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January 27, 2019

Fernando Alonso

Max Angelelli

Kamui Kobayashi

Jordan Taylor

Wayne Taylor

Renger Van Der Zande

Daytona Beach, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with our press conferences with the overall winners from today's Rolex 24 at Daytona. This is the Wayne Taylor Racing team. Closest to me, Renger Van Der Zande, Kamui Kobayashi, Max and Wayne, Jordan Taylor and on my far left, Fernando Alonso. We'll go down the line and ask for your reaction to winning the race today.
RENGER VAN DER ZANDE: Super happy. Fantastic. I think I said before the weekend, I think to the team, Wayne and Max, fantastic that they put such little pieces together. It's a big puzzle, and it comes together in this victory here right now. Thanks a lot to my teammates, the whole team, and very happy to bring home a watch and a lot of victory feelings. Yeah, what more to say.
KAMUI KOBAYASHI: Yeah, I think I'm so happy to be here, and obviously I think like the 24‑hour race, it's never easy even when you have a good car or whatever because you have so many issues, problems. I think today we had really extremely difficult conditions. I think all the team guys, the drivers did a great job. I think the team did a really, really good job, and obviously the car was really good, and thank you for Max and Wayne Taylor. Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: Max, last time you won you were driving.
MAX ANGELELLI: Yeah, a long time ago. Different thing, but still is very emotional. Cannot believe we won the race. Very happy, the team, the drivers, everyone did an unbelievable job, spot on. Very difficult decisions to make on the strategy, what we're going to do, we're going to stay out, we're going to pit, we're going to change drivers, we don't change drivers, and I was so happy not to be a driver today.
I'm so amazed on what they did for us as a team and the show they put together. Thanks to our drivers.
WAYNE TAYLOR: Yes, well, I think I echo everything these guys have said. You know, a year ago when I met Fernando and we chatted, and there was a little connection, and we started talking, and I remember thinking, for 2019 we're going to have to have the best of the best drivers because one of the things in sports car racing, there's a lot of IndyCar drivers, Formula1 drivers that pop in and out of some of these endurance races, and I felt that we needed to have guys that have been in every aspect of the sport, whether it was Formula1 or whatever, but mainly people who are current with sports cars, and of course Fernando had won the 24‑hour.
And then my engineers told me that they checked out the driver lineups through last year and looked at their lap times and everything, and the person that came to the top was Kamui. I phoned him, and it was 3:00 o'clock in the morning, and I suddenly realized, what have I done. I put the phone down. He calls me back; who is this? I said, this is Wayne Taylor. Is this Mr.Kobayashi? Yes. I said, would you be interested in going to Daytona with us? Yes, very much, I would like to do that. So within a week, we had made a deal to have him, and he's been a pleasure.
I want to thank Renger, last year helping us win the last race of the season. We've won every year for 15 years, and we went into last year without winning a race. It would have been the most terrible off‑season if we hadn't won.
And of course my son Jordan, what more can I say about him? It got tense for me at one point when I thought we might get to the end of the race and I thought it might be him and his brother racing each other. But I'm very proud of all these guys.
Fernando, I don't know what to say about you because when I saw you the first time getting in this car‑‑ whenever you put a guy in a different car in a different track, normally it takes four or five lapsfor them to get ‑‑ I remember his first split on the first turn was as quick as everybody. I thought, how are we going to manage this.
But he was just terrific. He was a great ambassador for us with Konica‑Minolta, with Cadillac. He was very easy to work with, and I felt really privileged to have managed to have these kinds of people work with me tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Jordan, your thoughts on today's race?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, I think it was an interesting race with the conditions changing, very tough, but I think, like everyone else say, everyone did their job. All four drivers led in their own right and drove to the lead, different parts of the race, and it was all about survival. You saw a lot of guys taking a lot of risk early in the race, but we waited with the game plan of running our own race and not getting caught up in anyone else's battles. I think it was the right game plan. We stayed out of trouble, no car damage, no one went off the track. That's the way you win these 24‑hour races, and we kind of came into the grid thinking almost every single car can win the race, and you see guys making little mistakes here and there, and this team has now done six out of seven years finishing on the podium without issues. I think it's a huge testament to Wayne Taylor Racing.
THE MODERATOR: Fernando, your thoughts?
FERNANDO ALONSO: Well, I think more or less same comments of my teammates. Very, very proud of the job that we achieved today, but it was not a one‑day job, it was a one‑month job. For me in December we started preparing the race and receiving all the documents, how the Cadillac works and how Wayne Taylor Racing, some procedures that maybe are different compared with other teams. We tried to have a quick integration, Kamui and myself, trying to learn as much as we could from the team in the Roar, and then on the race itself, it was very, very difficult. Conditions were changing all the time. We were racing cooler temperatures than we've been testing so far, so we tried to anticipate that on the setup before the race, and as Jordan said now, we had a plan how the race should be executed, and we followed step by step until the last lap.
The conditions were changing, and we had to adapt a little bit, but it was nothing down to lack or to keep changing things in the last moment. You know, whatever conditions we found, whatever positions we were, there was a plan already beforehand to execute. So we just followed, and I'm very proud of the team.
Thank you to Wayne Taylor Racing, to the sponsors, as well, and to Cadillac, because I think we've been very, very competitive in the race.

