August 1, 2021

Taylor, WTR tackled Watkins Glen with eye on championship

Taylor delivered a brilliant lap of Watkins Glen’s 3.4-mile road course in qualifying to take pole ahead of fellow Acura ARX-05 runners Meyer Shank Racing, who had dominated the weekend up to that point. However, MSR’s Dane Cameron passed Taylor on the opening lap of the race and started easing away.

Just before their second round of stops, however, Taylor was close enough to Cameron to snatch the lead when the MSR driver hesitated in traffic.

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Thereafter, the #10 Acura, in which Taylor and full-time teammate Filipe Albuquerque were joined by IndyCar ace Alexander Rossi, was always in the mix, ultimately finishing third behind the winning Mazda and the MSR Acura.

The result means Taylor and Albuquerque lead in the overall IMSA Prototype standings by 31 points, and in the Michelin Endurance Cup (for IMSA’s four enduros) by 33 points.

“It’s nice when you can be a little disappointed with third,” said Ricky Taylor. “We showed great pace over the weekend. The #10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 team did a great job on strategy and execution.

“We weren’t in a position to take risks, looking at the big picture of the championship… That’s the way the cards fell today.

“My teammates did great. With Alex, once again, we’re able to plug him in and he just does a fantastic job. Filipe did an amazing job on fuel at the end and was able to hold off some cars that were full of gas. We’ll walk away with our heads held high, maintaining the points lead and move onto the next round.”

“Starting from pole we always expect to win,” Albuquerque elaborated. “In IMSA, it’s been quite competitive between everyone, and the race is always different. We struggled a little bit, and it was a game of strategy with how much fuel to put in.

“I came fourth from the last pit stop. I still managed to go third which was all we could do, I believe. The first two guys were already off, and we had to fuel save for strategy. I don’t think we could have done much better, we just have to work harder for the next weekend.”

The move that gave the victorious Mazda track position was the decision to refuel only at the final stop, held under caution. That, said Rossi, was not an option for WTR.

“We’ll have to figure out why the Mazda was able to jump us in that last pit sequence which was pretty impressive and set the tone for the race. We had OK pace. It depended on the tire life where I think we were missing a bit of ultimate pace.

“The car performed well, the team did great in the pit stops, the strategy was good, and the Acura fuel mileage there at the end was pretty phenomenal for us to be able to make it.”

Team owner Wayne Taylor took a realistic view, stating: “A podium is always good. It was the Mazda that we were racing in the championship, so they recovered good points, but we got the pole and gained some points on them.

“The #60 [MSR] car was very fast. I was hoping that they would’ve won because it would’ve helped us more in the championship.”

The IMSA DPi, LMP3, GTLM and GTD teams remain at Watkins Glen for this weekend’s 2hr40min race, the series’ replacement for the canceled round at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Mosport). 



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