Wayne Taylor Racing - The success of the family business
Wayne Taylor Racing is an American motorsports team which competes in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
The first title Wayne Taylor Racing won in 2005 Sports Car Series
The history of the team, founded and owned by the South Africa-born racing driver Wayne Taylor, begins in 2004 when the Wayne Taylor Racing became a factory-backed squad of Riley Technologies, and with a strong sponsorship from Sun Trust Bank. The first season was very good after Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli finished 2nd in the DP class of the Rolex Sports Car Series.
The following year was even better after the two drivers won the DP class title. At the end of 2005 season, Angelelli and Taylor were 34 points ahead of Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz. In 2006 well-known driver Jan Magnussen joined the WTR but they were able to win only one race, at Laguna Seca Raceway. Angelelli was the best-placed driver taking the 3rd position in the Drivers’ championship.
New engine for the new drivers
Before the start of 2007, Wayne Taylor Racing and Riley Technologies parted ways but WTR still was among the best in the DP class. The Wayne Taylor Racing scored two wins after Max and Jan Magnussen were the fastest at Virginia International Raceway and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and had other seven podium finishes. Max again was the best-placed driver as he finished 3rd in the championship.
2008 was the year of changes. Wayne Taylor retired as a driver after 24 Hours of Daytona and WTRswitched from Riley to Dallara chassis but kept old Pontiac V8 5.0 l engine. Canadian driver Michael Valiante arrived as a substitute for Taylor but Angelelli again was the best-placed driver, taking the 6th position with a win at Sonoma Raceway on his account.
In the following year, Wayne Taylor and SunTrust Racing adopted Ford engine while Brian Frisselle arrived as a replacement for Valiante. The season of 2009 was much better than the previous one after Angelelli and Frisselle finished 3rd in DP category. They won the races at Daytona and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve before finishing 3rd overall, only 12 points behind the championship winning car of GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing.
Vice-champions for two seasons in a row
Wayne Taylor Racing had a pretty good campaign in 2010. Ricky Taylor, the son of the team owner, was brought to the driving seat and driving alongside Angelelli finished as a runner-up. WTR’s Dallara-Ford won the pole position and had the fastest lap in Daytona 24 Hours, eventually finishing 6th. During the season Wayne Taylor Racing won the race at Lime Rock Park and scored a total of seven podiums but that still wasn’t enough for the title.
After two pretty good seasons with Ford engine, WTR decided to switch to the Chevrolet powerplant in 2011. Taylor and Angelelli again won at Lime Rock Park but also won twice at Watkins Glen before finishing as the vice-champions for the second year in a row, again losing to Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Scot Pruett and Memo Rojas.
More changes and another title
In 2012 Wayne Taylor Racing again opted to change the chassis of their DP. With Corvette DP3 chassis, Ricky and Max scored three wins, at Homestead-Miami Speedway, New Jersey Motorsports Park, and Lime Rock Park, but the other results weren’t as good, so they dropped to the 6th position in the final standings.
More changes had happened in 2013. The team lost the SunTrust sponsorship, while Ricky Taylor left WTR. However, his brother Jordan was partnered with experienced Italian what proved to be a perfect match. They won the title winning 5 out of 12 races. They were exceptionally good in the finish of the season when they scored three consecutive wins – at Kansas Speedway, Laguna Seca, and Petit Le Mans.
New beginning in the new series
In 2014 Rolex Sports Car Series merged with the American Le Mans Series, forming a new competition – IMSA United SportsCar Championship. Ricky Taylor returned home, while Angelelli appeared only in the endurance events. The results were good and WTR narrowly missed the title in the Prototype class. Taylor brothers finished 2nd overall after scoring two wins, including Petit Le Mans, and other four podiums.
The same number of wins Wayne Taylor Racing scored in 2015, but at the end of the campaign, Taylor brothers were only the 6th. That year probably was marked with the 10-place penalty at Daytona 24 Hours. The team finished 3rd in the race but was penalized after it was found that Jordan Taylor exceeded the four-hour driving limit in the closing stage of the race.
Some very famous names joined WTR
Famous former Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello joined WTR for the 2016 Daytona and Sebring. The Brazilian helped WTR to finish 2nd in the season-opening race, while at the end of the campaign Taylor brothers were 3rd in the final standings of Prototype class. They scored victories at Long Beach, Belle Isle, and Circuit of the Americas but that wasn’t enough for the triumph. At the end, they were only five points behind the champions from Action Express Racing.
Perfect start of 2017 – Victories at Daytona and Sebring
For the season of 2017, Wayne Taylor Racing prepared a Dallara-Cadillac prototype. Ricky and Jordan Taylor again are the leading drivers, while Angelelli will join them for the endurance races. The NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon, who also was with a team in 2007, will be a member of the crew for 24 Hours of Daytona, the season-opening race. After exciting battle with Action Express Racing car #5, WTR won the race thanks to the nice maneuver of Ricky Taylor in the very last minutes of the race.
That triumph was followed by a victory at 12 Hours of Sebring. Taylor brothers were partnered with Alex Lynn who helped the Konica-Minolta sponsored Cadillac to win another big race and to make start of the 2017 campaign perfect.