My Favorite Sebring Memories
By Ricky Taylor
“Sebring has always been a special place for me and the whole Taylor family. Although Daytona is the closest track to our house, we have done the 2 hour and 5-minute drive to Sebring endless times for Dad’s races, karting scholarship shootouts, club races, driver coaching and finally our own Sebring 12 hour races.
Our family’s only win in the 12 Hours of Sebring was when my Dad won the race driving with Jim Pace and Eric Van de Poele in the Riley & Scott Oldsmobile. Two years later was one of my earliest memories of Sebring when Dad was racing a Ferrari 333SP in the fall race. It was one of the few races that I can remember where Granny and Gramps came to watch and we had the whole family together up above the pits to watch Dad. It was a very wet race and the Ferraris were right at the front of the grid, but the tire company had run out of full wet tires. When the green flag flew right in front of us, he hit the paint, lost traction, and hit the inside wall. Granny was inconsolable and, although it wasn’t the biggest crash we’d seen, Jordan and I were convinced she would never let her grandchildren race. Dad was alright after the crash, but Granny was devastated and it was a traumatic experience for her to see her son crash just in front of her, as she did not often get the chance to watch him race in person.
Luckily she did allow us to race, because 8 years later I was able to win one of the top prizes in the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship shootout along with Alexander Rossi. This was really a turning point in my career and the first time that I felt that I could take some the financial burden off of my parents shoulders.
Over the next two years my brother also won a prize in the Karting Scholarship shootout and we both continued on to race in the Skip Barber Regional and National Series Championships. Sebring was actually the location of my first Skip Barber National Series win in 2007.
There are countless numbers of times we made the journey to Sebring, just Jordan and I headed over for a test, to watch some local SCCA weekends, to coach some USF2000 drivers, watching the 12 hour or just to drive a friend’s car around the track for fun on an open lapping day. All of the memories from sitting on the hill on the inside of turn 5 watching the carrousel or the tower in turn 17 to winning my first national race there to eating lunch at the Runway Café in our driver’s suits, all of the Sebring memories are special and gave us great stories to look back on that could not be squeezed into 600 words.
After watching Dad racing in Sebring, after my own Sebring experiences and hundreds of trips down I-4 and US 27, we are finally all racing in Sebring together. Jordan, my Dad, and I are all on the same team trying to win together. If we are able to win the 12 hour as a family, that will be my new favorite Sebring memory.”