· Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya lead 1-2 finish for Acura
· Acura unofficially clinches 2019 IMSA Manufacturers’ Championship
· Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen take their Acura NSX GT3 Evo to sixth in GTD
MONTEREY, CA (Sept. 15, 2019) – Acura Team Penske swept today’s IMSA Monterey Grand Prix, dominating the two-hour, 40-minute contest at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya scored their third victory of the season and a 1-2 result for Acura. The result unofficially clinches the Manufacturers’ Championship for Acura, while Cameron and Montoya neared the drivers’ title.
In GTD, Katherine Legge and co-driver Christina Nielsen led the Acura NSX GT3 Evo effort, finishing sixth for Heinricher/Meyer Shank Racing; while teammates Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman closed on the GTD Drivers’ Championship following an eighth-place finish.
All championships will be formally decided in the season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, October 10-12.
Acura Team Penske ARX-05
Starting from the pole, Ricky Taylor took the #7 Acura ARX-05 prototype to an early lead, with teammate Montoya close behind. Near the end of the first hour, the pair swapped positions in traffic, with Cameron now at the wheel of the #6 Acura Team Penske entry.
Except for pit stops, the #6 Acura led the rest of the way for the third win of the season for Cameron and Montoya, and their seventh consecutive podium finish. They now hold a 12-point lead in the DPi Drivers’ Championship, and will secure the title with a finish of eighth or better at the season-ending Petit Le Mans 10-hour race in October.
With an eight-point lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship, Acura will officially claim the title at the season finale next month.
After fending off a mid-race challenge from the Cadillac prototype of Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande, Ricky Taylor and co-driver Helio Castroneves came home second to complete the 1-2 finish for Acura, moving the pair to third in the drivers’ title chase with one race remaining.
Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo
In GTD, Christina Nielsen and Katherine Legge ran as high as fifth in the competitive, production-based class, but faded in the closing laps as the handling deteriorated for both Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evos at the end of the race. Legge lad the pair home with a sixth-place finish in her #57 Acura.
Teammates Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman fought the same issues, and finished eighth in GTD in the #86 NSX GT3. Still, the result was enough to all but clinch the GTD Drivers’ Championship for the pair, as they leave WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with a 32-point lead, with a maximum of 35 points available in the sole remaining race.
Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Acura Motorsports IMSA sports car racing action at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca are available on HPD’s Facebook page (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.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship now takes three weeks off before resuming October 12 with the season-ending Petit Le Mans 10-hour endurance event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, near Gainesville, Georgia.
Dane Cameron (#6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) race winner, third IMSA victory of 2019, closes on Drivers’ Championship with co-driver Juan Pablo Montoya: “It’s really, really nice to get a big win here. This is the level of performance and execution [three wins and seven consecutive podium finishes] that is expected of a Team Penske program: to be a contender for race wins week-in and week-out. It’s what makes us excited to be a part of it. It’s also what is expected of us as a group. I really feel like we’re firing on all cylinders and the team is doing an amazing job with both pit stops and race strategy. The car’s been absolutely amazing.”
Ricky Taylor (#7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished second: “The primary goal today was to maximize the [championship] points for the #6 car [their teammates]. After today, they’re going to the Petit Le Mans season finale in great shape. It’s a perfect day for the team. We were there to support them the best way we could and bring Acura our second 1-2 finish of the season. I’m really happy for the #6 car guys and the team, and now we can focus on getting the win at Petit.”
Katherine Legge (#57 Heinricher/Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo) finished sixth in GTD”: “It was a tough race with varying degrees of tire degradation. I think we had great pace at the beginning of each stint, but after that it became a matter of preserving tires. Basically, we finished one place ahead of where we started. I think we deserved a top five, but unfortunately that’s not the way it worked out.”
Mario Farnbacher (#86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo) finished eighth in GTD, closes on GTD Drivers’ Championship with co-driver Trent Hindman: “We struggled a little bit for speed. It seemed like the Lamborghinis were on a different planet today. We did the best we could do to hit our smaller goals; we finished the race and scored points for the championship. Unfortunately, the Sprint Cup championship is over and you aren’t always going to win everything. I feel like we made the best of what we had today, and we’re in good shape going to Road Atlanta.”
Matthew Niles (Principal Engineer, Honda Performance Development): on today’s DPi race win and unofficial Manufacturers’ Championship crown: “It was near-perfect weekend for us. It doesn’t get much better than starting and finishing 1-2. The teamwork and execution from Acura Team Penske were exemplary, and we’re very close to achieving all of our championship goals for the season. But the job’s not quite done, and we need to continue to focus all of our efforts on finishing strong next month at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.”
Monterey SportsCar Championship
Circuit: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (2.238-mile road course) Monterey, Calif.
Weather: Sunny, mild, 68 degrees
Top Five, Acura Prototype Results:
Ps. Class Drivers Team Chassis Laps/Notes
1. Prototype Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 88 laps/caution free
2. Prototype Helio Castroneves / Ricky Taylor Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 +9.784 seconds
3. Prototype Pipo Derani / Felipe Nasr Action Express Cadillac DPi VR 88 laps
4. Prototype Jordan Taylor / Renger Van Der ZandeWayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi VR 88 laps
5. Prototype Joao Barbosa / Felipe Albuquerque Action Express Cadillac DPi VR 88 lap