~ Auto Buzz ~: Acura Teams Continue Podium Streaks at Watkins Glen

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Acura Teams Continue Podium Streaks at Watkins Glen



Jul 1, 2018 – WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.

  • Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron score third consecutive podium of 2018
  • Katherine Legge, Alvaro Parente take their Acura NSX GT3 to second in GTD class
  • Legge closes on GTD Drivers’ Championship lead with fourth podium finish in five races
  • Acura wins third round of North American Endurance Championship in both Prototype and GTD

Both Acura Team Penske and Meyer Shank Racing continued their runs of 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship podium finishes today at Watkins Glen International Raceway, as well as claiming both Prototype and GTD victories in the North American Endurance Championship “series-within-a-series” at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Despite extremely high trackside temperatures throughout the six-hour endurance contest, Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron combined to finish third overall and in the Prototype class; while Katherine Legge and Alvaro Parente reunited to finish second in GTD, moving Legge to within a single point of the GTD Drivers’ Championship lead.

Acura Team Penske Prototype

Acura Team Penske’s Cameron claimed the lead on the opening lap in his #6 ARX-05, with Ricky Taylor slotting his #7 Acura into third, as both successfully avoided an opening-lap, multi-car crash.

After opening-hour battles with the prototypes from JDC-Miller Motorsports and United Autosports, the Acura Team Penske pair established themselves at the front of the field.  As the contest reached the two-hour mark, the starting drivers handed over to co-drivers Helio Castroneves, taking the lead in the #7 Acura, and Montoya, now second in the #6 ARX-05.

Just 30 minutes later, Castroneves was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop due to an apparent transmission issue, losing several laps while repairs were completed.  Castroneves and Taylor would persevere to finish 12th.

Montoya and Cameron remained at or near the front through the remainder of the contest, gathering maximum manufacturer NAEC points at the three-hour mark.  Losing the lead briefly to Wayne Taylor Racing after the final round of pit stops, Montoya made a move to the front on a late-race restart with just 36 minutes remaining.  But as Montoya passed Jordan Taylor in the WTR prototype, Stephen Simpson made it three-wide to gain the lead, and the victory. Meanwhile, a brief hesitation from the #6 Acura – due to low fuel – slowed Montoya in the run from the final turn to the checkers, and resulted in a third-place finish.

Still, a third consecutive podium finish for Cameron and Montoya – following a second-place finish at Mid-Ohio and third in Detroit – moves the pair unofficially into a tie for third in the Drivers’ Championship after six of 10 rounds.  Acura is second in both the overall (by nine points) and NAEC (by just two points) Manufacturers’ Championships.

Acura NSX GT3 Teams

In GTD, Meyer Shank Racing’s Lawson Aschenbach and Alvaro Parente both successfully avoided the opening-lap contact, with Aschenbach taking the #93 NSX GT3 to second in the opening hour, with Parente holding down fifth in GTD in the #86.

At the two-hour mark, Acura led both overall and in GTD, with Aschenbach’s co-driver, Justin Marks, at the front.  But just 30 minutes later, a prototype cut across the nose of the #93 Acura, sending it to the pits and eventually out of the race with suspension damage.

Meanwhile Katherine Legge, taking over from Parente in the #86, moved to the front of the GTD field following an outside pass in the famed Watkins Glen “esses”.  Legge and Parente would remain in the thick of an exciting, multi-car battle for GTD honors for the rest of the day.  After a hard-fought six hours of racing, the pair finished second – the fourth podium finish [including a win in Detroit] in five races for the #86 Acura, while gathering the largest number of NAEC points at the three and six-hour marks.

As a result, unofficial totals have Legge just a single point out of the GTD Drivers’ Championship lead, with Acura seven points behind Lamborghini in the Manufacturers’ Championship.  Legge and Parente also are second in the NAEC drivers’ points chase, just two points out of first; while Acura is a single point behind Mercedes-Benz in the NAEC manufacturers’ battle.

The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen also saw the return of Acura NSX GT3s fielded by C.J. Wilson Racing and the Honda associate-operated Honda of America Racing Team.  The CJR duo of Marc Miller and Till Bechtolsheimer had a drama-free run and demonstrated improving pace to finish 11th in the 18-car GTD field.  An impressive run from starting driver Tom Dyer saw the HART Acura run as high as ninth before retiring from the race after 76 laps.

