Meeting Racing Royalty
Last weekend, I made the trip to Daytona International Speedway in Florida for the legendary Rolex 24-hour race. As an avid fan of a plethora of motorsports, I have been fortunate enough to travel to several races around the world. However, what lay in store for me was far beyond my lofty expectations.
Regular readers of these pages will be aware of my desire to become a leading live commentator in motorsport. To promote my presentation ability and knowledge of motorsport, I present my own podcast, The Peter MacKay Motorsport Podcast. Full marks for imagination, I know.
Most episodes on the show are solo affairs where I discuss current affairs in motorsport, review recent races and so on. However, my favourite episodes to present, are interviews.
From a standing start, I have been so lucky to interview a national champion, a British touring car independent champion and a member of the famous Border Reivers race team. Quizzing these personalities provided excellent content for the show and left me hungry for more.
A few months ago, I watched the 2015 Rolex 24-hour in its entirety. Thorough preparation for a 20-minute interview with Rory Butcher, who finished 7th in class in this particular race. Although watching all 24 hours did take a couple of weeks, I was transfixed.
Of course, I’m an avid fan of the IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Championship in North America. However, I had yet to properly get my teeth into the traditional season opener at Daytona and was eager to discover this iconic event.
Without further delay, I checked my diary and blocked off the necessary days at the end of January to make the trip.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona is famous for attracting the world’s most popular drivers for one off appearances. NASCAR hall of famer, Jeff Gordon, won the event in 2017. Fernando Alonso won in 2019. Therefore, the event would be tailor made for me to approach some blockbuster names for my fledgling podcast.
Thanks to the helpful folks at IMSA and Daytona International Speedway, I secured vital media credentials for the event and my flights were booked. I was off to ‘The World Center of Racing’. Most of us would dismiss such a self-declared moniker. However, as I made the short trip from my hotel to the circuit and the facility came into view, I gawped in sheer amazement. Based in Florida, it’s apt that The Daytona International Speedway feels like Disneyworld, for racers.
Prior to the event I identified key figures in the IMSA paddock that I wished to interview. On my wish list were Ryan Dalziel, Katherine Legge and the Taylor family. By some miracle, all were kind enough to welcome me for a chat.
I feel it would be pertinent to mention just how lucky I was to interview Wayne, Ricky and Jordan Taylor together. Wayne Taylor has had a glittering career in sports car racing as a driver and now team owner. In 2007, Wayne set up his own team with co-driver Max Angelelli to create a platform for his sons two showcase their talents.
Ricky and Jordan have long silenced any slurs that they’ve had a magic carpet ride to the top of sports car racing. Driving together in 2017, the boys went on a rampage with five wins in a row and an IMSA championship victory. Their dream season included wins at the coveted Rolex 24 hour and 12 hours of Sebring. In 2018, Ricky was picked by ‘The Captain’, Roger Penske, to race for his Acura outfit. In 2020, Jordan got the call up to Corvette Racing.
In 2020, for the first time, the Wayne Taylor Racing #10 car would not have a Taylor behind the wheel.Therefore, I relied on three race teams, placing three key personnel, in the same place, at the same time. I needn’t have worried.
Krista at Wayne Taylor Racing, Ryan from Corvette Racing and David Hovis of Team Penske demonstrated just how efficient their organisations are. I will always be grateful for the efforts they made for a paddock rookie.
On the strike of 3pm, on Friday the 24th of January, I reported to the Wayne Taylor Racing truck to find all three Taylors ready for the interview.
Wayne Taylor is a man who commands respect and has an aura about him that is difficult to describe. Dressed in immaculate, Konica Minolta branded team gear, with matching blue sunglasses and wearing a blue strapped watch, Wayne shakes my hand as firmly as you would expect from a man running a multi-million-dollar race team.
Ever the father, he ushers his two sons to the office at the back of the trailer, dragging them away from their old WTR colleagues. As we sit down around the office table, I can’t quite believe my luck. But with adrenaline kicking in, I try to remain professional. I’m acutely aware that I don’t want to waste their time or this opportunity.
All three of The Taylors provide generous and open responses to my questions, making for an enjoyable 15-minute podcast.
For me, The Taylor family were always high on my wish list to interview. Not only because of their multitude of achievements on track but because of a common ground which I share with them. Like Ricky and Jordan, my Father has enjoyed an extraordinary career and I had the opportunity to work for him for the opening 10 years of my career. I was so lucky to get that chance and therefore I wanted to discover Ricky and Jordan’s experience with their father.
If you would like to listen to my chat with The Taylor’s, you can do so via www,petermackaymotorsport.com/podcast