- Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron score second consecutive win of 2019
- Teammates Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor finish third on Belle Isle street circuit
- Incidents, contact blunt Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo efforts
Acura Team Penske drivers Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya continued to build momentum in the 2019 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, taking their second consecutive victory of the season Saturday on the Belle Isle street circuit, with teammates Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor finishing third in their Acura ARX-05 prototype.
Acura Team Penske Prototype
Starting from the pole, Montoya maintained his advantage throughout the opening stint of the short one hour, 40-minute contest, before handing off to co-driver Cameron at the first pit stop. The pair combined to lead all but seven laps of the 58-lap distance, despite a race interrupted by five full-course caution flags and multiple on-track incidents.
Today’s victory for Montoya and Cameron follows their win earlier this month at the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, and moves the pair to within five points of the drivers’ championship lead after five of ten races. The second win for the ARX-05 prototype also moves Acura to within a single point of the Manufacturers’ Championship lead.
In the #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05, starting driver Castroneves was shuffled back to fourth on the opening lap, but co-driver Taylor regained second place with 30 minutes remaining, then battled the Action Express Cadillac of Felipe Nasr over the closing laps, finishing third. Taylor and Castroneves also remain in the thick of the championship battle and currently stand third, a single point behind their teammates.
Meyer Shank Racing GTD
In GTD, the Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo’s started second and third, but the team’s attempt at winning a third consecutive Belle Isle race ended following contact for both cars.
Starting second, Christina Nielsen had an uneventful run during her opening stint, handing the #57 Acura off to co-driver Katherine Legge at the team’s single pit stop. Legge made a bid for the lead with just over 30 minutes remaining, but was shuffled back to fourth after side-to-side contact with the Porsche of Patrick Long. With less than 10 minutes remaining, a hit from behind sent the #57 into a quick spin and unrepresentative ninth-place finish.
In the second MSR Acura, starting driver Trent Hindman ran third throughout his run in the #86 NSX GT3, then handed off to co-driver Mario Farnbacher. However, an issue changing the left rear wheel delayed their return to the track, and Farnbacher made heavy contact with the Turn 13 wall to end his race.
From one of the shortest races on the schedule in Detroit, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship moves on to one of the longest: the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, June 30 at Watkins Glen International Raceway in upstate New York.
Video recaps from this weekend’s Acura racing activities in Detroit, as well as action from the companion Honda teams during the NTT IndyCar Series doubleheader race weekend, are available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter at (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD). Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
Matt Niles (Prototype Principal Engineer, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race and race win for Acura Team Penske: "It’s extra sweet to win in Detroit, and become the first non-GM car to finish first overall here at Belle Isle Park since 2012. Coming on the heels of our win at Mid-Ohio, it seems like both the team and drivers have gained in confidence. Acura Team Penske executed nearly perfectly, and so did Dane [Cameron] and Juan [Pablo Montoya]. This really helps us build momentum as we head to the six-hour race at Watkins Glen, which is always a challenge for everyone."
Dane Cameron (driver, #6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) Race winner, second consecutive 2019 win with co-driver Juan Pablo Montoya: "This is year two for the [Acura prototype] program, and we learned so much from the first season. We showed well, often, last year, but made some mistakes. Now we’ve cleaned up all the details, so hats off to everyone at Acura, at HPD and Team Penske for giving us the tools we need to win. We’re very happy to deliver a win here for Acura in Detroit. Our car was really good this weekend. I was really good through [Turns] nine and ten, which gave us a little breathing room coming out of [Turn] 11 to protect myself. So, it was just a matter of capitalizing where we were strong and making sure I did my best where [second-place runner Felipe Nasr] was a little bit weak, and never give him an opportunity [to attempt a pass]."
Ricky Taylor (driver, #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) Finished third with co-driver Helio Castroneves: "Another great day for Acura, and for Acura Team Penske. I was happy to see the ‘Six’ guys [Cameron and Montoya] get another win. The team did an awesome job; great strategy all day. I’m a little disappointed we couldn’t seal it with a 1-2, but third is good for the championship."
Christina Nielsen (driver, #57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3) Finished ninth in GTD after late-race contact for co-driver Katherine Legge: "I got a good start and we were very competitive. We were able to keep up with the leader [Zachary Robichon] and maintain a good gap ahead of the rest. The car was so nice to drive; that was a car that deserved a podium [top-three finish]. The team deserved it. Our pit stop was great, our driver change was great. Unfortunately, the end result doesn’t reflect the performance we had this weekend."
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Circuit: Belle Isle Park (2.35-mile temporary street circuit) Detroit, Mich.
Weather: Overcast, humid, 76 degrees F
Top-6 Prototype Results:
|1.||Prototype||Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05||58 laps|
|2.||Prototype||Pipo Derani / Felipe Nasr||Action Express||Cadillac DPi VR||+0.820 seconds|
|3.||Prototype||Helio Castroneves / Ricky Taylor||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05|
|4.||Prototype||Simon Trummer / Stephen Simpson||JDC Miller Motorsports||Cadillac DPi VR|
|5.||Prototype||Misha Goikberg / Tristan Vautier||JDC Miller Motorsports||Cadillac DPi VR|
|6.||Prototype||Joao Barbosa / Filipe Alburquerque||Action Express||Cadillac DPi VR|
Acura GTD Results:
|9.||GTD||Katherine Legge / Christina Nielsen||Meyer Shank Racing||Acura NSX GT3||56 laps|
|11.||GTD||Mario Farnbacher / Trent Hindman||Meyer Shank Racing||Acura NSX GT3||DNF-contact|
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