Acura Team Penske scored a dominant 1-2 finish in Sunday’s Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves gaining the points lead entering the season finale.
Pole winner Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron dominated in the No. 6 Acura ARX-05, leading 104 of the 119 laps. However, coming into the final turn heading to the white flag, Cameron took a wide line, allowing Taylor to slip to the inside and win by 0.487s.
“It was them being nice guys for us,” Taylor admitted. “We were strong all the day, but the No. 6 was super, super strong. At the end of the race, we weren’t specifically asking, but when you work for such a strong team like Acura Team Penske all eyes are on the big goal, the championship. They really were the class of the field this weekend, they really earned the win, but they thought about us and our championship situation.”
The No. 7 now has four victories this season. Eighth in the points following the sprint race at Sebring, they enter the Sebring finale in two weeks with a two-point advantage over Wayne Taylor Racing drivers Renger van der Zande and Ryan Briscoe, who finished 10th in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Montoya and Cameron haven’t won since taking the 2019 Laguna Seca event en route to last year’s DPi title.
Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr spent the bulk of the event chasing the Acuras, but neither driver could make a pass stick while keeping contact to a minimum. Derani wound up third in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, 1.498s back. Entering the finale, Derani is third in the standings, nine points back.
Mazdas took the next two positions. Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito finished fourth in the No. 55 Mazda RT-24P, followed by Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez in the No. 77.
Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor scored their first GTLM victory of the season in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19. It was the second consecutive triumph for the Porsche GT Team, with teammates Nick Tandy and Fred Makowiecki having won at Petit Le Mans in the No. 911.
Corvette Racing’s yellow No. 3 C8.R came in as the car to beat, with Antonio Garcia dominating practice and Jordan Taylor winning the pole. But while the two Corvettes led the opening 21 laps, it was a Porsche race the rest of the way. The No. 3 Corvette made a late charge, with Garcia finishing 0.981s behind Bamber at the checkered flag.
Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin put the No. 4 Corvette on the podium, with Tandy finishing fourth in the No. 911.
In GTD, Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry enjoyed a dominant day in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3, winning by 10.119s ahead of the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. Alvaro Parente and Misha Goikhberg completed the podium in the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with MSR Acura, 10.480s back.
Patrick Kelly captured the LMP2 title in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07-Gibson, taking his fourth victory of the campaign. As the lone entrant in the class needing only to start the race to clinch the title, Kelly was allowed to start on pit road as a courtesy and safety measure to lock up the title. After that, Kelly and Simon Trummer made several visits to the paddock, winning the class but finishing last overall in the 28-car field.
The race was slowed for only five minutes by caution, brought out with 23 minutes remaining due to an errant piece of debris.
UP NEXT: The 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season comes to a close on Saturday, Nov. 14, with the delayed running of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.