Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti will run a much more formidable operation in the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after the team made a debut with two entries in Daytona test.
Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti began its expansion to a two-car team as the four-day test for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship got underway at Daytona International Speedway.
The team’s car lineup will now include a new GTD entry and a second GTP car. WTRAndretti had a successful start to the Daytona testing program with 16 cars and 50 drivers taking part in the first day.
The Indianapolis-based team which partnered with Andretti Global at the start of the year is expected to field a second Acura ARX-06 in the IMSA GTP class in 2024, consequently assuming the entry of the now-defunct Meyer Shank Racing team.
This means that, like Porsche and BMW who run their GTP programs with Penske and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing respectively, Acura will function with a single factory team in 2024.
The move to operate as a two-car team alongside Andretti is important for Wayne Taylor Racing’s growth as well as performance in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Daytona marked a major opportunity for the team to get ready for the upcoming season.
Albuquerque, who joined WTR when it transitioned to the Acura fold in 2021 believes the team’s chances of achieving better results next season will be much greater now that they have two cars that will work together.
“The team is going to be very, very strong,” he said. “We 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.”
This year, Acura experienced its first IMSA title loss since 2019. The Action Express Racing Cadillac squad, which is surprisingly a single car team that won the championship, finished slightly ahead of the WTR/Andretti and MSR teams.
According to Albuquerque, having two cars on one team will provide WTR/Andretti with additional options for strategy further increasing Acura’s chances of winning the IMSA championship again in 2024.
“Something my engineer always wanted to have was two-car teams,” he added. “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.
“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.
“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.”
Albuquerque will be back in the #10 Acura together with Ricky Taylor while Jordan Taylor and Louis Deletraz will pilot the second entry next season.
Further testing has been scheduled for the upcoming days in Daytona, giving the teams and drivers crucial track time as they get ready for the 2024 sports car season.