Team owner Wayne Taylor told Sportscar365 today that he'd forfeited the automatic 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 entry that Wayne Taylor Racing won from their TUDOR United SportsCar results last year. Preparing a class-legal LMP2 to run would spread the team too thin when they're focused on this year's TUSC season.
The team currently runs a Daytona Prototype in the United SportsCar series, which isn't legal to run in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. To accept the entry, they would have to prepare an LMP2, which is a completely different kind of car.
Wayne Taylor had this to say of the decision to Sportscar365:
It's obviously disappointing because Le Mans is such a big part of my and my family's life. But in all honesty, my focus has to be on the TUDOR Championship here, with all of the support we have from Chevrolet and Konica Minolta.
If we were running a LMP2 at the moment, this would have been a no-brainer. But to be running our car here, finding another car over there, bringing my crew over who hasn't ever worked on one of those cars and the testing needed, it just didn't make any sense to do it.
I left it until the last minute to see if there were any possibilities. But I've just got to focus on what we have here at the moment.
Taylor claimed that the budgets kept getting "bigger and bigger" to run a chassis from a supplier such as ORECA or Onroak Automotive, so they opted not to go for it this year.
It makes sense that they'd want to pass on an entry if they feel like they wouldn't have a good chance at winning against teams that have more experience with the more modern LMP2 cars. Even teams who have entered them in TUSC were struggling last weekend to make them reliably quick. Jumping into a new race car is a huge time, money and personnel commitment. Not having the resources to do it right would definitely affect the team's ability to win in United SportsCar as well.
Scuderia Corsa won the other automatic invite from IMSA's United SportsCar series, and they have decided to field an all-American GTE-Am team for their Ferrari 458 led by Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler.
This isn't to say the Taylors won't be at Le Mans. Jordan Taylor will be racing for Corvette Racing again in GTE-Pro, and Ricky Taylor is reportedly in talks with several teams for a drive as well.
Wayne Taylor Racing's third driver, Max Angelelli, isn't attached to any Le Mans team at the moment, but he hasn't made an appearance at Le Mans since running with Cadillac with 2002. It seems unlikely that he'll go this year, but only time will tell if he picks up a ride somewhere.
What's great about them doing Le Mans anyway on different teams is that you know the Wayne Taylor Racing guys are going to be supportive of each other no matter what, especially after last weekend. The team made a huge mistake in scheduling Jordan's drive times, yet they all claimed that they lost their shot at winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona as a team. No one was thrown under the bus or identified as the sole point of failure. The team as a whole owned up to the mistake, and reiterated their trust in each other.
Sportscar365 has a great recap of their heartbreaking loss by Jordan himself today that's definitely worth a read when it comes to getting to know the professional side of the Daytona Prototypes' favorite funny men.
While it's sad to hear that they won't have a Le Mans entry of their own, it's great to hear that the two Taylor boys will probably at least have a ride there anyway. And who knows? As both the team and United SportsCar grow over time, maybe the team will end up with a car that's closer to Le Mans' specs in the future, or perhaps they'll have more time and personnel to field a Le Mans entry in a few years.
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