July 5, 2020— DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.
- Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry combine for third-place result in GTD
- Acura Team Penske runs fourth overall with Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya
- IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship resumes at Daytona International Speedway
Interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic after the season-opening Rolex 24 in January, the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship resumed Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, with Meyer Shank Racing leading the way for Acura Motorsports with a third-place finish in the GTD class for drivers Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry.
Acura Team Penske
In the premier Daytona Prototype International category, the Acura Team Penske duo of Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth after a late-race battle with the JDC-Miller Motorsports entry of Sebastien Bourdais and Joao Barbosa for the final step on the podium.
With a thunderstorm near Daytona International Speedway delaying the green flag by some 30 minutes, Acura Team Penske elected to start both of their ARX-05 prototypes on wet weather “rain” tires. With the rain stopping after the opening laps, both the pole qualifying Acura of Helio Castroneves and teammate Montoya pitted early for dry weather “slick” tires after a half-dozen laps.
Resuming in the middle of the DPi field, Castroneves and co-driver Ricky Taylor were forced to pit with mechanical issues just as the two-hour, 40-minute contest neared its midpoint, leading theor #6 Acura ARX-05 to retire from the race. Montoya and Cameron had an uneventful run in the caution-free race in their #7 Acura, but were unable to regain the ground lost early in the race, leading to a fourth-place result.
Acura NSX GT3 Evo Teams
In the always-competitive GTD category, the battle for class honors came down to the pair of MSR Acura NSX GT3 Evo’s, pitted against the two-car AIM Vasser-Sullivan team, with just over two-tenths of a second separating the fastest race laps for all four cars.
With a strong opening lap, Misha Goikhberg took the #57 NSX GT3 he shared with Alvaro Parente from sixth in the starting field to second, behind only the pole starting AIM Vasser-Sullivan entry of Aaron Telitz. Meanwhile, after a cautious start in the wet conditions, Matt McMurry worked the #86 Acura up to fifth by the first round of pit stops.
During the middle third of the race, co-drivers Parente in the #57 and Mario Farnbacher in the #86 enjoyed a “fierce but fair” inter-team battle for third place, with Farnbacher eventually establishing himself in the position. Parente then held station in fourth and, although both closed the gap to the GTD leaders in the final 30 minutes, they were unable to challenge for the class victory.
Acura’s three-car GTD lineup was completed at Daytona by Gradient Racing, making its 2020 IMSA GTD debut with drivers Marc Miller and Till Bechtolscheimer. IMSA rookie Bechtolsheimer started and finished the race in the #22 Acura NSX GT3 Evo, with the veteran Miller taking the controls during the middle stint. Despite a brake issue, the pair ended their encouraging debut with a solid 10th-place finish in GTD.
The resumed 2020 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next moves a couple hours to the southwest for another two-hour, 40-minute contest, the July 18 Grand Prix of Sebring, on the famed road course in central Florida.
Acura Motorsports social media content and video links from the WeatherTech 240 will be available on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD). Produced by the CoForce Digital Media, the YouTube videos can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.
Matt McMurry (#57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3) finished third in GTD: “The start was a bit messy with the mixed conditions, but it sorted itself out. The car was great, especially in the [damp but drying] conditions and cooler weather. I was able to make up a bunch of positions over the course of my stint, and handed the car off to Mario. Then he put down some great laps during his last two stints.”
Mario Farnbacher (#75 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3) finished third in GTD: “Matt [McMurry] did a really great job during the his stint. The conditions were tricky, and he had never driven the Acura in the rain before, but he did a great job. We started on slicks, which was a high risk [on a wet track], but it worked out for us in the end. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any yellow [caution] flags today, which would have helped us to catch up to the two cars ahead of us. It was great championship points for us, and hopefully we can have a few more podiums later this year.”
Juan Pablo Montoya (#6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished fourth: “Our car worked really well. We started on the ‘wet’ tires, because I felt like it was the safer option. There were a lot of puddles – at the ‘bus stop’ [chicane] and other places around the track where the walls are really close. The Multimatic [team] cars were really strong tonight, but I feel like we were a match for everyone else.”
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship WeatherTech 240 at Daytona
Circuit: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL
Weather: Cloudy, pre-race and early-race rain showers, humid, 73 degrees F
Top 5 Prototype, Acura Results:
|1.||Harry Tincknell / Jonathan Bomarito||Mazda Team Joest||Mazda RT24 P||95 laps|
|2.||Oliver Jarvis / Tristan Nunez||Mazda Team Joest||Mazda RT24 P||+10.168 seconds|
|3.||Joao Barbosa / Sebastien Bourdais||JDC Motorsports||Cadillac DPi VR||95 laps|
|4.||Juan Pablo Montoya / Dane Cameron||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05||95 laps|
|5.||Pipo Derani / Gabby Chaves||JDC Motorsports||Cadillac DPi VR||95 laps|
|8.||Helio Castroneves / Ricky Taylor||Acura Team Penske||Acura ARX-05||43 laps–mechanical|
Top 5 GTD, Acura Results:
|1.||Jack Hawksworth / Aaron Telitz||AIM Vasser-Sullivan||Lexus RCF GT3||87 laps|
|2.||Townsend Bell / Frankie Montecalvo||AIM Vasser-Sullivan||Lexus RCF GT3||86 laps|
|3.||Mario Farnbacher / Matt McMurry||Meyer Shank Racing||Acura NSX GT3 Evo||86 laps|
|4.||Alvaro Parente / Misha Goikhberg||Meyer Shank Racing||Acura NSX GT3 Evo||86 laps|
|5.||Toni Vilander / Cooper MacNeil||Scuderia Corsa||Ferrari 488 GT3||86 laps|
|10.||Marc Miller / Till Bechtolscheimer||Gradient Racing||Acura NSX GT3 Evo||85 laps|