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CAMERON: Doing the Double

Acura’s Dane Cameron files his first column for Sportscar365 following back-to-back races…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

What day is it anyway? When I woke up at home this morning, I honestly had no idea what day it was anymore.

My sense of time has been severely warped after racing in my 12th Rolex 24 at Daytona and my first Bathurst 12 hour, along with 40-plus hours in airplanes in a two-week stretch. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Daytona has always been a tough one for me, but every year I head into the tunnel hoping that this could finally be the year I can get my first Rolex win.

I felt really good about our chances for 2020, our third attempt with Acura Team Penske in an unchanged program and using everything we had learned and improved to try and make it happen for Roger and Acura.

Juan did great job in qualifying to put us P2 considering he hadn’t done a dry lap in practice due to the conditions that morning.

Typical Montoya. Now he gets no laps in practice for the rest of the season because he obviously doesn’t need them.

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

The race started off great and we stayed right around the top three and in touch with the leaders but it became clear pretty quickly that we didn’t quite have the pace of the 77 or the 10 but anything can happen over 24 hours.

And it did. We didn’t learn until post-race but we had a small issue with the right front suspension that was causing all sorts of handing problems as the race progressed.

Mainly uncontrollable bottoming and bouncing around the banking, which made the cockpit of our No. 6 Acura feel like a 19 0mph paint shaker.

But we made the best of it and came away with a P4 finish. Not at all what we wanted, but on the bright side we grabbed more points than we left with one year ago on our way to the Championship.

Photo: Honda

BATHURST! I was really looking forward to being able to compete on the mountain for the first time, a bucket list race track for sure.

After a quick pit stop at home to see my wife and kids, change suitcases, I headed off to Sydney about 24 hours after Daytona finished.

We took a measured approach all week as it was first time for almost all of us at Bathurst, and you really have to respect the place.

Every session we went quicker and quicker and found our way while keeping all the wheels on it, which if you watched any of the coverage, is not that easy at such a high-speed, high-commitment place.

Renger van der Zande lost a lot of power in qualifying with an issue so that meant I would be starting the race from P24. In the dark. With no night practice. At 5:45 a.m.

Why does this race start at 5:45 a.m???

Honestly that starting stint was some of the most fun I have ever had.

Photo: John Dagys

Our Honda NSX GT3 Evo was absolutely flying, I drove it up to P13, and had quickest race lap for several hours until we dropped out later with an electrical issue that left Renger stranded on the mountain for a few hours.

But at least he got a nice tan out of it!

I don’t think I’ve ever driven somewhere so rewarding to drive and put a lap together as Bathurst is.

You really feel like you can make a difference as a driver and when you start to click with it you just go faster and faster and it all flows together, a really amazing feeling.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for another nap.

Dane Cameron (@DaneCameron19) is a three-time and defending IMSA champion, driving for Acura Team Penske in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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