- Late-race battle for first ends in contact, ends Acura winning streak
- Acura Team Penske ARX-05 prototypes finish second and third
- Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo again knocked out of GTD contention
BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 17, 2020) – Acura’s winning streak in the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship ended at three Saturday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, as contact resulted in second- and third-place finishes for the Acura Team Penske prototypes. In GTD, the Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo had to go behind the wall for repairs following contact from another competitor.
Acura Team Penske
Hopes of continuing the three-race victory streak, that started at Road America in August for the #7 Acura ARX-05 of Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves and endurance driver Alexander Rossi, came to an end in the closing minutes of today’s 10-hour event, as Taylor made contact with Action Express driver Pipo Derani while battling for the lead, and both cars spun.
Wayne Taylor Racing driver Renger van der Zande, running third when Taylor and Derani collided, then moved into the lead, and his victory was assured when another crash involving a GTLM-class competitor resulted in the race ending under the caution flag.
Starting from the pole following a lap-record qualifying run by Dane Cameron, the #6 Acura ARX-05 led from the green, with teammate Ricky Taylor slotting his #7 ARX-05 into second. Cameron and co-drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Alexander Rossi continued to lead the field at the one, two, three hour marks; and led again as the race neared its halfway point at five hours.
Just minutes before the five-hour mark, the #8 Tower Motorsports by Starworks LMP2 class prototype lost control while avoiding a collision involving the Mazda prototype of Tristan Nunez and the GTD Ferrari of Alessandro Balzan, and made contact with Cameron’s Acura. Although the Acura Team Penske crew quickly replaced the damaged nose on the #6 ARX-05, it was unable to match its previous pace, but still recovered for a third-place finish behind their teammates.
Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo
For the third race in succession, contact with a competitor ended the GTD class victory hopes for the #86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 piloted by Mario Farnbacher, Matt McMurry and Shinya Michimi.
After a lap record qualifying run to the class pole by Michimi on Friday, the MSR Acura swapped the GTD lead with the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini throughout the first four hours. Still running in the lead pack with less than three hours remaining, contact with the #23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin sent both cars to the pits with suspension damage. After a long stop for repairs, the #86 returned to finish an unrepresentative 10th.
The #57 Heinricher Racing with MSR Acura of Alvaro Parente, Misha Goikhberg and Trent Hindman ran as high as third with just over two hours remaining, but handling issues in the final hour saw Hindman fall away from the lead pack to finish sixth.
The 2020 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next heads west to central California for the Halloween weekend Monterey Sports Car Championship race, October 30-November 1 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Acura Motorsports social media content and video links from the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta are available on Instagram (www.instagram.com/hondaracing_hpd), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD) and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD).
Ted Klaus (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s Motul Petit Le Mans: “
“The results were disappointing for us, but it certainly was another wild and crazy Petit Le Mans. The racing was exciting, and the #7 Acura was challenging for the victory right until the contact with the #31 car, which unfortunately then gave the Wayne Taylor team the opportunity they needed to extend their lead in the championship. In GTD, for the third race in succession, the #86 NSX GT3 Evo was damaged by contact from another GTD competitor, once again ending their chance for a class win. But there are two races remaining, so it’s on to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the penultimate race of 2020. I’m proud of everyone’s efforts at Acura Team Penske, Meyer Shank Racing and HPD, but we have work to do to earn the championships we desire.”
Ricky Taylor (#7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05) finished second: “I have to thank everyone at Acura and Team Penske for the speed they brought this weekend to Petit Le Mans. We showed all weekend that we were going to be tough to beat, and it played out that way in the race. I hate the way that it ended, and in no way did I mean to take out the #31 car. It’s Petit Le Mans. Everyone wants to win this race and I saw an opportunity to do that for my team. To come home second is a solid points day, but we were the car to beat at the end and I’m bummed that we didn’t end on top of the podium.”
Trent Hindman (#57 Heinricher Racing with MSR Acura NSX GT3 Evo) finished sixth in GTD: “I have to thank the team for having me back for another race. I wish I could have helped [co-drivers] Alvaro [Parente] and Misha [Goikhberg] get a better result, but we just didn’t have to pace to be able to compete up front. The guys in pit lane had some great stops, and we had seamless driver changes which really helped us. The last stint was pretty tough, and I had a hard time getting the car to brake and slow down enough into the corners. We started sixth and finished sixth, so we didn’t lose any positions but you always want to do better. I’m really looking forward to being back with the team for the Sebring 12-hour next month.”
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Petit Le Mans
Circuit: Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (2.54-mile road course) Braselton, Ga
Weather: Clear, cool, 64 degrees F race start, 52 degrees F at the finish