Acura Teams Battle for Top-Five Finishes at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

7/9/2018 12:36:00 AM

  • Acura Team Penske's Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves finish fifth in fuel strategy run
  • Meyer Shank Racing battles to finish fifth and sixth in GTD class
  • MSR's Katherine Legge, Acura remain second in close GTD championship battle

BOWMANVILLE, ON, Canada – A hard-fought race saw both Acura Team Penske and Meyer Shank Racing net fifth-place finishes in their respective classes today during the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

Using an alternative pit strategy, Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves brought their Acura ARX-05 home fifth overall and in the prototype division, while Katherine Legge remains in the thick of the GTD championship fight after she and Alvaro Parente finished fifth in class in their Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3.

Acura Team Penske Prototype
An early caution flag just 20 minutes into Sunday's two-hour, 40-minute contest saw Acura Team Penske elect to split its pit strategies, bringing Castroneves in for an early stop and driver change to Taylor in the #7 ARX-05, while leaving starting driver Dane Cameron on track in the #6 Acura.

As a result, Taylor went into a fuel-conservation mode for the remainder of the race in an attempt to move up the order as the rest of the field made its scheduled pit stops.  But the high number of cautions in the race – seven – blunted that strategy and resulted in a fifth-place finish for Taylor and Castroneves.

Issues in the pit lane also ended the challenge of the #6 ARX-05 of Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya.  After leading the race early, Cameron cut a tire due to on-track debris during a full-course caution at the one-hour, 24-minute mark.  He pitted for a replacement, but ran a red light at Pit Exit, resulting in a stop-plus-60-second-hold penalty, taking the #6 Acura out of contention for the victory.  Later, an issue with the left-front wheel while Montoya was driving dropped the #6 to 10th-place in the Prototype class at the checkers.

Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3
Unable to match the front-running pace in GTD due to a combination of recent Balance of Performance adjustments and handling issues, the Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3s persevered to score fifth and sixth-place finishes in the production-based class after a hard-fought race.

Starting sixth in the #86 NSX GT-3, Parente extended his fuel mileage during his opening stint to gain several positions, before handing off to Legge at their second scheduled pit stop.  Fighting deteriorating handling in the final 30 minutes, Legge held on for a fifth-place finish in GTD to keep her within three points of the lead in the GTD Drivers' Championship.  Dealing with issues similar to their teammates throughout the weekend, Lawson Aschenbach and Justin Marks combined to bring their #93 Acura home sixth in GTD.

After consecutive races for all three WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and Watkins Glen, the series next runs one of two GT class-only races, the July 21 Northeast Grand Prix at the tight, fast, Lime Rock Park road course in Lakeville, Connecticut.

Video recaps from this weekend's Acura Motorsports racing activities at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park – as well as James Hinchcliffe's Honda IndyCar Series win at Iowa Speedway –  will be posted on the "Honda Racing/HPD" YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2017 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at:

Ricky Taylor (driver, #7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished 5th: "I don't think I have ever fought so hard for an entire race. It was a long day out there, but the No. 7 Acura was really fast. We had an aggressive [pit] strategy, but things just didn't fall our way to make it happen. It's certainly not easy to pass here at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, in addition to having to save fuel as much as we did. Sometimes we just got stuck, and couldn't go anywhere in traffic. But we kept at it and never gave up. This is a strong team and we will be ready when we get to Road America."

Katherine Legge (driver, #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3) finished fifth in GTD, remains second in GTD Drivers' Championship points standings, three points out of first place: "It was a tough race for us, and I really tried everything I could to get Acura another podium finish.  I tried to hold [eventual third-place finisher] Andy [Lally] off, but just came up short. I wish we could have driven to another podium this weekend, but we will take a top five result.  It keeps us in the fight for the championship, and that's the ultimate goal for MSR, myself and Acura."

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Circuit:       Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (2.459-mile road course) Bowmanville, ON, Canada
Weather:     Sunny, warm, 78 degrees F

Top-6 Prototype Results:
  Ps.       Class                  Drivers                                                         Team                                Chassis                              Laps/Notes              
  1.         Prototype            Colin Braun / Jonathan Bennett                 CORE Autosport              ORECA 07 Gibson        116 laps
  2.         Prototype            Renger VanDer Zande / Jordan Taylor      Wayne Taylor Racing     Cadillac DPi VR                +3.431 seconds
  3.         Prototype            Fellipe Nasr / Eric Curran                          Action Express                 Cadillac DPi VR               
  4.         Prototype            Felipe Albuquerque/Christian Fittipaldi      Action Express                 Cadillac DPi VR               
  5.         Prototype          Ricky Taylor / Helio Castroneves           Acura Team Penske      Acura ARX-05                 
  6.         Prototype            Oliver Jarvis / Tristan Nunez                     Mazda Team Joest          Mazda RT24P                   
10.         Prototype          Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya    Acura Team Penske      Acura ARX-05                  111 laps - running

Top-6 GTD Results:
  Ps.       Class                  Drivers                                                         Team                                Chassis                              Laps/Notes              
  1.         GTD                    Jeroen Bleekemolen / Ben Keating             Riley Motorsports            Mercedes-AMG GT3        107 laps
  2.         GTD                    Kyle Marcelli / Dominik Baumann             3 GT Racing                     Lexus RC F GT3               +2.919 seconds
  3.         GTD                    Andy Lally / John Potter                             Magnus Racing                Audi R8 LMS                 
  4.         GTD                    Bryan Sellers / Madison Snow                   Paul Miller Racing           Lamborghini Huracan       
  5.         GTD                    Alvaro Parente / Katherine Legge          Meyer Shank Racing     Acura NSX GT3               
  6.         GTD                    Lawson Aschenbach / Justin Marks     Meyer Shank Racing     Acura NSX GT3              


# # #