What a British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) debut it has been for Daryl DeLeon Taylor. After joining mid-season at Croft Circuit back in July, the Filipino-British driver has now earned his place amongst some of the quickest drivers in the UK. He went on to deliver a 12th place finish at the final race of the final round of 2023 at Brands Hatch, which was his best result to date.
With hopes of ending the year with a bang (instead of a whimper), Daryl made sure not to set a foot wrong in any of the sessions that weekend. Free Practice went on smoothly where he was consistently quick in both sessions. Driving the #18 Cupra Leon of Team HARD Racing, he then improved further on his lap time during Qualifying where he ended up in P23 to start from the 12th row of the grid.
The 18-year-old made every single lap count in Race 1 and fought for a strong finish. However, as luck would have it, he suffered engine power loss issues that slowed him down the straights. This prevented Daryl from moving further up the standings and had to defend to secure 21st place across the line.
Daryl was able to make headway in Race 2 now that his engine issues have been sorted. He resumed his push towards the front and was en route to a possible point-scoring position. But with only a handful of laps to go, he was shown the red-and-orange flag after the wooden plank under his Cupra Leon came loose and required Daryl to quickly dart into the pit lane. It was unfortunate that repairs couldn’t be completed in such a short time forcing the lone Filipino driver on the BTCC grid into a DNF.
The final race of the final round of the year saw all 26 drivers go all out in a last ditch effort to score a good result. While overambitious heroics saw a number of cars end up in retirement, Daryl kept his cool. He got off to a good start and immediately caught up to the front pack, fighting door-to-door with some of the top names in the BTCC. Opting for the soft compound tires, he was able to keep up with the leaders until the chequered flag dropped one last time in 2023 with Daryl in 12th place.
Entering a total of 5 out of 10 rounds in the 2023 calendar, this was Daryl DeLeon’s best result of the year capping off a respectable debut in the BTCC in the points.
Daryl DeLeon Taylor: “Great way to end the season with 12th place at Brands Hatch. I was able to battle with some of the more established drivers and get up there in the main pack. It has been a journey filled with mixed emotions, however I’m super pleased to finish with finally showing my true pace. I would just like to thank everyone for all of their efforts, it really showed in the end.”
Daryl DeLeon Taylor is supported by Auntie Anne’s and Train Maintenance Services (TMS).
[Photos courtesy of Team HARD Racing]