Q. Jordan, we saw to start the race in the dry, it seemed like some of your rivals with the other manufacturers had either straight‑line advantage, something where they could run off a bit. You get into the rain and the Cadillacs in general just seemed to come right to the front. What was that about technically? Was there something about the cars that you felt really suited the wet?
JORDAN TAYLOR: Yeah, I'm not really sure what it was. We knew ‑‑ when we saw the forecast we were kind of excited for the wet, knowing after qualifying that our pace wasn't really there for the dry conditions, especially leaving the Bus Stop to Turn 1 is where we lacked pace, and that's pretty much where you can pass on this track.
We knew it was going to be a long race if that was the case, but our goal was to make it to sunrise when the rain came and stay on the lead lap until that point, and we were still as low downforce as possible in the wet, where you saw Acura change their nose to a high downforce nose. Action Express did the same thing, and we were able to pass Action in the straight.
I think we played our cards right, especially in the rain, and playing the long game rather than trying to have the fastest car in the dry.

Q. I was wondering how your conversation with the pace car driver went.
FERNANDO ALONSO: I could not find him. I went to talk to him because he nearly crashed after the Bus Stop. I was following him, and he had a massive moment of hydroplaning, and the safety car was pointing to the wall at one point, and then he recovered the car.
Immediately after he called red flag, I think he was a little bit scared in that moment, and when I jumped out of the car and I went to the safety car to see him, he was not there anymore. They called to the driver, and I said, are you okay, you nearly crashed, conditions are tricky, and I don't know what he said. He said like, it's not my call or something like that.

Q. If you were running second, do you think you might have had the same conversation?
FERNANDO ALONSO: Exactly the same. I called a lot of times when I was second over the radio that the safety car was an accessory. I think the last five, seven laps of the race were not, I think, right for anyone that we were on track, because the visibility was nearly zero. We could not be flat out on the straights. The car was moving, the TC was coming in sixth gear 100 miles per hour. There were parts of different cars in different parts of the track because people were losing the body work here and there, and I was calling the team for a safety car immediately because I could not see anything.
And then Philipp went a little bit long into Turn 1, we took the lead, and we were just lucky today because I think‑‑ I mean, lucky in that moment. We were leading the race like 90 percent of the race, so it will be unfair maybe not to win it or be able to win it or at least have a chance.
But I think conditions were also okay to stop the race seven laps before they did, and in that moment we were second.

Q. Jordan and Fernando, was the last driver change something you guys had already strategized, or was it a driver decision, team decision? How was that decision taken?
JORDAN TAYLOR: We knew it was going to be wet at the end, and Fernando was the only one that had driven in the wet, so there was more of a timing, how to get him back in with the four‑hour time period‑‑ you can only drive four hours every six hours, so I basically did it for two hours to basically give him the time out of the car so we didn't get that penalties. But really we talked all race, any of the four of us were going to finish the race, it was just up to the team and us to talk about it during the race to see who was most comfortable and most confident, and Fernando was the one who drove into the wet conditions and was comfortable and confident already, so we made that call with probably six or seven hours to go.
FERNANDO ALONSO: Yeah, the same. It was just down to the rain today. My second stint was just in the moment that it started raining, so I knew the conditions, I knew where the standing water was on the track, but I could not drive until the end. It was exiting the time, the driving time, so there was another driver that had to jump in at one point to have this two hours' rest, and Jordan had all the experience here at Daytona and knew also the track and those conditions, so the team decided to have Jordan and myself as the last ones.

