- Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor score first victory for Acura ARX-05 prototype
- Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron complete 1-2 sweep for Acura Team Penske
- Alvaro Parente, Katherine Legge take their Acura NSX GT3 to second in GTD class
Acura Team Penske completed a nearly perfect weekend for the manufacturer as major sports car racing returned to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor heading a 1-2 result at Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.
In GTD, Alvaro Parente and Katherine Legge combined for a thrilling second-place result, finishing just 0.191 seconds away from a double win for Acura at the end of the two-hour, 40-minute contest.
Acura Team Penske Prototype
In a weekend-long command performance, the pair of Acura Team Penske prototypes ran 1-2 in every practice session, qualified first and second, and led the way from start to finish. Castroneves and Taylor were at the point throughout, while teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron fought off an early-race challenge from the pair of Mazda prototypes to maintain second.
In the final 30 minutes, Castroneves and Taylor pulled away from the field, finishing a comfortable 8.4 seconds ahead of their teammates to go into the record books as the first winners with the new Acura ARX-05 prototype. In addition, Taylor became the 50th different driver to win a race for Team Penske.
Running second, Montoya and Cameron pulled another 26 seconds clear of the prototype field in a dominating result for Acura, completing the 1-2 sweep in front of an enthusiastic crowd that included Honda and Acura associates from the company’s several facilities in central Ohio.
Meyer Shank Racing GTD
In GTD, the #86 Acura NSX GT3 of Katherine Legge gained one postion, to third, in the opening lap and remained in the thick of the battle for the class victory before handing over to co-driver Alvaro Parente. Pit strategy from the Meyer Shank Racing team moved Parente to second after the final round of pit stops, and in the closing laps he chased down the leader, but came up just short of a double-class win for Acura at the checkers.
The second podium finish in three races for Parente and Legge moves them to second in the GTD Drivers’ Championship standings, and Acura to second in the GTD Manufacturers’ Championship with eight races remaining.
In the #93 MSR NSX GT3, Justin Marks moved from his sixth starting position to fifth, with co-driver Lawson Aschenbach moving up to fourth with just over an hour remaining. Although balance issues cost them a position on the final lap, Aschenbach held on to finish fifth in GTD.
The Motor City of Detroit is the next stop in the 2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, for the Detroit Grand Prix Presented by Lear. The 100-minute contest, shortest on the 11-race schedule, takes place June 2 on the tight and bumpy Belle Isle Park temporary street circuit, with live television coverage on the Fox Sports 2 network.
Video recaps from this weekend’s Acura Motorsports activities at Mid-Ohio are being 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.
Steve Eriksen (Vice President and COO, Honda Performance Development) on today’s inaugural victory for the Acura ARX-05 and 1-2 finish at the Acura Sports Car Challenge of Mid-Ohio: “Mid-Ohio is our second ‘home’, with all of our nearby facilities and thousands of associates. So it is especially gratifying to take our first win in the Acura ARX-05 here. Our NSX GT3 program did not disappoint either, as the Meyer Shank Racing #86 waged an exciting battle all the way to the checkers, coupled with a strong run for the #93 car. Congratulations to all of our associates at HPD, Acura Team Penske and Meyer Shank Racing on an almost perfect weekend.”
Ricky Taylor (driver, #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) race winner, 50th driver to win a major race for Team Penske: “I’m driving with one of the best organizations in the world, and one of the best manufacturers in the world. We visited Acura’s factory for the NSX on Thursday and really got to see all that goes into these beautiful cars, and it really gives you a good sense of pride. On top of that, to win for the first time back for Mr. [Roger] Penske is outstanding and to start the month of May off for Helio [Castroneves] with a win is awesome. There was so much pressure to get the car from him in the lead. He did an awesome job, so I had to fight to make his efforts worth it.”
Katherine Legge (driver, #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3) finished second in GTD, second podium finish in three races, moves to second in the GTD Drivers’ Championship: “This feels pretty good. We’ve really made very few mistakes all year and maximized every opportunity that has come our way. The team has done a fantastic job preparing the car and in the pits, and [co-driver] Alvaro [Parente] is a top-class driver. We have a lot of ‘fight’ in us. This is the home race for both Meyer Shank Racing and for Acura, and we were all fighting hard all race long. I’m very proud of the whole team.”
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio
Circuit: Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course (2.258-mile road course) Lexington, Ohio
Weather: Mostly sunny, mild, 72 degrees F
|Top-6 Prototype Results:|
|1.||Prototype||Helio Castroneves / Ricky Taylor||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05||125 laps|
|2.||Prototype||Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05||+8.464 seconds|
|3.||Prototype||Oliver Jarvis/Tristan Nunez||Mazda Team Joest||Mazda RT24-P||125 laps|
|4.||Prototype||Joao Barbosa / Filipe Albuquerque||Action Express||Cadillac DPi VR||125 laps|
|5.||Prototype||Renger Van Der Zande/Jordan Taylor||Wayne Taylor Racing||Cadillac DPi VR||125 laps|
|4.||Prototype||Sebastian Saavedra/Gustavo Yacaman||AFS/PR1 Motorsports||Ligier Gibson||125 laps|
|Top-6 GTD Results:|
|1.||GTD||Kyle Marcelli / Dominik Baumann||3 GT Racing||Lexus RC F GT3||116 laps|
|2.||GTD||Katherine Legge / Alvaro Parente||Meyer Shank Racing||Acura NSX GT3||+0.191 seconds|
|3.||GTD||Madison Snow / Bryan Sellers||Paul Miller Racing||Lamborghini Huracan||116 laps|
|4.||GTD||Jack Hawksworth / David H. Hansson||3 GT Racing||Lexus RC F GT3||116 laps|
|5.||GTD||Justin Marks / Lawson Aschenbach||Meyer Shank Racing||Acura NSX GT3||116 laps|
|6.||GTD||Dillon Machavern / Bill Auberlen||Turner Motorsports||BMW M6 GT3||116 laps|