For IMSA Champion Ricky Taylor, 2018 Offers New Learning Opportunities

While Ricky Taylor could hang his hat on past success, he continues to seek opportunities to improve.

The defending IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship title winner is facing a new challenge in this maiden season for the iconic Team Penske. The new Acura DPi has yet to grace the podium, but has been in contention in each event in the 2018 season. With every race, Taylor sees a new lesson learned for a team that has long been associated with success.

“I think the thing with such a big team like Team Penske is that there’s no limit to what they can learn,” he says. “They’re always asking more questions and exploring new areas where I feel like a lot of other teams can hit a plateau. This team just seems to find new ways to be better, as well as we’re always finding more and more speed.”

Taylor himself has been facing new experiences behind the wheel of his Acura Team Penske DPi, despite his established presence in the series. Taking the helm of a new entry is one challenge, but facing off against your previous team - a family-owned and operated one at that - is another thing altogether.

At Long Beach, Taylor would come across his former No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing car on track for the first time. At the wheel was brother and former teammate, Jordan Taylor.

“It’s weird to see that car,” Ricky admits, maintaining that the brothers’ chemistry has translated from their role as teammates to competitors. “It was really a fun experience to race with Jordan like that. We really trust each other a lot. We can race hard together and know that we’re not going to do anything stupid.”

With these experiences under their belt, the team turns their attention to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the upcoming Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio. As IMSA makes its return to Mid-Ohio after a lengthy absence, Team Penske hopes to showcase their own experience at the track through the Verizon IndyCar Series. Sharing the car with IndyCar icon Helio Castroneves and series champion Juan Pablo Montoya, Taylor feels both he and the team will benefit from the team’s history at the track.

“I’m learning from Helio as far as the driving side and what it takes,” he says of his upcoming Mid-Ohio start. “Having the experience of Helio and Juan, and the whole Team Penske side of it, they give us a lot of knowledge about what it takes to go fast here, how the track has changed over the years.”

Combining the team’s experience at the track and their ever improving program with Acura as the race’s title sponsor, the time is right for the manufacturer’s only Prototype team to make the push to victory circle.

“It definitely adds a little bit of pressure,” Taylor says. “For us, there would be no better first win than here in Mid-Ohio when [Acura] is sponsoring the race and we’ve got all the people supporting us… Of any of the races, this is one I’ve really been looking forward to.”

Undeterred by missed opportunities in his new role, Ricky Taylor has turned his attention to the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio with confidence in the team’s ability to adapt and improve from the challenges the team has faced since entering the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship. Mid-Ohio, in particular, offers the opportunity to bring Penske from a new team to a title contender.

“The only thing we can do is learn from it,” he says. “The thing about this team is that they make changes very quickly and adapt really awesome. I have no doubt that it’s just a matter of time. Hopefully it’s this coming race at Mid-Ohio, but it’s going to click soon. I think that once it clicks and everything is put into place, it’s going to be a very successful program.”