TORRANCE, Calif. — Though Ricky Taylor described joining Acura Team Penske for the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as “the opportunity of a lifetime,” he admitted this week that it was a struggle to leave his family squad just days after winning the Prototype class title.
After all, who would have an easy time telling their father (Wayne Taylor) and younger brother (Jordan Taylor) that they’ve received an opportunity to go elsewhere that they can’t pass up?
But that was the situation Ricky Taylor found himself in this week. He was crowned a champion Monday night, during IMSA’s Night of Champions celebration at Chateau Elan, and then announced Wednesday as the fourth and final full-time member of the new Penske-Acura DPi sports car effort.
It was a range of emotions that the elder Taylor brother called “strange” when he reflected on them after Wednesday’s formal reveal of the Penske driver lineup for next season.
“Obviously, (Jordan and I) have gotten to know each other really well. We’re best friends at home,” said Ricky of his younger brother. “The thought of leaving (Wayne Taylor Racing) this year was a bit strange, but I think when we do get back out on track, I’m going to make my best effort to treat him like any other driver.”
The 2018 season won’t be the first time that Ricky has had to adjust to working for someone outside his family, having already left Wayne Taylor Racing once to drive for Visit Florida Racing (then Spirit of Daytona) in 2013 before returning to the seat of the No. 10 with his brother and Max Angelelli the following year.
While that makes it easier to adjust this time around, Taylor said the goal always remains the same: to win races and win the championship.
That’s something else that he believes will make the transition to Penske a smoother one.
“I got used to it in 2013,” said Taylor of driving for a non-family team. “If this were the first time I was doing it, I don’t think I would know what to expect. There was a bit of a learning curve to it last time. But I think I’ve learned how to treat (Jordan) on track as just another driver.”
“I think once you’re racing, you’re doing the best you can, and you’re being selfish most of the time. So I think in the next year we’re going to go try to win races and try to win the championship. I wouldn’t blame him if he does anything to me, just as if it’s anybody else. I think either way, it’s just trying to treat him like any other guy out there.”
In their time driving together since reuniting at Wayne Taylor Racing in 2014, Ricky and Jordan Taylor have combined for 12 wins and 25 podium finishes in 41 races, including a Petit Le Mans title in 2014, three Long Beach Grand Prix victories (2014, ’15, ’17) and the Daytona-Sebring sweep this year.
That’s not to mention the championship they pocketed, which was Ricky’s first in major North American sports car racing across any sanction.
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