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Cameron, Montoya “Won’t Just Ride Around” to Clinch Title

2016 IMSA prototype champion Dane Cameron aiming to capture another title this weekend…

Photo: Brian Cleary/BCPix.com

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship points leader Dane Cameron insists he and his regular-season co-driver Juan Pablo Montoya won’t “just ride around” in this weekend’s Motul Petit Le Mans in order to win the DPi title.

Having won three races this year, the Acura Team Penske pair leads Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani by 12 points heading into the final round of the 2019 season.

Cameron told Sportscar365 that the No. 6 Penske crew, which also includes Simon Pagenaud this weekend, won’t be changing its approach to the race in light of the points situation.

However, he added that it also won’t spend Saturday’s race “riding around on the bubble” in the hope of picking up an eighth-place finish or higher to secure the title.

“I think it’s a little bit of a buffer,” Cameron said. “There are 11 cars and it’s a 10-hour race so there are still plenty of opportunities for it to go sideways.

“I don’t really think there’s any need to change what we have been doing because it’s what has put us in this position. We’ve been really consistent and haven’t had a scratch on the car.

“Our strategy has been really good, as has our pace. Do we need to take any unnecessary risks? No.

“We need to protect ourselves and protect the car, but I think we definitely don’t want to just ride around because that’s when you start to just go backward and lose control of the situation.”

Cameron and Montoya have been regulars in the top-three this season, with each of the last seven races resulting in podiums for the No. 6 pairing.

When asked about the key to putting together this run of form, Cameron suggested it was the result of fine-tuning the Acura DPi package that displayed great potential but fell short of consistent high finishes.

“I think just the evolution of the program in the second year has helped a ton,” he said.

“We improved on the tracks we were not so good at and capitalized on the ones we were good at. We executed that really well this year, so I’m really pleased with how that’s been.

“There’s been almost zero turnover within the team, so it’s been a really nice step forward of just cleaning up all the details for what it takes to be successful.

“Obviously, we had a slow start from the two enduros and that hurt us a bit, but for me, and how my championships have gone in the past, that’s pretty standard to start in a bit of a hole the first two races.

“There’s been nothing earth-shattering in what it’s taken to be more consistent. It’s just a better overall focus and improvement from the team.”

Nasr Wants No. 31 crew to “Take Every Opportunity”

Whelen Engineering Racing driver Nasr, who won the title last year with Eric Curran, wants the No.  31 Cadillac DPi crew to “take every opportunity” in its bid to cause a championship upset.

“When you’re coming from second place, as we are now with a bigger gap, all we have to focus on is to win the race. Whatever happens next is not in our control,” he told Sportscar365.

“But just having the chance to be fighting for victory is something, and I want to maximize the chances from the team’s side, every driver getting in the car and making sure we take every opportunity out there.

“We have to drive for victory and if that means taking more risks, and do whatever we can to be up front, we will do it.”

John Dagys contributed to this report.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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