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Wayne Taylor Racing will be “stronger” with second GTP car in IMSA 2024

Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti will be a much stronger operation in the IMSA SportsCar Championship next year following the addition of a second car, believes Filipe Albuquerque.

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

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

Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Having joined forces with Andretti Global at the beginning of the year, the Indianapolis-based team will expand to a second Acura ARX-06 in IMSA’s class in 2024, effectively taking over the entry of the departing Meyer Shank Racing outfit.

It will mean Acura will operate via a single factory team next year, similar to how Porsche and BMW run their GTP programmes with Penske and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing respectively.

Albuquerque, who joined WTR upon its switch to the Acura fold in 2021, believes the team will enjoy significantly improved prospects next year now that it has two cars that will run in collaboration with each other.

“The team is going to be very, very strong,” the Portuguese driver told Autosport.

“We [Acura] have been with two cars in different teams. We were sharing data but not really putting a programme together on what 'you try this, I try this'. 

“We were kind of independent which HPD [Honda Performance Development] allowed us to be and compete with each other. [Meyer Shank Racing] were fearless competitors, they were really good. 

“I think next year will be stronger because the meetings will be together and be more united because we are under the same trailer and be more open.

“I think we can plan the weekends, what we are evolving in, where we are thinking we are going instead of just having one car. I think we will be stronger.”

#60 Meyer Shank Racing W/Curb-Agajanian, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Colin Braun, Tom Blomqvist, Helio Castroneves
#10: Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

#60 Meyer Shank Racing W/Curb-Agajanian, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Colin Braun, Tom Blomqvist, Helio Castroneves #10: Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz

Acura lost the IMSA title for the first time since 2019 this year, with WTR/Andretti and MSR teams finishing just behind the championship-winning Action Express Racing Cadillac squad - which is ironically a single car-team.

Albuquerque says having two cars in one team will give WTR/Andretti more strategy options as well, which will further boost the chances of Acura as it sets out to reclaim the IMSA title in 2024.

“Something my engineer always wanted to have was two-car teams,” the 38-year-old explained.

“Many times during the IMSA races you get to a point where what should I do, which strategy should I go for, should I short fuel now or not. 

“So with two cars in the same team one goes to one strategy, the other to the other one. So you can cover both strategies. 

“With one car each team you don't think together, you don't know what the other one is doing, so you don't cover each other and I think that's the hyper point of having two cars under the same strategy talking. 

“And that's why I think it will make Acura stronger in terms of securing a result because it is impossible to cover all the strategies. 

“And I remember very well one time we were starting pretty well and the engineer went, okay 'we have 12 possible strategies. 'I know what I would do if I would be in the back, but we cannot cover everybody because there are so many scenarios that can happen'. 

“But if you have a second car you can cover half of that which is great. For the whole group it's just a win, win. So one of them will most likely win.”

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

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

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

Albuquerque will again be joined by Ricky Taylor in the #10 Acura next year, with the team’s additional car to be driven by Louis Deletraz and Jordan Taylor.

Deletraz, who won the LMP2 title in the World Endurance Championship with WRT this year, was unsure if the rejig in Acura’s GTP line-up will help the Honda brand, but said the addition of a second car will most definitely be a boost for WTR/Andretti.

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“I cannot answer this, I really don't know,” the Swiss told Autosport. “I know the Meyer Shank team but I have never been working with them. 

“They were super competitive, they did some good results and for sure there was competition between the two teams. 

"I'm really happy we have two cars next year. Having two cars for us is great and will allow us to test different ways, to share set-up and work together. “

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