Despite leading the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship DPi standings by 19 points, Wayne Taylor Racing has no intention of being on the defense in the season finale at Petit Le Mans on November 10-13.
“The championship, it’s tighter than ever,” Filipe Albuquerque said. “Throughout the championship, we had our nice gap, a comfortable pillow for the last round, but now it’s down to zero. We need to stay ahead of the (Action Express) No. 31, or stay just behind them.
“One thing that I like about it is we’re not going to be defending for the championship, we’re going to be attacking. Sometimes when you’re not defending, it’s when things go better.”
The prospect of the championship being decided under the cover of darkness in the final hours of the race is what makes the race so appealing, Albuquerque explained.
“For me, it’s one of the best races in the world, to be honest,” he said. “Road Atlanta itself is one track where you’re testing, and it’s a totally different track when you’re racing. That last hour, in the night, with the traffic, when you’re fighting for the championship, it’s still another thing. You start passing everywhere. It just goes wild.
“I had a penalty in the past, I think Pipo [Derani] had a penalty in the past. It just goes wild, so I think it can fall either way, and it’s great for the fans who are watching.
“We need to wait for the last 20 minutes, half an hour, of Petit Le Mans to see who’s going to be the winner because then it’s when things go hard. That’s my feeling for this race, –it’s just like the beginning, the qualifying… nothing matters. It’s the end, the last half an hour.”
However, with so few points separating the No. 10 Acura from the No. 31 Cadillac, the points handed out in qualifying could go a long way in determining the DPi champion.
“I think qualifying is the first hurdle,” said Ricky Taylor, who shares the WTR Acura with Albuquerque. “We just need to finish ahead of them in qualifying to put it a little bit more in our hands for the race. Fortunately, the Acuras, one of the biggest, strong suits is they can put a lap together very well. Hopefully, we can execute and get those, you know, three-ish points in qualifying… and then a little bit of pressure is off for the race.”
“As Felipe said, we don’t want to be defending all race, it’s kind of tough in that way. We want to be attacking and not always looking at them the whole time. It’s 10 hours, though, I think it’s going to come down to the end.”