.  So I won’t have to see a name tag or anything.  But I did want to ask you a more serious racing question.  Detroit is a track that sort of just has been going through a few years now, and it seems to be the racing there is good.  How about the competition between manufacturers there in this race?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  Well, thankfully the past two years Chevy has been winning it, and 2012, the first year there, the Camaro won in GT and a Corvette Daytona Prototype won in the Prototypes and then last year we won in the Prototypes again, and I think Stevenson won with their Camaro again in 2013.  Both years Chevrolet has been on top, and hopefully we can continue that trend this year.
RICKY TAYLOR:  Yeah, I mean, same with me.  I think GM puts a lot of pressure on us for this weekend, right in their backyard, and for us it’s our No. 2 race to the 24‑hour, and we’ve always been strong here.  For some coincidence the DPs ‑‑ the Corvette DPs have always been competitive here, so we’ll just see how we match up versus the P2 cars, but I think we’re used to the GTD/Prototype battle together on the track.  I think with that experience we should have a good opportunity here.
Q.  This question would be for both of you gentlemen.  What would be the most demanding portion of the actual race on the track?  Where on the track will you meet your most demand this weekend?
RICKY TAYLOR:  Yeah, I think for me it’s at the end of the back straight.  The track is very difficult bei
ng a street course with obviously walls everywhere, so there’s not room for error.  But off the end of the back straight you have to turn and brake and it’s really bumpy, but there’s a wall really close on the exit.  You’re trying to get past GT cars and it’s one of the only passing opportunities for interclass battles, so it’s very narrow and easy to make a mistake.  So that would be my pick for the most difficult one.
JORDAN TAYLOR:  Yeah, I’d say the biggest challenge for this weekend is traffic.  Last year we went there with sort of this class split with the Prototypes and GTD cars, but this year we’re a bit faster, and then there’s going to be a lot more GTD cars, as well.  I think just the mental strain and being a little bit more cautious but also aggressive at the same time because the sprint race is going to be the toughest part of the race trying to get through traffic clean and not make any mistakes because you’ll lose or gain so much time.
Q.  Jordan and Ricky, talk about shifting gears quickly from Detroit to Le Mans, if you can talk about what your plans are when the race is over, going over to Le Mans for the test day and maybe just a general comment looking ahead to the race itself, and same for you, Ricky.
JORDAN TAYLOR:  Yeah, that’ll be the third year now that I’ve done this crazy trip to get over to Le Mans for the test day.  Basically the race will finish and then we’ll basically try and get off the Belle Isle island as fast as possible to get to the Detroit airport for a flight at I think 6:30 p.m. that gets to Paris sometime Sunday morning, then we’re straight on a train down to Le Mans, then hopefully someone is there to pick us up to take us to the track, and then basically we’re straight in the race car for the afternoon session at Le Mans.
Hopefully we get a good three or four hours of testing under our belt.  It’s not the most ideal situation, obviously, but we only get one day of testing at Le Mans, and that’s our one day.
I remember in 2012, I think, I won the race in Detroit, didn’t get to go to the podium, didn’t eat dinner that night, slept on the plane, didn’t eat breakfast the next day because I was on the train down to Le Mans and straight into the race car.  It’s definitely a unique experience.
RICKY TAYLOR:  I mean, I’m on the same schedule as Jordan in terms of getting out of Detroit and then into Le Mans.  After the test day, I think me, Richard and Jordan are all going to do the afternoon session, and then we all have to ‑‑ they’re going to fly home, and my team has a training camp scheduled for three days after the test, so we’ll go to Val de Vienne, their test track, and we won’t do any on‑track stuff but just some kind of team bonding and physical training stuff, and I’ll be hanging out in France until the race weekend, and Jordan will come back and meet me there for the race.
Like Jordan said, in addition to what Jordan said, the biggest challenge for me is the mental preparation for three race weekends, such different cars and such different events to give everything 100 percent of your focus and attention is very difficult.  I want to ‑‑ I want to be our best on every weekend, and it’s just hard sometimes to give everything to each weekend.
