DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Wayne Taylor Racing’s Corvette ended the Rolex 24 at Daytona in better shape than three of its drivers.
Max Angelelli parked the No. 10 car on the Daytona International Speedway road course during the cool-down lap, was helped out and transported to a local hospital for evaluation. IMSA officials said he was “conscious and stable,” but offered no further details about his condition.
Angelelli was behind the wheel for the final hours of the endurance race because brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor were feeling ill. Jordan spent the last two weeks dealing with an undisclosed illness, and Ricky woke up with stomach issues Sunday morning.
The only healthy teammate was former Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello, who was added to the team just days before the twice-around-the-clock season opener.
Despite the health issues, the team notched its fourth consecutive podium finish at Daytona.
Maybe even more impressive, Wayne Taylor Racing ran a trouble-free race for the fourth straight year. But the drivers were hoping for more than another oh-so-close finish.
“I think you can imagine how frustrating it is, but it’s part of the sport,” Jordan Taylor said. “This year I think it’s especially tough because we did have a flawless race and the car that won had two penalties and went off and had all sorts of issues. We feel like we did the best we could, same as the past four years.
“Four years without a mechanical issue, without losing a lap, without going behind the wall, is quite an accomplishment for the team.”
Wayne Taylor Racing also finished second in 2013 and 2014. The team crossed the finish line third last year, but was later penalized and stripped of its third-place spot.
IMSA ruled that Jordan Taylor violated the drive-time rule late in the race, finding he was behind the wheel more than four hours during a six-hour period. The team was dropped from third to last in the 16-car class.
The team bounced back this weekend, but didn’t have enough speed to keep up with the No. 2 Extreme Speed Motorsports entry. The ESM Honda was the fastest car in the field, turning such quick laps that it was able to overcome a slew of miscues and claim the coveted Rolex watches.
“I think the most important thing for us is the team,” Ricky Taylor said. “I think that a winning performance once again. We never went back to the garage. The guys had awesome pit stops, the strategy. I think we spent four minutes less in the pits than the other cars. … We weren’t really racing (ESM), but for us we’re very disappointed to have another great run without a watch.”
The biggest problem the team faced on the track was getting Barrichello comfortable in the car. Barrichello, who’s considerably shorter than his teammates, struggled to find a rhythm.
“I drove for an hour and a half, and it looked like I was driving a Formula One for like 24 hours,” he said. “So I was pretty tired.”
The crew decided to use team owner Wayne Taylor’s old seat, which Barrichello said allowed him to be a “little bit more competitive.”
“I’m sorry that I didn’t get to drive much before because I really wanted to help it further, but I think the team did a fantastic job,” Barrichello said. “We had the fastest (Daytona Prototype) on the track and it was nice just to be able to be with all of them. I hope to be back. I love the series and I did enjoy my time with the team.”