Next

After consecutive podiums for Acura at Mid-Ohio, Detroit and Watkins Glen, the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship now moves to another classic road course. Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, located outside of Toronto, will be the site of the July 8 Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix.

Video recaps from this weekend’s Acura racing activities at Watkins Glen will be posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD” YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2018 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.

Quotes

Steve Eriksen (Vice President and COO, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race: “Endurance racing is challenging enough as it is, but today’s ambient temperatures [in the mid-90s] put an additional strain on everyone associated with our Acura Motorsports programs. Congratulations to Acura Team Penske for its third-place finish, the highest among DPi entries, and to Meyer Shank Racing for its second-place result in the GTD class, and for winning this round of the North American Endurance Championship. Finally, thanks to all of the hard-working associates at HPD for their continuing efforts in support of these programs.”

Juan Pablo Montoya (driver, #6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished third: “It was good.  Everybody at Acura and Acura Team Penske did an amazing job. Our car, this ARX-05, it is so nice to drive.  It was tough today.  This is one of the tracks where the ‘P2’ cars [built to FIA LMP2 regulations] have a huge advantage on fuel and top speed.  We were fighting with the Wayne Taylor car for the lead [late in the race] and I passed him and this guy [Stephen Simpson] came from like five cars back to pass both of us.  Then coming out of the last corner, I think the [fuel collector tank] was empty.  I bogged down, it came back but it was enough to cost us second place.”

Katherine Legge (driver, #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3) Finished second in GTD and closed to within one point of GTD Drivers’ Championship lead, Acura closes to within seven points of Manufacturers’ Championship lead: “It’s a different mindset when you’re racing for a championship. The Meyer Shank Racing team executed perfectly, and the Acura NSX GT3 performed beautifully. We didn’t have the outright pace for the victory, and I think we knew that going in, but we absolutely made the most of what we had, and this is an important result for our charge to the championship.”

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 
Circuit:       Watkins Glen International Raceway (3.4-mile road course) Watkins Glen, NY
Weather:     Sunny, hot, mid-race high temperature 93 degrees F

Top-6 Prototype Results:
Ps. Class Drivers     Team Chassis Laps/Notes
1. Prototype Stephen Simpson / Chris Miller / Misha Goikhberg JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA 07 Gibson 202 laps
2. Prototype Colin Braun / Jonathan Bennett /  Romain Dumas CORE Autosport ORECA 07 Gibson +1,954 seconds
3. Prototype Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya  Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 +0.142 seconds
4. Prototype Paul Di Resta / Bruno Senna / Phil Hanson United Autosports Ligier JSP 217 Gibson +7.187 seconds
5. Prototype Renger Van Der Zande / Jordan Taylor Nicholas Lapierre Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi VR 202 laps
6. Prototype Felipe Albuquerque / Gabby Chaves / Christian Fittipaldi Action Express Cadillac DPi VR 202 laps
12. Prototype Ricky Taylor / Helio Castroneves  Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 198 laps – running
Top-6 GTD Results:
Ps. Class Drivers     Team Chassis Laps/Notes
1. GTD Markus Pattala / Dillon Machavern / Don Yount Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 186 laps
2. GTD          Alvaro Parente / Katherine Legge Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 +1.295 seconds
3. GTD Bryan Sellers / Madison Snow Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan +1.992 seconds
4. GTD Jack Hawksworth / David H. Hansson / Mario Farnbacher 3 GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 186 laps
5. GTD Jeroen Bleekemolen / Ben Keating / Luca Stolz Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 186 laps
6. GTD Joerg Bergmeister / Patrick Lindsey Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3-R 186 laps
11. GTD Till Bechtolsheimer / Marc Miller C.J. Wilson Racing Acura NSX GT3 185 laps – running
16. GTD Lawson Aschenbach / Justin Marks Meyer Shank Racing                 Acura NSX GT3 76 laps – DNF
17. GTD Tom Dyer / Ryan Eversley / Chad Gilsinger Honda of America Racing Team Acura NSX GT3 76 laps – DNF

[Source: Acura]


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