IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi drivers and team principals have praised recent strides made to the category’s Balance of Performance, which could set up for a championship showdown between cars from all three manufacturers.
Six drivers or driver pairings are within ten points of each other heading into this weekend’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, which will see a largely unchanged BoP for the second consecutive race.
While Acura Team Penske’s Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroenves are riding a two-race win streak, the duo sit ten points away from leaders Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande of Wayne Taylor Racing.
Mazda’s Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito are six points back in fourth, just three markers ahead of teammates Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez, who have yet to get a win this year.
“It’s so close because it’s been varied results,” explained Jarvis. “Nobody’s gone out and been dominant. The series has done a great job with the BoP.
“For ourselves in the 77, we feel like we should be leading the championship right now. We got a bit unlucky at the last race and likewise at Road America.
“I think there’s a number of cars on the grid that can say the same.
“Everyone’s had mixed results so it means we’re heading into the last part of the season and it’s anybody’s championship right now.”
Bomarito, who along with Tincknell won July’s Daytona sprint race, believes the pressure is now on with only four DPi races remaining this season.
“We’re only six points out of the championship and this is sort of crunch time, with the last four races, every point is huge,” said Bomarito. “We have to continue to be on the podium.
“Both cars are in the fight for the championship.
“You can’t have a bad race now or your chances go away.”
Mazda Motorsports director Nelson Cosgrove said that he’s been happy with the current BoP levels.
The only change since Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta is non-performance related, with both the Cadillac DPi-V.R and Mazda RT24-P both getting 3 liters of additional fuel capacity.
It came after the Cadillac DPis received a 15 kg weight break in the week of the last race.
“The BoP and the competitiveness of all the cars at Road Atlanta was close and is as impressive as we’ve seen,” Cosgrove said. “Everybody had a chance to win that race.
“There were Cadillacs up front. [Bomarito’s] car was in the hunt in the end and If things played out differently, I think we would have had a shot of the win.
“It was a great BoP and I think that’s what is going to go into the Mid-Ohio BoP.”
“The BoP, sometimes there was only so much we could do but I believe now they’ve found a very good package that all of the cars seem to be very close,” said the Brazilian.
“You can see this in qualifying.
“As long as they keep this way, I think we can continue and be very competitive.”
Ricky Taylor: “100 Percent” Focus on Championship Fight
After a trouble-filled start to the season, wins at Road America and Road Atlanta have pout the No. 7 Acura Team Penske duo in with a shout of the championship, something Ricky Taylor had “no hopes” for just a few races ago.
It’s resulted in a “completely changed” mentally according to the Acura driver, who is taking a team approach in the final few races of the Acura Team Penske program.
“For me, that’s 100 percent what we need to fight for now,” said Taylor.
“If you would have asked me two races ago, I would have said just race wins and trying to do the best we can. But now we’re only ten points back. There’s an opportunity.
“For Helio, he’s driven for Penske for over 20 years now and he’s won all the [Indy] 500s and all these big races.
“He’s given so much back to the team and has left such a mark. He’s really part of Penske history.
“For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it.
“I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.
“If we could win a championship together — obviously we’ve won races already — and both of us do it for the Captain, that would be an absolute dream come true.”