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Barrichello Back For More In The WTR Corvette

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 17 2016
Former Formula One star Rubens Barrichello will be back in a closed-cockpit Corvette DP car this weekend in Sebring as he is re-teaming with Wayne Taylor Racing. (Photos by Brian Cleary, courtesy of Truespeed Communications)

Former Formula One star Rubens Barrichello will be back in a closed-cockpit Corvette DP car this weekend in Sebring as he is re-teaming with Wayne Taylor Racing. (Photos by Brian Cleary, courtesy of Truespeed Communications)

During the half decade he spent driving for vaunted Ferrari in Formula One, Rubens Barrichello was clearly the team’s No. 2 driver; that just went along with the gig of being a teammate to Michael Schumacher during the German driver’s championship-dominating years.

WeatherTech_Sebring logoBarrichello, however, was no mere water carrier for Schumacher and Ferrari. Dude could drive race cars. Still can. Still is.

This weekend in the Twelve Hours of Sebring, the 43-year-old Brazilian will, for the second time this season, co-drive Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 DP Corvette. As he did in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in January, Barrichello will share the seat with Max Angelelli and brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor.

“So happy to be back,” Barrichello said when it was announced he would rejoin WTR at the hot, bumpy, dusty old race track that at one time was an Air Force bomber base in Central Florida.

Right back at ya, his teammates said.

“Rubens is an awesome addition to the team and, any time we can have him with us, it is an
advantage for us,” Ricky Taylor said. “It’s been a surreal experience working with Rubens. He has been so humble and has so much knowledge that he brings to the team. He also has a great sense of humor, which goes well with the goofiness of our team, sometimes.”

Even steel-plated veteran Angelelli, aka “The Ax”, gets his gush going about co-driving with a guy who drove to 11 career victories, 68 podium finishes, 14 poles and 658 career points earned in Formula One.

“Rubens is a superstar,” Angelelli said. “I didn’t know whether to ask him for an autograph or ask

Teaming with brothers Jordan (left) and Ricky Taylor, Rubens Barrichello had a successful WeatherTech Series debut at Daytona in January. They finished second.

Teaming with brothers Jordan (left) and Ricky Taylor, Rubens Barrichello had a successful WeatherTech Series debut at Daytona in January. They finished second.

how the car was going. He is super professional and easy going, a plug-and-play driver. He is an incredible addition to the lineup.”

Barrichello, an old friend of team-owner Wayne Taylor, showed how big of an addition he was to the team at Daytona. WTR fielded the fastest DP car in the field and finished second to the uncanny-fast P2 Honda Ligier JS of Tequila Patrón ESM.

The podium came despite an illness suffered by Jordan Taylor.

WTR will be putting its Corvette on the Sebring concrete for the third straight year; it finished seventh in 2014 and second a year ago. Guess what the goal is this year.

There is hope on the team that going with a four-driver lineup – it went with just the Taylors and Angelelli in the past – will help realize the goal.

Especially when considering whom that fourth driver is.

“It’s always good to be safe going into an endurance race,” Jordan Taylor said. “Sebring is the most physically demanding race on the schedule, both on car and driver, so to have someone extra there to support us will be a big help.

“Rubens has been great. You think about Barrichello and all you think about is his Formula 1 career and how amazing this guy is. But, as soon as he came to the team, he was just a normal guy. He’s a family man first and a race car driver second, so he fits in perfectly. It’s nice to have his experience on the team. Having driven everything he’s driven in the past, it’s nice to hear his feedback and ideas to help us go faster.”

Barrichello, who says he would love to have a full-time future in sports car racing, feels more

Rubens Barrichello will make his Sebring debut this weekend.

Rubens Barrichello will make his Sebring debut this weekend.

prepared for an endurance race and a closed cockpit than he did in January up the road in Daytona.

“I am more prepared this time,” Barrichello, who also has driven races in IndyCar since getting out of F1, said. “Definitely more than at Daytona, because I was able to test the car a couple of days in Sebring. I was able to get a little more comfortable in the car. Even though the seat is not a proper seat, it allows me to drive and get in and out of the car quickly during pit stops. So, I’m much happier.”

The Sebring race may be only half as long as Daytona, but it can be twice as hard on humans and machinery. Daytona is smooth and fast. Sebring is a washboard and fast.

“The track is much more physical than Daytona,” he said. “I’ve never raced on it, obviously, but I tested on the little track in IndyCar. The bigger track has a lot more going on, there are some bumpy areas where you really have to pay attention.

“The weather looks like it’s going to be a hot weekend, so that will be a factor. Overall, I’m looking forward to racing at Sebring. I feel really positive with everything that is going on with this team. I liked what I saw at the test, so hopefully that will translate to a great race.”

Live television coverage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring begins on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET on FS1, with the entire race streamed in the U.S. on the FOX Sports GO app and internationally on IMSA.tv.

Practice for the 64th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring begins at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 17, with qualifying on Friday at 3:30 p.m. The weekend also includes the IMSAContinental Tire SportsCar Challenge, on Friday at 12:20 p.m., along with two races each for the IMSA Mazda Prototype Lites Presented by Cooper Tires and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, March 17 2016
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