Track: Road Atlanta
Race: Petit Le Mans
Date: October 13, 2018
No. 6 Acura ARX-05 DPi – Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya/Simon Pagenaud
Overall Finish: 32nd
Class Finish: 13th
Laps Completed: 263/396
Laps Led: 0
Points Position: 5th (-26)
- Juan Pablo Montoya qualified the No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 in the eighth position for the 21st Annual Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Friday evening.
- As the 10-hour race began, Montoya made one of the moves of the race just on the first lap, going from eighth to fifth as the field stormed down into turn one. Montoya, despite complaining of an ill-handling car, would continue to ride in the fifth-spot through the first round of pit stops.
- However, just past the hour mark and with another round of stops on the horizon, Montoya experienced a mechanical failure out of turn three, sending him into the tire barrier.
- The team was able to repair the Acura ARX-05 in just over three hours but lost 130 laps in the process.
- Over the course of the remaining five and a half hours, Montoya, Dane Cameron and endurance driver Simon Pagenaud took turns behind the wheel, running laps as fast as the leaders all while testing various setups.
- Despite the issues, the team was able to make up six spots by getting back out on the track. The team finished
“We were able to get back out there after a couple of hours of repairs. I’m really proud of everyone at Team Penske for the work they put into fixing this car and getting us back out there. It’s too bad we were out of the race that early, but we were able to go out there, make up some position and learn some stuff for next year.’”
- Dane Cameron
No. 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi – Helio Castroneves/Ricky Taylor/Graham Rahal
Overall Finish: 6th
Class Finish: 6th
Laps Completed: 396/396
Laps Led: 143
Points Position: 7th (-34)
- Ricky Taylor was chosen to qualify the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 Prototype in Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Prototype Champion was able to secure the fifth starting position, his third career top-five starting position at Road Atlanta.
- Taylor quickly moved up to the fourth position on the first lap as the team began to settle into the third-longest race of the season at 10 hours.
- After Taylor had worked his way into the lead for several laps he hit pit road for four tires, fuel and a driver change to Helio Castroneves. After dropping to the second position during the driver change, Castroneves was able to cycle around to the lead after the leader made his pit stop.
- Castroneves kept the No. 7 Acura at the front of the field before turning the steering wheel over to Graham Rahal, who would drive the longest stint on the day. Rahal also led the race for long periods of time before giving up the top spot just before the six-hour mark after losing rear grip in Turn 12 after tire degradation took its toll.
- With the rear tires going away, race strategist Tim Cindric pitted his driver early to get them on a different pit sequence than the rest of the leaders, which was looking to be a great strategy. Unfortunately, during Castroneves’ second stint, he was penalized for passing under a local caution flag in Turn 6 with just two and-a-half hours left to drop the No. 7 team back in the field a bit.
- Taylor slid back under the wheel of the No. 7 with two hours remaining and crossed the finish line in the sixth position to finish off the inaugural IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season for Acura Team Penske.
“I’m really proud of the effort by everyone at Acura Team Penske today. We had really good pace and didn’t put one wheel in the wrong place, in my opinion. Obviously, I disagree with the penalty for passing under a yellow. Unfortunately, it takes away a little from the strong effort we had today. All three of us led the race and looked strong. Now we take what we learned in 2018 and find ways to be even better when we get to the Rolex 24 next year.”
- Helio Castroneves