Q.  Ricky, what have you been doing to adapt, to prepare yourself for an LMP2 car?  Is there any advice you’ve gotten from anybody in particular or any preparation for that?
RICKY TAYLOR:  I haven’t been able to get too much information.  I think we tested a couple weeks ago in the DP, and it’s all a new era.  I learned my neck is not quite strong enough.  I’ve been doing a lot of neck training because I think the DP is going to have quite a bit more G‑forces, and then with three drivers there’s going to be a lot of seat time.  I’ve been doing a lot of training to get ready for that, especially in my neck, and a little bit of iRacing because they have a P2 car in there.
The one good thing is that Le Mans is the one track that the car is going to be completely trimmed out, so it’s not going to be such a crazy downforce machine that it’s going to be too alien to me.  I’m doing everything I can, watching On Board, did a little bit of simulator last week, but doing what I can at the moment.
Q.  And Jordan, tell us a little bit about your preparation here and what you’re going to be doing at Watkins Glen in a few weeks.
JORDAN TAYLOR:  Yeah, well, obviously I’ve been growing a mullet now for about a year and a half, and I’m getting kind of tired of it, so I got talking with a couple of charities Camp Boggy Creek and Camp Anokijig, and we’re basically giving money, doing a raffle, and whoever wins the raffle is going to get two tickets to the Watkins Glen Six‑Hour, a ride in the two‑seater Daytona Prototype from Continental Tire, and then the runner up in the raffle will be getting a set of Continental Tires.  So trying to raise as much money for the charities, and then whoever wins it is going to come to the event and cut off some of my hair and have a great weekend.  Hopefully we can raise a bunch of money for it.
Q.  Jordan and Ricky, yesterday I was talking to Courtney Force over in NHRA about getting the 100th female win in NHRA.  She obviously has a strong racing background like you guys do.  I asked her a question that I’ve really asked Mario Andretti a number of years ago about talented kids racing and growing up racing go‑karts, and I asked Mario if he could see talent in those kids, and he smiled and said, not all kids are created equal.  Maybe Mario could see it, but did you guys when you were growing up, obviously you grew up around racing.  Did you think in your past you felt you had that driving talent all along?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  I think initially in go‑karts we didn’t think it at all.  We didn’t have any success in go‑karting for about four or five years, and then I guess we only started really winning races when we moved to cars, when we got into Skip Barber doing the racing school there and then doing the racing series.  I think we were pretty late bloomers, and success took a while to find.
RICKY TAYLOR:  Yeah, I think Jordan is right on.  I think we didn’t see a lot of success early, but I think the main thing about having those genes is that he was around to teach us what he knew, and that’s been a part of a learning curve so much, more than just whatever genes we might have, I think it was the knowledge that he gave us, all those days at the racetrack where he could tell us what we’re doing wrong and how to go about racing professionally and what to expect at higher levels.  We weren’t just treating it like another sport, we were kind of treating it more as our living and as a profession.
Q.  As far as Courtney also kind of mentioned that she was so driven, everybody thought it was just a pipe dream for a female to do it, but when she got her driver’s license, one month later she was in drag racing school.  Did you guys have that kind of a passion that you couldn’t wait to get into it?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  I think we definitely wanted to ‑‑ I wouldn’t say immediately, but we were always around the track, so we were always around it.  But I think it took a little bit of go‑karting to really get the buzz for it and really want to do it for a living.  I think once we started taking go‑karting seriously, even with the lack of success that we had to begin with, we weren’t focusing on anything else.  It was pretty much racing was everything, and if that didn’t work out, I don’t think we knew what we were going to do after that.
RICKY TAYLOR:  Yeah, same here.  Once we got into it and got serious and stuff, it was all we could really see ourselves doing.
Q.  I’ve asked Jimmie Johnson, John Force.  Courtney said she didn’t really catch on right away.  J
immie Johnson, he couldn’t win in motorcycles, and look where everybody has gone.  What’s your comment on that?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  I don’t know, it’s an interesting question, I guess.  But I think everyone, their style suits different things, so if Jimmie Johnson didn’t suit a motorcycle, he’s obviously suited in NASCAR quite well.  Our driving styles must not have suited go‑karting or things like that.  I think a big thing for Ricky and I is we were really serious about the sport, we love learning about it and everything.  So growing up around my dad, always being around his teammates and his teams and his engineers, we had all of this information available to us to learn from, and not a lot of kids at our age when we were younger were getting that kind of information. To be getting it at such a young age and trying to absorb it definitely sped up that learning curve a lot.
