Apr 13, 2019 – LONG BEACH, Calif.
- Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor challenge for victory, finish second in #7 Acura
- Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron bring #6 Acura home third
- Castroneves, Taylor close to within two points of championship lead
An intense battle among the leaders in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race saw the Acura Team Penske duo of Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves finish second at the Bubba burger Sports Car Grand Prix, with teammates Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya rounding out the victory podium in third.
The 100-minute contest, the first of two temporary-street-circuit sprint races on the 2019 IMSA calendar, was part of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. With their second-place result, Taylor and Castroneves solidified their hold on second place in the championship, just two points out of first place after three of 10 races.
Acura Team Penske
Castroneves, starting from the pole in the #7 Acura ARX-05 prototype, led the first eight laps, until inadvertently activating his pit lane speed limiter while exiting the final, hairpin turn onto the front straight. Recovering in third place, Castroneves handed over the driving duties to Taylor just before the 40-minute mark.
Taking only two tires at his final pit stop, with just over 20 minutes remaining, Taylor battled with the Action Express Cadillac of Filipe Albuquerque for the remainder of the contest. He made several bids for the lead, usually at the end of the long “Shoreline Drive” front straight, but was unable to complete a pass for position.
Slower GT traffic during the final two laps ensured the win for Albuquerque, but the second-place finish for Taylor and Castroneves places them within two points of series leaders Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani (92-90), who could only combine for a sixth-place finish.
Montoya started third in the #6 Acura and, after some initial contact while fighting for position, settled into fourth for the remainder of his run. Taking two left-side tires in his final pit stop, Cameron closed on both teammate Taylor and Albuquerque in the closing laps, but encountered the same lapped traffic as the leaders and accepted a third-place finish.
Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo and Next Event
IMSA’s GTD category is not a part of the IMSA weekend at Long Beach, but the Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evos will return to next round of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: the May 3-5 Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Social media content and video links from this weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach 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.
Ted Klaus (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race: “All in all, it was an amazing day. We had a great crowd on hand, including many Acura, Honda and HPD associates. And all the fans here were treated to a close, exciting sports car race at a premier street circuit. Our partnership with Acura Team Penske was right there, fighting for the victory for the entire race. One of the reasons winning is so sweet, is that it is so difficult to achieve. We’ll get back to Victory Circle soon, and we’re all looking forward to it.”
Ricky Taylor (driver, #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished second: “We had a great car, great team, and the strategy was perfect. It’s just really hard to pass here and the #5 car did a great job holding us off. When everybody runs a good race, it’s hard to be upset. But being the home race, and the first time Acura sponsored the event, we wanted to win. We had the pole, but wishing for one better [finishing place] in the race. But the championship gain is fantastic. We came in here trailing by nine points, and closed to within two [points of the championship lead]. Still a long way to go, but this makes everything more manageable. We’re definitely in the fight [for the title].”
Dane Cameron (driver, #6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished third: “It’s nice to finish third and get a double podium [result] for Acura Team Penske. But, we’re a little bit disappointed at the same time because of a couple of little mistakes that perhaps kept us from challenging [for the win]. We’ll definitely take a podium and look forward to [the next race at] Mid-Ohio, where we ran very strong last year. So pretty excited to get back there, at another Acura-sponsored race.”
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Bubba burger Sports Car Grand Prix
|Circuit:||Long Beach Convention Center (1.968-mile temporary street circuit) Long Beach, Calif.|
|Weather:||Sunny, warm, 70 degrees F|
Top Six Race Results:
|1.||Prototype||Filipe Albuquerque / Joao Barbosa||Action Express||Cadillac DPi VR||73 laps|
|2.||Prototype||Helio Castroneves / Ricky Taylor||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05||+0.740 seconds|
|3.||Prototype||Juan Pablo Montoya/Dane Cameron||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05||+1.133 seconds|
|4.||Prototype||Tristan Nunez / Oliver Jarvis||Mazda Team Joest||Mazda RT24-P||73 laps|
|5.||Prototype||Stephen Simpson / Misha Goikhberg||JDC Miller Motorsports||Cadillac DPi VR||73 laps|
|6.||Prototype||Felipe Nasr / Pipo Derani||Action Express||Cadillac DPi VR||73 laps|