Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque Return for Full Season; Will Stevens Joins for Endurance Races, with Alexander Rossi in for Rolex 24
By Jeff Olson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After missing the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) championship by a narrow margin, Wayne Taylor Racing will return next season with one major addition to its driver lineup.
Will Stevens will join Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 for the upcoming WeatherTech Championship season. A test and development driver for McLaren’s Formula One team, Stevens was Rossi’s F1 teammate in 2015.
Stevens will fill the team’s endurance role, competing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented By Advance Auto Parts, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Albuquerque and Taylor will return in their fulltime roles with WTR. Rossi, the team’s endurance specialist in 2021, will join the team at Daytona before focusing on his ride in the IndyCar Series with Andretti Autosport.
Stevens, a 30-year-old Brit who has 18 F1 races on his resume, teamed briefly with Rossi for Manor Marussia F1 Team in 2015. Stevens has also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans five times and has extensive experience in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series.
The WTR endurance role is one he’s been pursuing.
“I’ve been speaking to Wayne for quite a while now,” Stevens said. “It’s obviously a team that I’ve admired for years and always wanted to try to be a part of. To finally get the opportunity to come over here and race for Wayne in the IMSA championship was an opportunity that I needed to take with both hands.”
The team switched to Acura power before the start of the 2021 season and was an immediate success, winning the season-opening Rolex 24 with Albuquerque, Taylor, Rossi and Helio Castroneves as co-drivers. Last month, WTR lost the DPi championship on the final lap of Motul Petit Le Mans to the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R co-driven by Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr and Mike Conway.
But the No. 10 WTR Acura did win two other races in 2021 (Mid-Ohio and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca) and the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup, which consists of the four endurance events.
“It was just fantastic,” Albuquerque said of the 2021 season. “It makes sense to continue after (what was) still a successful year. Sometimes in racing, because we always want more and more and more, we still forget that we won Daytona and the endurance championship. We just missed the (season) championship by a half a second.”
Now, a year after its debut with the Acura, Wayne Taylor Racing is confident in its approach to the 2022 season, which begins Jan. 29-30 with the 60th Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“The whole team has a much better and clearer picture of what you need to do to be successful with this car,” Rossi said. “It’s going to make a world of difference going into Daytona actually knowing what we’re doing and what we’re trying to accomplish.”
The 2022 season opens Jan. 21-23 with The Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway that includes testing and a qualifying race to set the Rolex 24 starting grid. Rolex 24 practice starts Jan. 27, with the 24-hour race set to begin Saturday, Jan. 29 at 1:40 p.m. ET. Tickets are available at daytonainternationalspeedway.com.