DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The epiphany got here with forceful and searing readability when Wayne Taylor selected including Michael Andretti as a companion in his championship-caliber sports activities automobile group.
Throughout an offseason check of the brand new hybrid prototype that may make its IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut within the Rolex 24 at Daytona, there have been 91 individuals (between his group and Honda Efficiency Growth) attending to the No. 10 Acura ARX-06.
As Taylor wandered the pit lane at Daytona Worldwide Speedway, he noticed comparable armies furiously tuning on high-tech, big-budget vehicles representing rival manufacturers (Porsche, BMW and Cadillac) and formidable groups (Ganassi, Penske, Rahal).
Taylor known as Andretti after the check and had the framework of Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport executed inside per week.
“Michael had approached me early in (2022) about getting collectively, and I did not suppose the timing was proper at that time, and we continued to speak by means of the course of the 12 months,” Taylor informed NBC Sports activities. “And as soon as we began getting the vehicles and the elements and noticed what everyone else was doing, it turned clear to me that we needed to step as much as the following degree to have a partnership with somebody who may convey lots to the desk.
“I assumed this was a fantastic partnership that might work. Michael has been so good at this factor to this point. And his two administrators of him, Rob Edwards and JF Thormann, it is as if we have been collectively for greater than a 12 months already, and we’ve entry to all of the instruments and know-how they’ve. They do not solely do IndyCar, they do Components E and lots of, many alternative issues world wide. And so being a part of it brings a number of worth to us at Wayne Taylor Racing, HPD, ORECA and everybody related.”
For Andretti, who has been open about his ambition to discipline vehicles in nearly each main racing collection on this planet, the brand new deal stuffed a spot.
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“There is no secret that was one factor lacking from our racing portfolio was racing in IMSA,” he stated. “It was the proper time to get entangled. The query is the way you get entangled. We simply have been being very affected person in search of the precise alternative. I received the decision from Wayne, (and) you’ll be able to’t get into the game any higher than a group like Wayne Taylor Racing, so it is a kind of marriages made in heaven. It has been a number of enjoyable. We’re actually enthusiastic about this program and the way forward for it and rising it.”
Introduced Dec. 28, the rebranded group formally made its debut final weekend with Michael Andretti attending Rolex 24 qualifying and returning for the race. However its precise impression might be very gradual.
Taylor’s operation will stay at its Brownsburg, Indiana, store for at the least the following two years earlier than transferring into Andretti International’s new 525,000-square-foot headquarters that’s scheduled to open in 2025.
Taylor stated Andretti will largely present tools and technical assist within the meantime with out affecting the day-to-day operations of WTR.
“The nice factor is that they’ve stated constantly they need us to hold on operating it the best way we’ve,” Taylor stated. “No matter assist we’d like, we ask for and get. They do not wish to come attempt to reinvent the wheel. In order that they’re coming down for the Roar and the race, however they will go away us to do our job.
“We will run out of our premises for ’23 and ’24, after which when their new facility is available in 2025, we’ll transfer into that store and clearly might be lots nearer then. However we’re already working along with them with machining and folks. There’s lots occurring behind the scenes.”
WTR would possibly want assist in the GTP period, however its previous success in IMSA is unquestioned. The group has gained the Rolex 24 4 occasions prior to now six years and completed second within the DPi class the previous three seasons after profitable the inaugural title in 2017. It is also gained the distinguished endurance races at Sebring Raceway and Michelin Highway Atlanta.
However No. 10 WTR driver Ricky Taylor (whom RACER reported will get an IndyCar check quickly with Andretti) may see his father’s group would profit from a broader information base and technical wherewithal.
“As we went within the new GTP period, the extent of competitors had simply gone up like loopy from Porsche Penske to BMW to Cadillac,” Ricky Taylor informed NBC Sports activities. “All people’s raised their recreation. In order Acura and HPD and WTR has all the time been one to pivot very properly and adapt to vary and pivot round new rulesets, new methods, new tires, new vehicles. And to complement what Wayne Taylor Racing does very properly, partnering with Andretti Autosport, such a well-storied and skilled group, may be very thrilling from a driver’s perspective.
“We will be surrounded by the very best. Wayne Taylor Racing brings lots by way of its sports activities automobile racing pedigree, however from a number of different angles, Andretti Autosport brings an entire new degree as properly. All of it appeared to occur in a short time, however it’s very thrilling on the identical time to have that type of safety and assets in such a giant group. The mix of the group has been actually easy to this point.”
Wayne Taylor indicated earlier than Rolex 24 qualifying Sunday that aligning with Andretti will increase the chance that he’ll discipline a second Acura in GTP subsequent 12 months.
“Clearly, Michael’s group and us will talk about all of these issues,” he stated. “Clearly, our motivation is to be a two-car program subsequent 12 months. There is no doubt about that.”
But when such a transfer occurs, it will not have been a Honda-influenced determination (as has been the case with many rivals whose agendas are being pushed by producers).
“HPD actually had nothing to do with it,” Andretti stated about partnering with Taylor. “We did the deal after which we informed HPD afterwards. We have been sports activities vehicles the final three years (asking) how do you get in, and this chance got here up. It was only a no-brainer. To return with a group that has gained so many occasions, what an effective way to get proper into it. Our plan is to allow them to do their job and simply be right here to assist.”