Dane Cameron said their victory in Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic in Detroit was a bit “unexpected” given the traditional strengths of the Cadillac DPi-V.Rs on street courses.
Cameron and Acura Team Penske co-driver Juan Pablo Montoya claimed their second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship win, following a controlling run by the No. 6 Acura ARX-05, which led all but seven laps of the 100-minute caution-filled race.
It marked the first non-GM car to win overall at the Raceway on Belle Isle in IMSA competition since 2008, a race that was also won by an Acura.
“It was a little bit unexpected for us because the street courses are usually quite good for the Cadillac bunch,” Cameron said.
“We knew we were going to be competitive here, but we honestly thought we were looking at more of podiums than a win for here and just get some good points.”
While having started from pole, in a new qualifying lap record from Montoya, Cameron held command of the closing stages, despite a challenge from Felipe Nasr in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi.
The Brazilian managed to get to the rear bumper of Cameron’s Acura DPi on a few occasions, in what turned into a race of each car’s strengths and weaknesses in the final 20-minute shootout.
“I knew they had really good pace and our two cars were strong in different areas of the race track,” Cameron explained.
“[Nasr] was really strong through the fountain bit, through [Turn] 11, the slowest part, and obviously a lot of big torque from the V8 compared to our car. I was really good in some other sectors.
“He closed down here and there and then I tried to see that coming and push a little harder.
“It was really close, really tense for sure. But I just tried to focus on doing my laps.”
Cameron and Montoya have closed to within five points of Nasr and co-driver Pipo Derani in the DPi points standings after early season struggles that put initial question into their title bid.
“For us we had some issues in the first two enduros and gave away a lot of points we shouldn’t have,” Cameron said.
“Honestly before Mid-Ohio, it looked like the whole championship would be a write-off and we were just going to try and steal a win here or there.
“Now [winning] two races in a row and [being] second in the championship changes the dynamic of the year slightly. We’re not going to change anything physically but it’s nice to know you’re still in the hunt for the championship in a way.
“Everything is in a really good place right now with this program.
“Juan and I are having a ton of fun working together in this deal and pushing each other to get the most out of it.
“When I came to this program, this is kind of the level of operation that we were expecting to be on.
“It’s taken a little while to get here so hopefully now we can stay here and continue to execute and win on a much more regular basis.”