How a dowel pin unraveled WTR's Rolex 24 strategy gamble

Michael Levitt/Lumen

How a dowel pin unraveled WTR's Rolex 24 strategy gamble


How a dowel pin unraveled WTR's Rolex 24 strategy gamble


Wayne Taylor Racing With Andretti Autosport was quick from the first test session of the Roar Before the 24 in the No. 10 Acura ARX-06, but suspecting they didn’t have the ultimate pace to take the fight to fellow Acura team Meyer Shank Racing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, they opted for an unusual strategy.

The team planned to use high downforce for the first 20 hours, sacrificing top speed for grip, then switch to more speed and less grip with a lower downforce configuration for the four-hour race to the checker. Ultimately, however, they never had the opportunity to see if the low downforce setup would put them in contention, thanks to the lowliest of mechanical issues.

“We had a plan to be in low downforce the last four hours and high downforce for the rest of the race,” explained team principal Wayne Taylor. “When we went to put (the new rear clip) in, the dowel for some reason was broken and we couldn’t get the dowel that was stuck inside…we couldn’t get that out. So when we put a new one in there was nowhere it could go. We were sitting ducks at the end.”

The rear clip of the Acura ARX-06 uses dowels to align it to holes in the rest of the body. The plan to swap the high downforce clip with the low downforce rear clip was thwarted because the pin on the second clip couldn’t be fully inserted due to the broken piece in the alignment hole, and the old clip had to be reattached.

The team had already experienced an issue with a broken oil filler tube that contributed to them going three laps down to the GTP leaders, at which point Taylor was asking Mike Shank what he could do to help them. The team recovered from that, however, getting back on the lead lap and Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz and Brendon Hartley finished second to the MSR squad, delivering Acura a one-two finish.