Juan Pablo Montoya said Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans was “a really hard day” for he and co-drivers Dane Cameron and Simon Pagenaud, who drove a flawless race to take the DPi championship for Acura Team Penske.
Montoya drove the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 to a fourth place finish, two laps down on the overall race-winning No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Pipo Derani in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale.
It came after not having the ultimate pace to the Dallara-built Cadillacs in the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
“I think we were really surprised,” said Montoya, who claimed his first title since his 1999 CART championship. “They kept adjusting us with the BoP [all year] and this was just a horsepower track.
“It was a really hard day and all weekend we were quite stressed.
“It was good because we had a big enough advantage that we needed to finish eighth. But one mistake and you’re done.
“We did a good job all day. We kept it on the track. We didn’t hit anybody, we were patient. We had good pit stops and no drama.”
Cameron, who combined with Montoya to claim three victories this season, agreed that getting to the end was “more stressful” than anything.
“We knew we were in good shape but you were never sure if something bad was going to happen and steal it away from you,” Cameron said. “That was the big fear throughout the day.
“But our guys have been so good this year. The car has been super, super fast and the pit stops have been great. I’m just proud of everybody at Acura Team Penske.”
It marked Cameron’s second IMSA Prototype championship, after taking the 2016 title for Action Express Racing in a lineup that also featured Pagenaud as the team’s endurance driver.
“I had Simon alongside the last time I won a Prototype championship so it’s really cool to have him back here,” he said.
“Juan was the first guy to drive the car ever and it’s really cool to win the championship in something you’ve had so much influence in it’s development and growth.
“It’s such a rebound from the learning year we had last year to come out and win three races and win the title is fantastic.”