Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Young Americans Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner prepare for 60th annual 12 Hours of Sebring

SEBRING — Corvette Racing is banking on two young drivers in Saturday's 12 Hours of Sebring who have known their way around Sebring International Raceway for much longer than they have been driving on it.

Both Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor are the sons of longtime sportscar figures and both live in Central Florida.

So going into this year's 60th anniversary of the 12-hour classic, both have an appreciation for its history far beyond their years.

"I've watched it for 15 years so I've learned a lot from watching it but … I think it's going to be a lot different when there are 64 cars on the track," Taylor said last week.

Taylor, 20, is a student at UCF, when his racing schedule hasn't taken him away. "I could be there for 15 years," he said.

And, perhaps a reflection of how important sponsorship is in auto racing, he's not an engineering major like many in racing but a business marketing major.

"Engineering was going to be way too hard," he says.

Racing, and in particular Sebring, comes much more naturally for Taylor. His father, Wayne, owns the SunTrust team in the Grand-Am series. As a driver, the elder Taylor won the 24 Hours of Daytona twice and the 12 Hours of Sebring once, in 1996 with Jim Pace and Eric van de Poele.Milner, 26, is the son of longtime sportscar team owner Tom Milner. It took the younger Milner a bit longer to get into racing.

"When I was 15 my dad got me (into) a go-cart school out in California and from the first session I was hooked," he said.

But his dad wasn't so sure.

"If you ask him now his first reaction was, 'Ah, there's no future in this,' " Milner says with a laugh.

But Milner earned a spot in the Formula BMW series in 2004, where he competed against current IndyCar drivers Graham Rahal and James Hinchcliffe.

Rahal's and Milner's families go back a long way. Graham's father, former Indy 500 winner and three-time CART champion Bobby, drove for Tom Milner in sportcars in the 1980s.

"Tommy and I had a lot of fun," Rahal said last week at IndyCar testing in Sebring. "Tommy drove for my dad (in sportscars with Rahal Letterman) and I was teammates with Tommy here one year and at Petit Le Mans."

Milner, a native of the Washington area, now lives in Lake Mary. Taylor is a Florida native living in Apopka. Both have built impressive credentials in their short sportscar careers.

Milner, who will drive the No. 4 Corvette C6 ZR1 with Oliver Gavin and Richard Westbrook, won the GTE Pro division last year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside Olivier Beretta and Antonio Garcia.

Taylor, sharing duties in the No. 03 Corvette with Garcia and Jan Magnussen, was second in the Grand-Am series' GT championship last year.

And both young drivers, though they have had experience with stars from all forms of racing, say they're happy where they are now.

"If I had to pick today having — maybe — the opportunity to go to IndyCar, or staying in sportscars a long time, I would stay in sportscars a long time," Milner said. "I would pick that in a heartbeat."

Young Americans Jordan Taylor and Tommy Milner prepare for 60th annual 12 Hours of Sebring 03/14/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 11:54am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 1997 USF Bulls: Keith Williams proof it's never too late to finish degree


    Keith Williams shows off the bachelor's degree he received last year in interdisciplinary studies from Hodges.
  2. 1997 USF Bulls: Charlie Jackson navigates life's speed bumps


    USF wide receiver Charlie Jackson (1) strives for extra yardage as he is brought down from behind by the Citadel's Rob Nichols (29) in the first quarter on Sept. 14, 1997. (Times 1997)
  3. 1997 USF Bulls: Scott McCready trades green and gold for black belts


    USF WR Scott McCready (16) attempts to get past Jacksonville State LB Duriel Hardrick (31) durin a Sept. 2, 2000 game. (Times 2000)
  4. 1997 USF Bulls: Cory Porter regains passion for game 10,000 miles away


    Brian Surcy (25) and Cory Porter (80) celebrate USF's first victory, against Kentucky Wesleyan. (Times 1997)
  5. Revisiting the inaugural 1997 USF Bulls football roster


    The 1997 USF football team. (University of South Florida, USF Bulls)