Castroneves/R. Taylor win Mid-Ohio for Acura

Richard Dole/Motorsport Images

Castroneves/R. Taylor win Mid-Ohio for Acura

IMSA

Castroneves/R. Taylor win Mid-Ohio for Acura

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Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor came out victorious in a wild Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.

It marks the third consecutive victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the No. 7 Acura Team Penske DPi, which keeps their title aspirations alive after crossing the finish line 0.607s ahead of the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Felipe Nasr. It also marked Acura Team Penske’s third year in-a-row to find victory at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course.

“This win is a combination of everyone,” said Castroneves. “It’s not only me, but everyone at Acura Team Penske. We work together. We share quite a lot of information so both cars are fast. And certainly, the No. 6 car was probably a little bit faster than us, but in the end, you know, we are in a situation that we keep coming. We keep winning, which puts us in a position that’s probably better in the championship than those guys.

“The thing is,  when you have that kind of combination, it helps for us to be here. So whether it is the 6 or the 7, it’s a great group of guys, and it’s been a great season. It’s coming to an end on our side, but no question, we’ll do everything we can to keep it going.”

The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi driven by Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande quietly took third. Despite suffering two drive-though penalties due to pit lane infringements, the No. 55 Mazda DPi of Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell came away fourth.

Although Dane Cameron led early from pole in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske DPi, it was co-driver Juan Pablo Montoya that was in the thick of the action. The Colombian was out front throughout the beginning of his opening stint, but went off in Turn 6 trying to get around lapped traffic and lost the lead just past the hour mark and gave the lead to Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Cadillac. From there, he continued to push and even managed to finally find the top 3 as time ticked down. However, it would end after Montoya spun with less than 10 minutes remaining, which relegated him to seventh.

The No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi retired with 38 minutes remaining after Tristan Vautier reported a problem with the engine over the radio. He pulled off to the inside grass of Turn 1 and brought out the final of three full-course cautions.

The results tighten the championship standings, with Briscoe and van der Zande leading at 180 points, followed by Derani at 177, with Castroneves and Taylor at 175.

Corvette Racing finished 1-2 in the GTLM class, with Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor scoring their fourth victory of the season in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R. The No. 4 sister car occupied by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner led through the majority of the opening half of the 2h40m contest, but ended up 1.472s behind as the checkered flag waved.

“I think the 3 car has been particularly strong all weekend,” said Taylor, who earned his 25th career victory in IMSA. “We led all four sessions now, both practices, qualifying and race. So I think we had a little bit of speed on them all weekend. The balance of the car was just really strong from the get go. I think that says a lot for the team coming here for the first time. You could see it. With no testing, just simulator time and rolling off the truck so strong, only having to make minor adjustments to get to where we want, it speaks volumes of the team and the preparation for it.

“It made it a lot easier for Antonio and I, and you know, even Oli and Tommy may have felt like they were a little bit off — we’re talking about such a little bit of time with that being so competitive in the GTLM class. So another good day for us. Four wins for the 3 car and five wins for Corvette Racing this year. I think it’s hard to complain about anything at this point.”

Garcia and Taylor extended their lead on the championship, 226-209 over Gavin and Milner.

Connor De Phillippi and Bruno Spengler came away a distant third, finishing 7.530s back in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE for BMW Team RLL.

Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz had a handle on the GTD battle most of the way. Richard Dole/Motorsport Images

Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz put in a methodical drive in the No. 14 Lexus RC F for AIM Vasser Sullivan to score the GTD class win.

After starting on pole, Telitz held the top spot for the opening 40 minutes. However, a slow pit stop relegated him to second behind title rival Matt McMurry in the No. 86 Acura NSX for Shank Racing. The setback would prove to be brief, as Telitz stayed within striking distance of the leader.

The pace only increased once Telitz handed it over to Hawksworth, who found the front and maintained the gap and crossed the finish line by 0.858s over the No. 74 Mercedes-AMG driven by Lawson Aschenbach and Gar Robinson.

“It was close,” said Telitz, of the early battle with the No. 86 Acura. “It was tight. With traffic, a couple of times I would get some good runs on them but to be honest, they just seemed to have a little bit faster car than us. It was going to be tough, I think, to get around them on the racetrack and Mid-Ohio is a tough track to pass at in the first place.Unless you got like quite a bit more speed on the other car, I just couldn’t get it done. So I was just standing behind them. The only way we’re getting back in front was a strategy call, and that’s what happened for us.”

The No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R of Ryan Hardwick and Patrick Long finished third.

Although McMurry and co-driver Mario Farnbacher were fighting for victory, it all came undone in Turn 1 with roughly 50 minutes remaining. While trying to come through the field, Farnbacher was going to the inside of Paul Holton’s No. 76 McLaren 720S (Compass Racing) when the two made contact.

The result was a cut right-front tire for Farnbacher, who ended up sliding off course and eventually managed to make the slow crawl back to pit road. Although the incident pushed them down to ninth in class, Farnbacher managed to rebound the group back up to finish fifth.

Farnbacher and McMurry still hold the GTD title lead with 176 points, but they are just three head of Telitz (173) and five ahead of Hawksworth (171).

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