Dane Cameron believes he didn’t have anything for Mazda Team Joest in the closing stages of the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, admitting the Mazda DPi currently has a “pretty ridiculous” power advantage.
Mazda scored back-to-back IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victories on Sunday, with another 1-2 run by the Japanese manufacturer coming just seven days after its breakthrough first victory at Watkins Glen.
Cameron and co-driver Juan Pablo Montoya, meanwhile, claimed their fifth consecutive podium finish in their No. 6 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 that has seen the duo narrowly extend their DPi points lead.
“I wasn’t sure we had enough to get past the Mazdas unless it was something really aggressive in traffic,” Cameron told Sportscar365.
“Obviously they’re super hungry to win right now and they know we’re leading the championship.
“It looked like we were going to get a little bit close there in the last couple of laps. I think we were getting a few better breaks than the Mazda in traffic but it just wasn’t meant to be.”
The two-time IMSA champion had his hands full in the closing laps by a hard-charging Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R duo of Pipo Derani, who got to Cameron’s rear bumper before the Penske driver managed to pull a gap.
“All of these cars have a little bit different strengths,” Cameron said.
“He was quick and pushing hard and aggressive in traffic, obviously trying to get to us and retake the points lead.
“But I felt our car was good and made some good choices in traffic and was able to get away.
“Obviously two cars fighting for the championship lead and fighting on track always makes a great show.”
Cameron and Montoya now hold a three-point lead over Derani and co-driver Felipe Nasr heading into the final three DPi rounds of the season.
“It’s going to be tough,” Cameron said. “I’m happy to extend the championship lead a little bit but it’s certainly going to come down to the wire between the two cars I think for sure.
“The last couple of weeks for us has been to continue to execute, continue to be on the podium every weekend and it should take care of itself. That’s what we’ve been doing.
“We had two failures in the first two races and we’ve been on the podium ever since. That’s the name of the game in the championship. Consistency is equally important [as wins].
“We’re going to make a big push for the end of the year and try to win this championship for Acura and Team Penske and Roger.”
Hard to Overcome Mazda’s “Power Difference”
Cameron said it’s been hard to match the pace of the Mazda DPis over the last two races despite Team Penske executing at a “higher level” than ever before.
“I think our car is driving really, really well, but it’s hard to overcome the huge weight difference is and the power difference right now,” he said.
“The horsepower that car has in the mid-range right now is pretty ridiculous. There’s really not much we could do.
“I think we’re pretty close to Cadillac in terms of horsepower, performance and things like that.
“Mazda seems to have made a really big step with their engine program in the last two races because they seem to have all this power out of nowhere.
“IMSA has been doing a good job with their new systems for BoP. I think it’s been really good.
“I’m sure the tables get turned and the playing field will be a little more even when it comes to crunch time for the last three races.”