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Taylor explains calamitous pitstop that led to fateful Acura charge

Ricky Taylor has relived the disastrous pitstop that cost his Wayne Taylor Racing Acura valuable time and track position, ahead of his late-race crash while bidding for a comeback victory.

#10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

The WTR ARX-06 was the class of the field and leading the race when Filipe Albuquerque pitted to hand over to Taylor.

But after an issue with his ear plugs before the start, Albuquerque’s radio lead was protruding from his race suit as he needed to plug it in to speak to the team and unplug it to hear via the speaker system inside the cockpit.

During the pitstop with less than an hour remaining, as Albuquerque got out, the lead caught on the seatbelt, and he struggled to free himself from the car, as the cord was being tugged by the magnets that pull the belts away for the new driver to get in.

As he tore himself free, the errant lead snagged the belt adjuster and pulled it to full-tight. When Taylor got in, he first had to remove Albuquerque’s seat insert, and then found the belt was way too short, requiring his helper to reach in and loosen it before re-fixing.

During this fuss, Taylor caught neutral on the steering wheel instead of the clutch, so the car wouldn’t restart – as it had to be a correct sequence to launch. In total it lost the team over 12s.

“Normally we sit there, and we’re waiting on fuel, like a countdown of 15s, 10s, 5s and you’re ready to go,” Taylor told Motorsport.com. “And I was hearing ‘waiting on driver, waiting on driver’ which was not what you want to hear!

“Then I caught neutral as I went for the clutch paddle, so when I went to launch nothing happened. It has to be in gear with your hand on the clutch and foot on the throttle.”

#10: Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, #7: Porsche Penske Motorsports, Porsche 963, GTP: Matt Campbell, Felipe Nasr

#10: Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, #7: Porsche Penske Motorsports, Porsche 963, GTP: Matt Campbell, Felipe Nasr

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

Taylor then produced a storming drive back through the field, and caught the leaders quickly but suffered further delays when he twice hit the speed limiter in the middle of the hairpin during his chase: “After that second time, I just used my left hand to turn, to avoid it happening again.”

Having battled his way back to second, Taylor’s attack on the leading Porsche of Mathieu Jaminet ended in disaster when he plowed into the tirewall on the exit of Turn 1.

Ricky Taylor crashes into the tires at Long Beach

Ricky Taylor crashes into the tires at Long Beach

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

“The first phase of braking felt good, but the car just took off on me,” he reflected. “It was just so disappointing after all the hard work and passes to come back to the front. We had such a strong car while fighting back. It came down so close in the end, if we had more time maybe I would have been more patient, but we just wanted to win this for Acura.

“We had the fastest car all weekend, we should’ve won, even with the problems we had, and Porsche only took that [no-tire] strategy because of their lack of pace.

“It’s just a shame we couldn’t get the result that everyone at Acura and HPD deserved. It just says so much about Acura, HPD, ORECA and Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport to turn our weakest track into our strongest track.”

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