Jordan, who has been racing go-karts since he was ten years old, only has a few car races and tests under his belt to date. This weekend’s shootout was only his second major auto competition, including last year’s Skip Barber Scholarship Shootout event.
“I’m really happy about getting the Skip Barber scholarship," said Jordan, a high school sophomore in Orlando, Florida. “It really helps me with my racing career and sponsorship search."
Taylor competed against nearly 50 drivers from all over North America, all vying for a piece of the more than $100,000 total in Skip Barber sponsorship awarded to those showing the most talent and aptitude. After four days of testing and assessment by a panel of hand-selected Skip Barber instructors, the winning drivers were awarded scholarships to compete in one of four Skip Barber Regional Race Series and/or the Skip Barber National. The Skip Barber National Series is considering one of the leading pro development series, noted for sending dozens of current racing stars up the motorsports ladder, including Marco Andretti, Scott Speed, A.J. Allmendinger, Ryan Hunter-Reay and others.
Taylor and his fellow competitors all drove identical Skip Barber Formula 2000 wings-and-slicks race cars, rotating between different cars throughout the four Shootout days.
“Being runner-up in this event definitely boosted my confidence level," said the younger Taylor. “I am not a self-confident driver when it comes to the beginning of a race week end. I always feel the need to prove to myself that I have the speed, no matter where I am or where I go. Driving a different car each session, and always being in the top five, definitely proved that I could drive any car and be competitive. It was cool driving with all these top karting drivers, and be at the top of the charts."
On Friday, Taylor and the other competitor’s abilities were focused on interview and communication skills following registration for the event. Saturday the judges gauged their skills in autocross and skid pad events in the Skip Barber Racing School cars, and in one track session on the historic Sebring International Raceway “Modified'' circuit. The driver evaluations continued on Sunday as Taylor completed two morning sessions and one afternoon session on the circuit, with different track configurations and in a different Dodge R/T 2000 than previously used.
Everyone competed in Monday’s morning session and after lunch just 13 finalists were selected by the judges. Everyone had a last opportunity to show his or her driving prowess and Jordan Taylor turned the fastest time of the session with a 1:16.205.
“It continues to amaze me what these two kids are doing." said 2005 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Champion and proud father Wayne Taylor. “I’m extremely proud of Jordan on this one. He needs the psychological help with his confidence. He can be the fastest guy out there, but he needs the confidence. He was up against the fastest karting guys in the country. For him this is a major step because he’s never been really confident in an open wheel car. Now it looks like I’m going to have the two of my boys racing in the same series this year. That could be interesting."
Jordan Taylor also got a little help from his big brother, Ricky, who was runner-up of this same event last year, winning a $20,000 Skip Barber Regional Race Series Scholarship. Ricky watched Jordan from some of the corners and gave him tips for being quicker.
Beau DeBard, a 19-year-old from Verdi, Nevada was the overall winner of the Skip Barber Karting Scholarship Shootout.
Jordan’s sponsors for the event included Arai Helmets, OMP, Starport USA and Now and Later Candies. Skip Barber PR