- Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron win the Acura Sports Car Challenge
- Second consecutive Mid-Ohio victory for Acura Team Penske
- Trent Hindman, Mario Farnbacher take GTD championship lead with second-place finish
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Acura Team Penske remains undefeated at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, successfully defending its inaugural IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win from 2018 as Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya combined to win Sunday's Acura Sports Car Challenge.
In GTD, the Meyer Shank Racing pairing of Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher contended for the class win in their Acura NSX GT3 Evo throughout the two hour, 40-minute contest, and took over the Drivers' Championship points lead with a second-place finish.
Acura Team Penske
After two days of rain and unseasonably cool temperatures, the sun finally came out on race day as a 36-car field took the green flag at Mid-Ohio. While front-row starter Helio Castroneves fell victim to contact with a pair of prototypes on the opening lap, damaging the bodywork of his #7 Acura ARX-05, teammate Dane Cameron took his #6 Acura up to second.
After shadowing early race leader Oliver Jarvis for the first 10 minutes, Cameron took the lead with a clean pass into the first turn, and continued at the front of the field until handing the driving duties over to Juan Pablo Montoya during the first round of pit stops. Montoya fell back behind Jarvis during his opening stint, but regained the advantage as the race reached its midpoint. Montoya then controlled the second half of the contest, taking the checkers by a margin of 2.02 seconds.
Castroneves ran the remainder of his driving stint with a damaged nose and right side bodywork before handing off to Ricky Taylor at his first pit stop. The Acura Team Penske crew quickly fitted a fresh nose section, and Taylor persevered to a fifth-place finish.
Today's win moves Acura within four points of Cadillac in the DPi Manufacturers' Championship after four of 10 races. Castroneves and Taylor remain second in the Drivers' Championship, also four points out of first, with Montoya and Cameron unofficially ranked fourth.
Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo
In GTD, Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman took over the class championship points lead with a second-place finish today in their #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo. Starting driver Hindman led early, as did Farnbacher during the middle portion of the contest. A charging Jack Hawksworth passed Farnbacher in the final 20 minutes and, while Farnbacher continued to challenge for the class win to the finish, he fell just over a half-second short at the finish.
Teammate Christina Nielsen also had a strong start in the #57 Acura NSX, moving into fourth place in the opening laps and surviving contact from a competitor that resulted in right-side damage. Taking over the car in fifth place, co-driver Katherine Legge continued to run in the lead group, despite a brief off-course excursion in the second hour. Late in the race, the Acura stalled on course, and Legge lost a lap and fell to 12th in class while re-firing the NSX. She was able to regain two positions in the closing 30 minutes, and finished 10th in GTD.
The Motor City of Detroit is the next stop in the 2019 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, for the Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear. The 100-minute contest, one of two "sprint races" on the IMSA calendar, takes place June 1 on the tight and bumpy Belle Isle Park temporary street circuit, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports network.
Social media content and video links from this weekend's Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio are available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) channels. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, YouTube video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
Matt Niles (Principal engineer, HPD Acura DPi program) on this weekend's race win: "It's great to win again at Mid-Ohio, and for the #6 car to get its first DPi victory. Dane [Cameron] and Juan Pablo [Montoya] and the entire #6 team were nearly letter-perfect all weekend. We've closed in on the Manufacturers' Championship lead, now only four points behind, and the Drivers' Championship is tightening up as well. I think we're well positioned to challenge for both titles this year."
Ted Klaus (President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race: "In addition to our overall win, our partners at Meyer Shank Racing produced another strong result today, challenging for the GTD victory throughout the race and taking the championship lead with the second-place finish for Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman. Acura has a huge presence in central Ohio, and MSR is also based nearby. While a win would've been outstanding, we're in the thick of the GTD championship battle, in addition to DPi."
Juan Pablo Montoya (driver, #6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished first: "Dane [Cameron, starting driver] did an amazing job in qualifying and at the beginning of the race. We had a great strategy, saved a bit of fuel, and had good stop[s] and good 'in' and 'out' laps."
Trent Hindman (driver, #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo) finished second: "I think, after qualifying yesterday, if you'd said we would finish second today, we would've jumped at that deal. We ended up fighting for the win the entire race! That [result] was a testament to the Meyer Shank Racing guys and our Acura NSX. The car was absolutely phenomenal, especially In the wildly unexpected conditions we had today [sunshine and mild temperatures after three days of rain]. No one really knew what to do in terms of setup. These Meyer Shank Racing guys hit it perfectly today. The car was perfect, the strategy was perfect and we came out of it leading the championship. Hats off to my co-driver Mario [Farnbacher] for one hell of a drive today."
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio
Circuit: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (2.258-mile road course) Lexington, Ohio.
Weather: Sunny, mild, 62 degrees F
Top Six & Acura Prototype Race Results
|1.||Prototype||Juan Pablo Montoya/Dane Cameron||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05||
|2.||Prototype||Tristan Nunez / Oliver Jarvis||Mazda Team Joest||Mazda RT24-P||+2.02 seconds|
|3.||Prototype||Ryan Hunter-Reay / Jonathan Bomarito||Mazda Team Joest||Mazda RT24-P|
|4.||Prototype||Felipe Nasr / Pipo Derani||Action Express||Cadillac DPi VR|
|5.||Prototype||Helio Castroneves / Ricky Taylor||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05|
|6.||Prototype||Renger Van Der Zande/Jordan Taylor||Wayne Taylor Racing||Cadillac DPi VR|
|Top Six, Acura GTD Results|
|1.||GTD||Jack Hawksworth / Richard Heistand||AIM Vasser-Sullivan||Lexus RC F GT3||114 laps|
|2.||GTD||Mario Farnbacher / Trent Hindman||Meyer Shank Racing||Acura NSX GT3 Evo||+0.598 seconds|
|3.||GTD||Bryan Sellers / Ryan Hardwick||Paul Miller Racing||Lamborghini Huracan|
|4.||GTD||Patrick Long / Marco Seefried||Park Place Mtrspts||Porsche 911 GT3-R|
|5.||GTD||Townsend Bell / Frank Montecalvo||AIM Vasser-Sullivan||Lexus RC F GT3|
|6.||GTD||Alex Riberas / Wayne Hardeman||Moorespeed||Audi R8 LMS GT3|
|10.||GTD||Katherine Legge / Christina Nielsen||Meyer Shank Racing||Acura NSX GT3||
112 laps - running
# # #