Q. Fernando, you've had successes in the triple crown races in Monaco and IndyCar; how does this race compare, and now that you've won it, would you consider coming back for a third entry?
FERNANDO ALONSO: I mean, it ranks quite high. Daytona is one of those venues and speedways that you would like to win eventually one day in your career, and I've been lucky enough to win Grand Prixes in Monaco and races in Spa, Suzuka, in Malaysia, in Silverstone and my home country of Spain. So to add Daytona into that list is quite special. My endurance career is quite young, not a lot of background, only one year and a half in the sports cars, and I was lucky enough to win the 24‑hour LeMans and the 24‑hour of Daytona. I cannot be more happy and proud of the team being in the right time and the right moment.

Q. Are there any other races that are on your schedule? This isn't part of the triple crown.
FERNANDO ALONSO: Yeah, this is not part of the triple crown, but if I win Indianapolis, this will quadruple crown.
No, I think right now, full focus is on the Indy 500. But yeah, I'm thinking I'm trying to do something more maybe in different disciplines that are not only circuits. But I need to think, I need to plan, I need to make sure that I'm competitive, to have the right people, the right teams, and the right preparations. Whatever adventure is next, I will not do it if I'm not competitive or I don't have a shot for winning. I need to be very calm and clever with the decisions for the future, and as I said in a press conference a couple of days ago, the aim is to do something unprecedented in motorsport.

Q. Fernando, obviously a lot of fans would have loved to have seen you battling it out with Montoya or whatever and the rain unfortunately made that impossible. Does it matter to you how you win this race? Would you prefer to have it be this big signature moment with this race and have it be remembered that way, or does the fact that you guys had a lot of pace and the way you executed kind of just make up for that?
FERNANDO ALONSO: No, I think it was perfect like that. I love it, you know. It was good the first stints in the dry conditions we were ninth eventually at one point, and then we recovered places, we fought with Helio and a couple of other guys, and we took the lead. We opened the gap, I think, two times 30 seconds, and then was neutralized by the safety car, and then at night with the rain, the first time in wet conditions, we were pulling away more than 30 or 40 seconds.
Every time that I jump in the car I felt good, I felt competitive, and in the last moment to cross the line, or not crossing the line, I think the car No.10 was dominating the whole 24 hours, so happy to win in whatever way.

Q. Fernando, you're well‑known for keeping the cars you've won in in Oviedo. So what's the deal on this one?
WAYNE TAYLOR: It's a really good question, actually. I've thought about that, as well, but he hasn't approached me yet.
FERNANDO ALONSO: I didn't approach Wayne, but I thought if we are able to win it, that will become easier in the heat of the moment. After the press conference we'll start the negotiations.

Q. Renger, biggest win of your career; tell us about that. A lot of the folks you drove with have achieved some rather big things in their careers. You obviously won an IMSA PC title, but you got home with a silver watch for this one.
RENGER VAN DER ZANDE: Yeah, it's a milestone I would call it, so for sure, I've tried hard for several races, some big ones like 24‑hourSpa ‑‑ I really like the fact that it's an overall win. Racing for overall victories is something that makes it even more special, and then racing with such an iconic team and teammates, it makes it even more special, so I think the news in Holland went already "boom," so on that‑‑ thanks to Rene, of course. But I'm very proud. It's been a long way. In 2011 I did DTM, in 2012 I was sidelined, basically I had no drives, and I started a business to make money basically, and then because of that, I started to race again, and look where I am now today coming from a deep hole to winning the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, so yeah, very proud of that.

Q. I have some clarifications if I can from Fernando. Earlier Wayne said on TV that he thought you were in fear of the conditions. Would that be accurate?

Q. Also, you said the aim is to do something unprecedented in motorsport. What's on your‑‑ if you could do anything you wanted, what would you do? What is unprecedented? Pick something.
FERNANDO ALONSO: Well, I think to win in different series, in different disciplines of motorsport which are quite specific, and you need to probably be born with that talent and grow up with that knowledge of that series, like oval racing, like IndyCar and things like that, to come there and try to be competitive or winning is something that I think in motorsport is quite difficult. I think in the past it was a little bit more open, motorsport in general, but now every series became very, very professional, and you need to take full dedication to each series, each driving style and things like that.
I think hopefully soon I can tell you more of the plans.

Q. Do you already know?
FERNANDO ALONSO: I do already have an idea.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you, congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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