Top Six Finishes for Acura Team Penske at Long Beach
• Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron bring #6 Acura ARX-05 home fifth
• Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor finish sixth in #7 Acura
• Montoya records first pole for ARX-05, leads 20 laps
LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 14, 2018) – Starting from the pole, Acura Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya led the first 20 laps of Saturday’s Bubba burger Sports Car Grand Prix, and with co-driver Dane Cameron brought the #6 Acura ARX-05 home fifth for the team’s best result in three rounds of the 2018 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Acura Team Penske
Both Montoya and teammate Helio Castroneves, in the #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05, had strong early-race runs in the 70-lap contest on the Long Beach temporary street circuit. Montoya led the way, with Castroneves gaining a position in the opening laps to run third.
A yellow flag at the 30-minute mark led the Acura Team Penske effort to make its first pit stops, with Ricky Taylor taking over for Castroneves in the #7 Acura, while Montoya stayed aboard his ARX-05. When the green flag waved to resume racing, Montoya ran second, with Taylor battling Joao Barbosa for third.
Montoya handed off the driving duties to Cameron at the second round of pit stops, moving Taylor up to second in his ARX-05, but both Acuras lost track position during long green-flag runs. A late-race yellow enabled Cameron to regain some of that ground, and he moved around fading teammate Taylor with approximately 20 minutes remaining as the pair took the checkers with Cameron fifth and Taylor sixth.
Acura NSX GT3 Teams & Next Event
IMSA’s GTD category was not a part of the race weekend at Long Beach, but the Acura NSX GT3s will return to the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the next round, the May 4-6 Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Acura’s title sponsorship for this race was announced earlier this week.
Video recaps from this weekend’s Acura Motorsports activities at Long Beach, as well as Honda IndyCar highlights from this weekend’s Grand Prix of Long Beach, 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.
Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on this weekend’s race in Long Beach: “Today, our Acura ARX-05s were very strong at the outset of the weekend, as we saw Juan Pablo Montoya qualify on the pole, with a new lap record, and lead through the first round of pit stops. Unfortunately, we appeared to lose pace as the race went on, and as track conditions changed, it became more difficult for us. It was encouraging to once again bring both cars to the finish, as we did at the season-opening Rolex 24. Similar to last year with the Acura NSX GT3s, our prototype effort with Acura Team Penske continues to make progress with every race, and we’ll go on to Mid-Ohio next month and do our best to win at our other “home” race.”
Dane Cameron (driver, #6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished fifth: “First top-five finish for the Acura Team Penske program. After a couple of issues in the first two races, it was good to get a solid result and put some [championship] points on the board. When the first [caution] came out, obviously, it was a gamble to pit. We stayed out, because we were leading, and ultimately it proved to be the wrong thing to do. That cost us track position, but fortunately a few things rolled our way later in the race. We’ll take that fifth [place finish] and the pole – our first pole for the program – which is really huge in HPD and Acura’s ‘backyard’. We’ll keep improving the program, improving the cars and we’ll finish on the podium soon enough, hopefully at the Acura Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio.”
Ricky Taylor (driver, #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished sixth: “We started off the weekend well, with a pole for our teammates, which is a positive. Helio [Castroneves] did a great job in his stint on our two-stop strategy, which was a great call. We gained spots with that strategy and we had decent pace throughout most of the run. Unfortunately, when the tires ‘fell off’ [lost grip] at the end, I couldn’t hold off a couple of cars behind me. But we can look at the fact the team executed really well, and we showed pace throughout the weekend. Just a few more details here and there and we can get our first win at Mid-Ohio.”
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, 79 degrees F