Jordan Taylor’s name conjures up thoughts of youth and playfulness, thanks to the endless stream of silly videos featuring Corvette Racing’s reigning GT Le Mans champion or his alter ego Rodney Sandstorm.
And, while the now-29-year-old has become a fixture as one of IMSA’s biggest stars driving for its most popular team, Taylor’s youth was certainly on display at the 2012 edition of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring when he debuted for the factory team. The Florida native still has the look of a baby-faced assassin, so it’s hard to imagine Saturday’s race will mark the 10th anniversary of his first drive for Corvette Racing.
“It feels like a long time ago in a lot of ways; and in a lot of other ways it doesn’t,” said Taylor, whose No. 3 Corvette C8.R will start from pole in GTLM. “Back then, I was so young and I’d say naïve to be in that position at such a young age. I don’t think I realized what position I was in back then. Now I respect it a lot more being a Corvette Racing driver, seeing the fan base, the history of the team and the cars.
“When I was there at age 20, I was just this kid who was happy to be racing cars. Now I definitely respect the position a lot more. I understand a lot more how difficult it is for drivers to make it in this industry, so I’m a lot happier and prouder to be in this position. I don’t take it for granted. I know how hard it is to stay in these spots because there are so many amazing drivers that deserve seats.
Taylor, Antonio Garcia, and former Corvette driver Jan Magnussen placed second in class at Sebring in 2012. Jumping to 2021, Taylor and Garcia are still going strong and have Nicky Catsburg as their endurance teammate.
Having transitioned from rookie to team veteran, Taylor recognizes how much he’s developed as a professional driver.
“I definitely work harder now,” he added. “I focus more on my driving now than ever – just working on my weaknesses and improving on my strengths. Having teammates like I have to rely on and learn from is a huge help. Going back to Sebring all these years later, I feel like I’m a much better driver as a whole; and in the same breath, I’m appreciative of the position that I’m in, that I continue to get the support and trust from a team like Corvette Racing.”