Dane Cameron said he felt like being in a “paint shaker” due to the “incredibly violent” nature of his damaged Acura ARX-05 at times during the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Cameron and fellow defending IMSA DPi champion Juan Pablo Montoya and reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud soldiered home to a fourth place finish in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener as the highest-placed Acura Team Penske entry.
It came after an overnight incident by Montoya, which damaged the right-front of the car and led to the ORECA-built prototype “bouncing up and down like a pogo stick” according to Cameron.
The contact and subsequent handling issues led to the No. 6 Acura DPi finishing five laps down to the race-winning No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.
“Juan had a little bit of contact at one point in the night, which we can now see,” Cameron told Sportscar365.
“We just did a little bit of damage around the right front aero-wise and suspension-wise a little bit.
“It didn’t drive the same after that and it was just beating itself up pretty badly on the banking.
“It was a pretty unpleasant place to sit in for most of the day, which was a bit of a shame because it was pretty good at the start of the race.”
Cameron said the team made repeated attempts to try and improve the handling of the damaged car, which sometimes increased the porpoising effect and resulted in several shortened stints.
The team changed the nose of the DPi contender at least twice in the second half of the race
“It was a little bit miserable, to be honest because you’re getting shaken to bits,” Cameron said.
“It was like being in a paint shaker, basically.
“We were trying all kinds of different stuff to try and get it to stop because we didn’t really know exactly what was causing the issues.
“At some point when you try something and it was wrong, it was incredibly violent at times, unfortunately.
“We were not too bad [before the damage], I think. It’s just a little bit of a shame that our damage hurt our pace for the balance of the event.
“But even without it, I don’t think there was going to be any beating the 10 car today.”
Penske’s sister No. 7 Acura DPi lost nearly 40 minutes in the garage in the fourth hour after contact between Helio Castroneves and the No. 55 Team Mazda RT24-P of Harry Tincknell that resulted in a penalty for Tincknell.
Had the incident not happened, Ricky Taylor told Sportscar365 they could have potentially battled the No. 77 Mazda DPi for second in the race.
“It was a real shame,” Taylor said. “When we were sitting in the garage, Alex [Rossi] and I were like, ‘We’re probably going to be really fast tonight when it cools down.
“Then the car was really, really nice. It was one of the best balanced cars I’ve driven in Daytona, just really, really good.”
WTR Cadillac Was in a “League of its Own”
Both Taylor and Cameron, however, said they wouldn’t have been able to contend for the victory, due to the “incredible pace” of the WTR Cadillac DPi.
“The 10 was in a league of its own, even compared to all of the other Cadillacs,” Ricky Taylor said. “They were unbelievable.”
Cameron added: “I don’t think anybody had anything for the 10 today. Obviously they made a pretty good turnaround from being last in both qualifying sessions [in Daytona].
“Anytime they want, they did it about five times during the race, they went from last to first and nobody else really seem to go much anywhere.
“They had incredible pace, longer stints than us… pretty much everything you needed to win the race.
“I’m not quite sure the target was so much on us because clearly they had a lot more pace in the end.”