Wayne Taylor harbors a greedy goal today at Sebring.
His Wayne Taylor Racing team won on its debut in January with Acura at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and with a chance of becoming the unrivaled king of back-to-back victories at the “36 Hours of Florida,” the South African is chasing history.
Taylor’s name is already found on two occasions in the annals those who’ve won Daytona and Sebring in the same year with the same car. Of the six who’ve claimed the 36 Hours honors, the first to do so was JLP Racing in 1982 in a Porsche 935 JLP-3 led by John Paul Sr. and Jr.; Preston Henn’s team was next in 1985 with his Porsche 962; Taylor’s first appearance on the list came in 1996 as a driver in a Riley & Scott Mk III entered by Doyle Racing.
The fourth to take both races was MOMO Doran Racing in 1998 with a Ferrari 333 SP, and then a gap of nearly 20 years passed before Extreme Speed Motorsports did the Floridian double in 2016 with the same Ligier JS P2-Honda. And that leaves the sixth and final entry on the list to WTR in 2017 with its new Cadillac DPi-V.R, giving Taylor one win as a driver and one as an owner.
With few achievements left to claim in sports car racing, the 64-year-old is enthralled by the idea of moving atop the honor roll by winning at Sebring with the No. 10 Acura ARX-05 — chassis No. 067 from ORECA — and standing firmly as the only person to capture the 36 Hours twice as an entrant and three times in total.
“I’ve got to say that records and stuff like this are really important — more so for me than other team owners — simply because I’ve relied on relationships with manufacturers and large sponsors and keeping the same people and talent, always trying to win,” Taylor told RACER. “So when we won the first race of the year in Daytona — also the first for our new partners at Acura at Daytona — I thought to myself, ‘You know, if we could do this in Sebring, it would have to be history.’ I actually thought about the whole thing. It’s clearly our goal. There’s no doubt about it.”
WTR secured a front row starting spot for Sebring, thanks to Taylor’s son Ricky who came within. 0.110s of pole in the car he’ll share with Filipe Albuquerque and Alexander Rossi. Moving to the front and taking the top spot home after 12 hours won’t be easy, as Taylor acknowledges; but after pulling off a fairytale debut win with Acura, he’s not afraid of the long odds to win Daytona and Sebring in succession.
“Having won three out of the first four for Cadillac, and then straight into a win with Acura, it just comes down to focus, preparation, communication, and really good drivers,” he said. “And you’ve got to execute properly. You just can’t lose a lap; you can’t afford to lose track position. Over the 24 hours, we spent six minutes less in the pit lane than any other DPi team, and we’ll need something similar if we’re going to win Sebring. Whatever plays out from there is out of our control, and then it happens or it doesn’t happen. But clearly, we want it to happen and for history to be made.”