Teammates in 2014: Wayne Taylor, center is flanked by his sons Ricky Taylor, left, and Jordan. (LAT photo)
Wayne Taylor's longtime dream has finally become reality as his sons Ricky and Jordan Taylor will assume the role of full-time co-drivers of the No. 10 Corvette Dallara DP for Wayne Taylor Racing when the inaugural Tudor United SportsCar Championship kicks off with the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Jordan Taylor, who at 22 became the youngest Daytona Prototype-class champion in Grand-Am Rolex Series history when he co-drove with veteran Italian Max Angelelli to five victories in his first season with his father's team in 2013, will join forces with his 24-year-old brother Ricky Taylor when the combined entities of the Rolex Series and American Le Mans Series begin competing under the Tudor United SportsCar Championship banner.
Ricky Taylor returns to WTR after a one-year stint at Spirit of Daytona Racing. Angelelli, who co-drove with Wayne Taylor to the 2005 Rolex Series championship and is the third-winningest driver in series history, assumes the role of third driver of the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette for the four endurance races on the 12-event schedule – the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen, and the season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
Ricky Taylor co-drove the No. 10 WTR prototype with Angelelli from 2010 through 2012, scoring seven victories, 10 pole positions, and back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Rolex Series championship in 2010 and 2011.
“This has obviously been a longtime dream of mine and, quite honestly, I thought it could never happen,” said team owner and three-time sports car racing champion Wayne Taylor, who formed WTR in 2007. “Thanks to the tremendous support of Team Chevy, Velocity Worldwide and Toshiba for making this happen. I am incredibly excited to move forward with both my sons driving for our racing team full time.
“This also never could have happened without my friend, my partner and my former championship teammate Max, who has given his all in working with the boys since they were very young, educating and molding them into the racing professionals they have become. I must say I can't be more proud of what the three of them have achieved together these last several years, and I'm looking forward to this coming season with more anticipation than ever.”
Ricky Taylor, who teamed with Richard Westbrook for a podium finish and four top-fives in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP this past season, previously co-drove with his younger brother in a Daytona Prototype when they shared the Beyer Racing Chevrolet Riley for three Rolex Series races in 2009.\
“First off, my dad and I would like to thank the Spirit of Daytona team for the opportunity to drive for their organization this past season,” Ricky Taylor said. “Prior to that, it was a tremendous experience to spend three years driving my dad's car with Max, and it was an absolute thrill to see Jordan and Max enjoy such a solid season in winning the championship the way they did. Now, the three of us will all be working together with the goal of winning the first United SportsCar championship. This is truly incredible for our family, for our great sponsors and partners, and our fans.”
Jordan Taylor also relishes the opportunity to co-drive with his older brother, and felt it was virtually inevitable. But, he also felt cautious about it taking place in due time.
“I think we've both had the chance to prove ourselves out there on our own the last several years,” Jordan Taylor said. “With Ricky having earned all those poles and winning all those races with Max, and then our championship this year with Max, the timing seems to be ideal for maximizing our recent success with Ricky and myself as full-time co-drivers. Max has been a like a brother to both of us and it will be great to keep that continuity going, as well, with him as our mentor and co-driver at the longer races.”
Angelelli, whose five victories in 2013 lifted his career Rolex Series total to 26 wins – trailing only Scott Pruett's 41 and Memo Rojas' 27 on the all-time Rolex Series win list – looks to add to his career numbers by continuing as co-driver at the major endurance events. The team also continues to seek funding for a second Daytona Prototype for the 2014 season and beyond, for which Angelelli would become the primary driver alongside another professional competitor.
“Back in 1999, when I first met Wayne and started driving with him, Ricky was just born, and Jordan came along two years later. So, obviously I never could have dreamed of the day when I would be driving together with them, especially at such a high level,” Angelelli said. “Both are extremely talented drivers, as I have had the chance to experience first-hand being their co-driver. But both of them are very different from each other, so I am anxious to see how their unique strengths will complement each other.
"As you saw with our championship this year with Jordan, it takes a total team effort, and the one area where they are incredibly similar is that both are the ultimate team players. I will be stepping back from a full-time role driving the sprint races but I am looking forward to driving with them in the four biggest races of the year – four of the most historic and important races in sports car racing. I also feel incredibly blessed and grateful to have a family that has loved me and has believed in me during such a long and successful run. The chance to continue as the boys' mentor and co-driver at the four big races is the least I can do to give back to them. It will be icing on the cake.”