CORVETTE RACING AT LONG BEACH: Jordan Taylor Zoom Transcript

Mar 30 2022 Randall Shinn 2022, Long Beach, News Comments Off on CORVETTE RACING AT LONG BEACH: Jordan Taylor Zoom Transcript

CORVETTE RACING AT LONG BEACH: Jordan Taylor Zoom Transcript

Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor, who drives the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C8.R with Antonio Garcia, met with members of the media during a Zoom conference call Tuesday with other GT Daytona (GTD) PRO drivers to discuss next week’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, the team’s recent victory at Sebring and other topics. FULL TAYLOR TRANSCRIPT:

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR AND EXPECT THIS YEAR AT LONG BEACH? “It’s always a fun weekend. Our schedule is a unique one. We usually practice early in the morning on Friday and qualify at the end of the day Friday so the track always has a big evolution. Then we’re only racing Saturday afternoon. The big thing is to lean on the experience from the team to develop the setup throughout the weekend to stay on top of things. Corvette Racing has won there eight times so they know how to keep on top of the ball. It’ll be my first time racing there in a car with ABS, so that will be new in trying to understand how to maximize that in some of the bumpy brake zones and trusting it will be a big part. The GTD PRO class has been fun. GTLM was pretty small last year so it wasn’t huge fights. This year between Sebring and Daytona, it’s been fun to be back in a class full of cars. On starts and restarts, you’re in the middle of packs of guys racing and it’s really competitive. It’s nice to be back to old-school racing, and that’s what we usually get at Long Beach.”

ON THE CHALLENGES OF A STREET COURSE AND LONG BEACH. “When you get to the Fountain section and the Hairpin at the end of a lap, it’s definitely narrow and most of the time just one line. It only really becomes tricky when the prototypes are coming around and putting their noses in funny places. The other thing that is unique about that weekend is that the Drift cars are there and they always race around there Friday. That kind of narrows up the line in certain parts of the track, which makes things tricky. It’s definitely a unique event and circuit. As far as street courses go, it’s definitely one of the more enjoyable ones. It has good passing zones and is very raceable. When you go to other street courses, you can get stuck in line a lot of times. But when you mix in the traffic with the prototypes around a place like Long Beach, you can use them as picks in lot of places and it offers some really good racing. It’s definitely one of my favorite street courses that I’ve run in my career.”

HOW BENEFICIAL WILL THE ABS EXPERIENCE FROM DETROIT LAST YEAR BE FOR LONG BEACH? “The biggest difference also is that the tire is so different than what we ran in Detroit last year. The way the ABS interacts to the S9M tire compared to the confidential tire is much different in how you can attack the brakes. It was good to get a couple of miles under our belts at Detroit last year. We saw at Daytona and Sebring that we still have a lot to learn with that system. Sebring was probably good for us to get some experience on a bumpy track with that tire and ABS. I think we’ll still be figuring things out throughout the weekend at Long Beach. We made some good developments through the Sebring weekend to help the interaction but it will be an interesting weekend to stay on top of it.”

THE INTERACTION WITH GTD CARS SO FAR THIS YEAR AND HOW IT MIGHT PLAY A BIGGER ROLE AT LONG BEACH. “We’ve seen in years past that if one of the Am guys get out early by pitting at the beginning of their window before a yellow comes out and the Pro cycles to the front… especially with ABS now it’s so hard to pass that I think a GTD with an Am could win the race outright in the GTD category. Our focus is on the GTD PRO guys. If we see guys diving in early then maybe we’ll react to that. But if we see the Ams doing it, we’ll focus on our own program. If the yellow falls into their hand with an Am driver, then so be it. Thankfully the points are split in that aspect so we can focus on our own program.”

AT SEBRING, THERE WAS THE ANNOUNCMENT OF THE NEXT-GEN CAMARO BEING IN GARAGE 56 AT LE MANS NEXT YEAR. YOU’VE WORKED IN THE STOCK CAR ARENA A LITTLE BIT, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? “It looks interesting and sounds interesting. They have a lot of smart guys on it. From a European perspective, you look at NASCAR and see stock car racing and it looks pretty basic from the outside – these big metal machines racing around an oval. Being on the inside and seeing the engineering behind what they do and how much research and development they have, you know they are going to have a lot of smart guys working on it and developing it. It’s going to be an interesting project. I don’t know what the plans are to change the Next-Gen Camaro into (for Le Mans) but as soon as I saw the announcement I texted Chad Knaus (Hendrick Motorsports VP of Competition) saying, ‘If you ever need some help or input, I’ll come test it if you want’ or something like that. I think it’s exciting. It will be cool to bring a lot of NASCAR eyes to Le Mans who haven’t seen it before. It might be confusing for the to see a one-off Cup car racing against Hypercars and things like that but it will be good to get some new eyes on the sport.”

