Stevens confident he can help WTR find continued IMSA success

Will Stevens believes he’s fitted in well with Wayne Taylor Racing and can help the team’s efforts in the classic endurance races in the IMSA SportsCar Championship next year.

Stevens confident he can help WTR find continued IMSA success

The former Formula 1 driver was announced yesterday as WTR’s 2022 endurance co-driver alongside full-timers Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, as the team embarks on its second season running the Acura ARX-05.

In this role he replaces his former part-time Marussia F1 team-mate Alexander Rossi, although the IndyCar ace will join the trio for the Daytona 24 Hours next month.

Wayne Taylor Racing has won four of the last five Daytona 24 Hours races and lost out on last year’s IMSA championship by only a point.

Stevens, who has spent much of the past five years racing LMP2 machinery in the European Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championship, described WTR as a team “I’ve admired for many years now”.

“To finally get to come over here and race with Wayne in the IMSA championship was an opportunity I needed to take with both hands,” he said.

“I came over to do a test at Daytona last week, which was interesting, to feel the differences from the ORECA over in Europe to the [ORECA-based] Acura – the similarities they have but also the differences.

“The test was good, we managed to get through quite a bit as a team and I felt at home in the car pretty quickly.

“I was welcomed by the team very quickly and as the other drivers have said, I’ve had relationships with all of them at some point. Alex I’ve known probably the best from our previous experiences together. Filipe I’ve raced against a lot over in Europe for the last four or five years. Ricky and I have always bumped into each other at different race tracks.

“So to be able to be part of that line-up that I know has been super-successful in the past, it’s an honour for me to join them, and I hope I can bring my experience from Europe and fit in really well. From what we saw at the test, that happened really quickly, and there’s no reason why we can’t continue the success that the team’s had.”

#10: Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 Acura DPi, DPi: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi

#10: Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 Acura DPi, DPi: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Asked by Autosport about the biggest differences between his Panis Racing-run ORECA-Gibson and the Wayne Taylor Racing Acura, Stevens said the latter's turbo engine “was one of the bigger things to get used to” and explained that the Acura has “a lot more devices you can use inside the car”.

“The TC [traction control] is much more complicated, there’s a lot more adjustability that we can do through a lap and also through a stint, to help tyre deg,” he said.

“So there’s definitely some things that I’m used to and can carry over but every car’s different. Obviously over in Europe we’re using Goodyear tyres and in IMSA it’s Michelins.

“For the first few laps it felt quite a bit different – you can feel the extra bit of downforce the car has, and the way the power is delivered is different. But the overall car is pretty similar and I felt comfortable within a few laps.

“The running we did was very productive. On the second day we had a bit of rain, which happened just before I got in the car, so that made it a little bit tricky. But it’s probably a blessing in disguise to get some running in all types of conditions.

“I feel like I’ve got enough knowledge so far to at least have the ball rolling before we get to the [pre-event] Roar [test] in a few weeks.”

Ricky Taylor, two-time IMSA champion, praised his new team-mate, saying Stevens had been on his father’s wish list “for a long time.”

“We’ve been big fans of his, watching him race in LMP2 in Europe over the past few years,” he said.

“You always want to, as a driver, see what makes them special, see how they do their job, how they go about their business. We tested with Will last week and he met every expectation. It was really interesting to see how he went about learning a new car.

“He didn’t get so many laps so he’ll be still figuring all the crazy buttons on the steering wheel at the Roar, but I’m very excited to have everyone together and I think this line up is as strong as it’s ever been in the #10 car.”

shares
comments

Related video

Will Stevens joins Wayne Taylor Racing for IMSA enduros
Previous article

Will Stevens joins Wayne Taylor Racing for IMSA enduros

Next article

DTM champion Rast reunites with G-Drive Racing for Daytona 24

DTM champion Rast reunites with G-Drive Racing for Daytona 24
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Plus

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The British pair at the heart of Lexus's IMSA push Plus

The British pair at the heart of Lexus's IMSA push

Have you heard the one about two northerners driving for a Japanese manufacturer in America’s top sportscar series? Time to sit down and talk with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat about racing across the pond… and your accent being mistaken for Australian

IMSA
Mar 16, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Plus

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why two names for the same thing could cloud sportscar racing's new golden era Plus

Why two names for the same thing could cloud sportscar racing's new golden era

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the World Endurance Championship. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Plus

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic Plus

How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic

Helio Castroneves continued his fine start to life with Meyer Shank Racing that netted the 2021 Indianapolis 500 victory by prevailing in last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours together with team-mates Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud. As Cadillac fell by the wayside, the Brazilian veteran won out in an all-Acura duel to the finish

IMSA
Feb 1, 2022