BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Wayne Taylor Racing will have an entirely new driver roster in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, with Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor set to contest the full season in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05.
Joining Albuquerque and Taylor for three three endurance races will be NTT IndyCar Series star Alexander Rossi, while three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will join the team for the Rolex 24 at Daytona Int’l Speedway in January.
Wayne Taylor Racing previously employed Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe as full-time drivers, but with a switch to Acura from Cadillac taking place next year, team owner Wayne Taylor felt it was important to utilize drivers familiar with the Acura ARX-05 platform.
“We’ve got to start from the beginning because I’m not sure we’ve been given all the correct information from the previous team,” said team owner Wayne Taylor. “It’s a bit of a new project for us, so the one thing I wanted to do was have one thing consistent and that would be to have the drivers who have currently driven that car for the last three years.”
Ricky Taylor and Castroneves were paired together at Team Penske in the Acura ARX-05 the last three seasons, with the duo capturing five victories during that time frame as well as the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class championship.
Rossi also drove for Team Penske’s Acura program during endurance events, giving him experience in the ARX-05 as well.
Ricky Taylor previously spent seven years racing for his father’s race team, earning one IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title, one Rolex 24 at Daytona victory and one 12 Hours of Sebring win.
“I’m super excited,” Ricky Taylor said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my career with Acura and kind of coming along with the car back to Wayne Taylor Racing. It’s really exciting. Hopefully we can all bring a lot to the program. I’m sure it’s going to be super successful.”
Albuquerque joins Wayne Taylor Racing after a banner year as the European Le Mans champion, LMP2 World Endurance champion and winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 class. The veteran sports car driver holds one overall and one class victory at the Rolex 24.
“Definitely one of my goals was come back again to full IMSA and when this opportunity came with Acura and a factory project backed up by Acura, it made complete sense,” said Albuquerque. “I was super thrilled about it and super motivated.”
Rossi, the winner of the 100th Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will join the team for the Rolex 24, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans.
“The past two years in the No. 7 car with Ricky and Helio in the endurance races have been the highs of highs and the lows of lows for sure,” Rossi said. “We’ve had good pace for those events, but for one reason or another we’ve not really been able to capitalize and get a watch. That’s priority No. 1 for me, to really contribute as much as I can to the banner IMSA races that we’re going to have with Daytona, Sebring and Petit.”
Castroneves, fresh off his first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi title last year, is looking forward to chasing his first Rolex 24 victory with Wayne Taylor Racing on Jan. 30-31 at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
“It just makes sense,” Castroneves said. “If you’re thinking about the timing, not much testing, and the way Wayne just described everything, it just makes sense having the guys who have been racing the last two years, and me and Ricky three (years). Especially with the biggest race of the sports car program, the Daytona 24 hour. It’s like a perfect fit.”