The Successful DPi Team Is Building Its Future Starting in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series
Wayne Taylor Racing is a championship-winning motorsports organization that runs in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship — the pinnacle of sports car competition in North America. The team has multiple series championships, has won four of the last six Rolex 24 At Daytona races and is in the battle for the 2022 DPi championship.
But where does a team that has achieved ultimate success at the highest level go from there? How do they continue to grow?
Wayne Taylor Racing answered this challenge by starting at the foundation, fostering the talent of the future. In addition to the DPi efforts, under the Prestige Performance with Wayne Taylor Racing umbrella the team has run a stable of championship-winning cars and drivers in the IMSA-sanctioned Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series for over half a decade, forming the basis of WTR’s driver development program.
Since its inception in 2015, the Prestige Performance with WTR team has clinched seven North American Pro driver, team and Lamborghini dealer titles, fielded the first woman Super Trofeo World Finals race winner and became the overall 2017 Lamborghini champions at the World Finals in Imola, Italy.
“It became evident that in order to be competitive in the DPi, we could not purely run the program on support from sponsors and the manufacturer,” said team owner Wayne Taylor. “When the Lamborghini North America series came to fruition, we ran the numbers and it looked like a good opportunity. It’s really grown and opened other doors for us, bringing new members into our family that contribute to our success at all levels. The series is a steppingstone for both drivers and businesses to capitalize on motorsports through WTR’s channels of influence.”
Compared to many GT programs in the sport, WTR is unique in that the majority of Lamborghini Super Trofeo mechanics and personnel are full-time employees. That advantage has enabled WTR to expand into other IMSA classes, exemplified by their recent WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) effort at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, where WTR Super Trofeo drivers piloted the No. 93 Harrison Contracting Acura NSX GT3 Evo22.
Wayne Taylor Racing prides itself on communication and teamwork. Therefore, data and systems are also shared on all three levels of the racing programs. Whether a driver is a customer racing in a Lamborghini Super Trofeo or a professional racing in the top-tier DPi program, everyone has the opportunity to participate in engineering, strategy and marketing meetings in order to learn from one another as they move up the ladder to the next level
Ashton Harrison is a prime example of what the program is intended to achieve. She started with WTR in LB Cup, the Super Trofeo entry-level class, in 2019. That year, she became the first female to win a Lamborghini World Finals race before transitioning to co-driving in the ProAm class in 2020.
In 2021, Harrison contested the Am class as a solo entry and added three more class wins to her total. This year, she tops the ProAm standings with co-driver Tom Long. To further support her development, WTR introduced her to the Honda Performance Development Academy where, as a graduate, Harrison has continued to develop in other classes of racing while shadowing the WTR Acura DPi program. She was part of the driver team in the No. 93 Acura at Sebring in March.
“Ashton is one of the first drivers that we’re moving through the ranks,” said Travis Houge, WTR vice president and general manager. “She’s touched on everything within our program. And so has her sponsor, Harrison Contracting Company. They have learned the ropes in Lamborghini alongside her and evolved to support our DPi program. Now, they are winning on the track, and through a strong activation program that began last year, they are also winning in the boardrooms. Their focus is on using motorsports as a platform for client entertainment as well as B2B connections.”
“Manufacturers and the team owners are looking at younger drivers because they don’t like changing drivers every two years or three years,” added Wayne Taylor. “Both Ricky and Jordan (Taylor) help Ashton as well as Travis and everybody on the team. On her own accord, she comes to every single race and sits in on every engineering briefing, continuing to learn. I haven’t seen that happen before with many young drivers. The people in this program, they take the time to go and do things like that and it certainly helps her development.”
Harrison is grateful for the support that Wayne Taylor Racing provides in all aspects of her career, on and off the track. The program doesn’t focus on “selling” sponsorship opportunities, but rather creating mutually beneficial partnerships.
“Wayne Taylor Racing has allowed me to see other avenues,” she said. “Our goal is to be partnered with a manufacturer that really believes in a program. This team is a big family. We all want success. Wayne Taylor Racing is always giving me support. Even when I go to other teams, WTR helps me with contracts and deals. They’re helping me with communication, introducing me to the right people and helping me plug into where I should be. All the steps we’ve made together have paid off.”
Veteran drivers benefit in unique ways and find massive value in developing their own careers with WTR as well. Kyle Marcelli, Danny Formal and Tom Long are three such professionals. Not only are they able to extract new learnings from the team’s depth of engineering knowledge, but they gain exposure to new potential partners as they look to fund their future racing ventures.
“This organization, in my opinion, is one of a handful of teams that are operating at the pinnacle of the sport and set the benchmark on track and off track, from performance to organization to sponsor activations and the whole business model of motorsports,” Marcelli said. “Wayne Taylor gets that there’s an opportunity here to bring customers in the door that have an interest for the sport, develop their craft through the various categories of Lamborghini Super Trofeo and then ultimately work their way into a GT3 car and hit those highlight events — the Daytona 24, the Sebring 12 and Petit Le Mans.”