After getting their feet wet in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship last year, Acura Team Penske has pretty lofty goals for the 2019 season.
“Last year things didn’t always fall our way,” said driver Ricky Taylor. “This year it’s a totally different attitude and the team is ready to win a championship.”
Taylor believes having a year under his belt with the team will be a big benefit.
“Team Penske has a very unique team culture and getting to know that in the first year was really an eye-opener,” he said. “The second year we’re kind of in the routine. That helps me to focus on doing my job.”
Taylor said it was quite an honor to be asked to join the Penske family.
“It still feels like a dream come true,” he said. “I’d always been a huge fan of Team Penske and the drivers and to actually get to know the guys like (Juan Pablo) Montoya and (Helio) Castroneves and Dane (Cameron) and come to learn their quirks and their strengths and to come and be accepted as one of the guys has been really cool. To get to work with them on a daily basis and see why they’re so good has been a huge learning experience for me. I’m still enjoying it and I’m really learning a lot, but it’s been a great boost in confidence to join this Acura team.”
Coming from his father’s team, Wayne Taylor Racing, Ricky said he quickly saw that Team Penske doesn’t do anything halfway.
“When Team Penske goes to do something they do it full on and they brought in two of the biggest names in all of sports in Montoya and Castroneves,” he said. “Wayne Taylor Racing always did a really great job and we never really felt like we were limited by budget, or anything, but obviously when you’re with a huge organization like Team Penske — they have 545 employees — just the strength in numbers and the fact that have an IndyCar team, a NASCAR team and a sportscar team, that knowledge goes across all three platforms.”
While Jordan and Ricky Taylor have long been fan favorites in the IMSA paddock, the crowds at the Penske autograph line are typically massive.
“A lot of the times they weren’t there for me, but it’s nice to have the fans come out for Team Penske and show them some love,” he said. “I think that shows what Team Penske means for motorsports.”
Sebring is just two hours away from Taylor’s home and it’s an area he knows well, and one of his favorite places to race.
“Sebring is always difficult and the race is always intense,” he said. “I definitely love it. The 24 Hours of Daytona is the longest race on our schedule, but Sebring is twice as difficult even though its half as long.”
Taylor has been coming to Sebring long enough that he’s familiar with the traditions, unlike some of his teammates, and he said watching them experience Sebring for the first time last year was quite amusing.
“I grew up around it and got to know the cows and the monks and the Turn 10 Club, Green Park and all of that,” he said. “That’s one of the beautiful things about sportscar racing — the fans really have a connection with the sport and the drivers and teams really appreciate that.”