ANY OVERTURES ON THE DRIVING FRONT? “No, I reached out to Chad just to say, ‘If you need anything, let me know.’ But I haven’t been contacted by anyone. I’m sure they’ll want some big NASCAR names, which makes sense to take them over there. Racing around Daytona for the Rolex 24 against guys like Kyle Larson, those guys know what they’re doing on road courses these days. I don’t think they’ll need a lot of help… maybe some tips on what to know about Le Mans to help prep the car and understanding what curbs you want to abuse and things like that. From a car durability standpoint, that would be interesting for them to understand. As far as drivers, I’m sure they have a humongous list to go through. My commitments right now are to Corvette and Corvette Racing. I wouldn’t want to take anything away from that.”

DID YOU THINK YOU’D BE ABLE TO MAKE THE JUMP FROM DAYTONA TO WINNING AT SEBRING? “Daytona was definitely a struggle. At Sebring, we did a two-day test between Daytona and the Sebring race. We made some big gains from a setup point of view – understanding the tire and what makes it work. This car was designed around using the confidential tire so we did huge setup swings at that test and found a ton of laptime just in that, plus compliance and durability of the tire and understanding how to make the tire work over a stint and not just a lap. Just little details like that brought us closer to the window.
“The race at Sebring was pretty much perfect. No one in the car made any mistakes on track, all the pit stops were perfect and the strategy the last four hours kept us out front. I think our last stop gapped the Lamborghini by a couple of seconds even though they were coming back to us the last couple of laps. It was one of those days were everything went our way.”

IF YOU FEEL YOU’RE ON THE BACK FOOT IN THE RACE AND YOU DON’T HAVE A PODIUM CAR ON PACE, DOES THAT ALLOW YOU TO BE MORE AGGRESSIVE ON STRATEGY? “We’ve seen it in Long Beach in years past – guys taking risks early on and it paying off in the end. Historically it has worked, so the risk-reward is decent at a track like Long Beach, especially if you don’t have the fastest car. Like we said before, it’s so difficult to pass sometimes that it’s a good place to take that risk. I’m kind of new to the GT3 world; at Sebring I destroyed my tires in my first stint and felt like I was two seconds off the pace but was able to hold off the Lamborghini. I think ABS helps make that possible. Even if you are a little bit off the pace or struggling with tires, that tool kind of helps you in that situation as well. Maybe that risk is a little better in this class.”

IT’S A SMALLER FIELD BUT A TIGHTER COURSE. ARE THE DYNAMICS OF TRAFFIC AS HECTIC FOR THIS RACE AS THE FIRST TWO? “I think it will be quite a bit better without the LMP3 cars and some of the amateurs in LMP2. They were probably the biggest issue at the first two races. Restarting behind those guys at Daytona and Sebring was always interesting. If you were able to get by an amateur in an LMP3 and keep them between you and someone else, you could create a pretty big gap. Without that, I think the racing in our class will be a bit tighter now since you don’t have that kind of option to split the class up. With only six DPis coming through, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal. I think it will feel like a VIR or Lime Rock race where it’s mostly GTs. I doubt we will be lapping anyone with how close the Am field is with us as well. It’s going to feel like you’re flat-out for pretty much all 100 minutes.”

PREPARATION FOR LONG BEACH VS. NORMAL RACES: “There’s a lot of emphasis on that one pit stop that we’re going to have. I’m sure our guys will be practicing pit stops a lot more to nail that down and limiting mistakes. As far as car prep, the guys will prep the car in the same fashion but a lot more emphasis will be on the execution of the race and the pitstops and strategies. A lot of stuff will be going on behind the scenes with strategy, calculations and stuff that thankfully we don’t have to worry about.”

IF A DPi CAR IS GOING TO DIVE-BOMB YOU IN A CORNER, IS THERE A PREFERRED PLACE? “I think it depends on the guy that’s doing it. Some of them don’t leave a lot of space. Turn One has a little bit of room on the outside to get away with it. You can at least see them coming. There are a few spots where guys will stick their nose in that you’re not going to have time to react – the Three, Four, Five section. Once you get to the end of the lap where the Drift cars go, that’s a bad spot to get stuck off-line. You can be put in a bad position around the track. Understanding where you want to place the car and telling a prototype where not to go and put yourself in a bad situation is a big part of it. You try to control your fate most of the time.”