RICKY TAYLOR:  Yeah, I think everybody learns differently and everybody adapts to some things differently, as well.  Like when we were racing in Skip Barber and kind of coming up through the ranks, a lot of the other drivers were coming up at the same time, and you’d see a lot of drivers not adapting to their cars really quickly.  Some drivers would get in and immediately go really fast, and other drivers would take a little while to get there and might overtake the other guys in terms of a learning curve.  But I think for us, or for me especially, I think we really struggled in go‑karts and maybe just didn’t suit our driving style.  Max will tell you the same thing.  Max was useless in go‑karts, as well. I think it’s just what suits you.  As we’ve both kind of come up, we’ve both found a good home in the Daytona Prototype, and it’s suited us both very well.
Q.  You’ve kind of sort of answered this already, and I apologize, but what was the key to this form of racing that drew all the talent from you and made you successful?
RICKY TAYLOR:  It’s hard to tell.  I think it goes back to that thing we said about growing up in a sports car racing family, and our dad has always taught us like little things about how to grow up in this sport and specifically sports car racing.  I remember one of the first things he taught me when I drove a car was to drive down the middle of the straight away at Road Atlanta, and normally he’d say take the shortest route, which it’s kind of a corner, and he said just because all the debris gets pushed to the outside.  That’s not something an IndyCar dad would tell you, that’s something a sports car dad would tell you.  So little things like that I think have helped us grow with this sport as opposed to oval racing, especially oval racing or open wheel racing or something like that, and I think it just kind of suits us how we’re both easy‑going mentalities, we’re both open to working with a teammate, which also kind of fits in well with how this style of racing works.
Q.  Do either one of you take the opportunity, though, to go and watch other forms of automobile racing and do you appreciate what those drivers are doing in those events?
JORDAN TAYLOR:  Yeah, obviously.  We’ve huge fans of the sport, not just sports car racing, so we’re watching V‑8 Super Cars, DTM, Formula 1, IndyCar.  If there’s a race on TV we’ll be watching it.  Everyone has different things to learn from, and they may be different animals, but at the end of the day a race car is a race car and you can learn a lot from different guys, even if it’s in a massively different car.
Q.  My question is about the event.  The city of Detroit has taken a lot of body shots the last few years, and it seems to have fought its way off the ropes anyway.  How important do you think having a first‑class event like this weekend is, and do you sense out there, is there a buzz about the event, and do you think ‑‑ I’m thinking along the right track that an event like yours can bolster people’s confidence and pride in the city?
RICKY TAYLOR:  It’s definitely good.  I think we go to a lot of races throughout the year, and we’ll go into town and mingle with some of the locals if there’s an opportunity.  But when we come to Detroit, everyone is always asking are you in town for the race or obviously they see the shirts and stuff. Are you in town for the race and they ask questions and they’re enthusiastic, and then at the track there’s a lot of volunteers.  There’s a good buzz, and I don’t think we see that, other than maybe the 24‑hour and Sebring, throughout the rest of the year.
I’m not a politician, but I think it’s nice to see the positive attitudes of all the local people and how much everybody seems to be behind it.
JORDAN TAYLOR:  I guess I can add just that if you look all around the world, sporting events always bring people together no matter what it is.  I think having a big event like we have with IMSA being there and IndyCar and I think World Challenge, as well, is great, and I think Roger Penske promotes the event.  When you’re at the track, it’s top‑notch.  The big thing for me is always bathrooms, and they’ve got the cleanest bathrooms of any racetrack that we go to.  From the highest level of things for the event to the lowest things as bathrooms, it’s a great event, and it overlooks the Detroit skyline.  It’s a really nice event.
NATE SIEBENS:  With that, let’s wrap up today’s teleconference.  Thanks again to Jordan and Ricky and all of you who called in for joining us again.