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Taylor, Castroneves Lead Penske Acura Sweep at Mid-Ohio

Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves claim breakthrough first win for Acura Team Penske…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Acura Team Penske has broken through to claim its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory, in a commanding 1-2 sweep in Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, which ran caution-free.

Ricky Taylor took the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 to a 8.464-second win over teammate Juan Pablo Montoya in picture-perfect weekend for Penske, which went 1-2 in every timed session this weekend.

A decision from race strategist Tim Cindric to short-pit Taylor with 1 hour and 20 minutes to go helped get the defending Prototype champion out front ahead of Montoya.

It put the No. 7 Acura DPi back in the lead, following a storming opening stint by pole-sitter Helio Castroneves, who held off an early charge from the No. 77 Team Joest Mazda RT24-P of Oliver Jarvis.

With the No. 55 Mazda dropping out after contact with a GT Daytona car and Jarvis’ co-driver Tristan Nunez fading during his stint, it gave clear sailing to the pair of Acura DPis for the dominant win.

While Taylor notched his maiden win with Penske, it marked Castroneves’ first WeatherTech Championship victory.

The No. 77 Mazda DPi of Jarvis and Nunez completed the podium in third, 26 seconds behind the winning Acura DPi, giving Joest Racing its first podium with the Japanese manufacturer’s program.

Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa maintained their points lead with a fourth place finish in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, with the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi completing the top-five.

The No. 52 AFS/PR1 Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson, meanwhile, was the highest-placed LMP2 car in sixth with Sebastian Saavedra holding off a hard-charging Stephen Simpson, who set the race’s fastest lap.

The top-13 overall positions were all filled by Prototypes, with the No. 55 Mazda DPi the race’s only retirement after Pigot sustained suspected suspension damage from a clash with the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Maro Engel.

The No. 55 Mazda DPi had run as high as third early on with co-driver Jonathan Bomarito.

RESULTS: Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Pay Driver

    May 6, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Acura win the Acura Sports Car Challenge by miles. Anyone want to bet GM win the Chevy Sports Car Classic at Detroit for the seventh year in a row?

    • Bird

      May 6, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      If only Mazda still sponsored Laguna Seca, it would have been a guranteed Joest victory.

      • Pay Driver

        May 6, 2018 at 3:57 pm

        We will have to find a way to give Cooper a ride that finally suits his abilities instead.

        • Change it up

          May 6, 2018 at 4:05 pm

          Cooper will just buy a Porsche RSR and re badge it as a GT3 next season

    • Andy Flinn

      May 6, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Yeah, Pay Driver, that probably explains how Lexus – not Acura – won the GTD race today.

      Nice try though.

      • Pay Driver

        May 6, 2018 at 7:39 pm

        Acura won the big boy class with their factory-backed effort, and that’s all that matters.

  2. Change it up

    May 6, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    LMP2 just fading into non significance. I wont be surprised if it goes all DPI in the next couple seasons. They really need to pit the two prototypes against each other to drive excitement.

    • Jason

      May 6, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      While I do agree. The LMP2 did lay down the fast race lap.

    • Dave

      May 6, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Yeah, fastest lap and two P2 cars outpaced both Nissans and a Cadillac. They slowed all of the DPis and I think they about got it right.They finished how they qualified, so I am not sure how you can rig that. Certainly the IMSA series features different types of tracks that suit different cars – see 3GT.

      • Larry

        May 6, 2018 at 5:52 pm

        Yep, Dave. They need to stop issuing a new BOP after every race and accept that, as you said, certain types of tracks are going to favor different cars.

        The street courses, such as the upcoming Belle Isle race, is going to favor the Caddies with the low end grunt and it’s probably gonna suck for the Mazdas with that little 4 banger.

        Not sure why the Nissans were so slow as their drivetrain is similar to the Acuras. Maybe not a good track for the Ligier chassis but I wouldn’t think that would be the case.

        Then again, late in the race, Pipa was running on pace with the leaders so it could be other drivers. Sharp ain’t as sharp as he used to be…………:)

        And for “change it up”, 2 P2s finished on the lead lap while neither Nissan did nor did 1 of the Caiddies, so you really should watch and/or read before posting remarks like that.

        Sheesh, talk about clueless.

        • Jack

          May 7, 2018 at 12:28 am

          Take a look at where the Nissan has been fast. It’s tracks with long straights. The Nissan doesn’t like the twisty bits, also, JVO and Sharp are nowhere near there teammates lap times.

          • Kurt

            May 7, 2018 at 8:10 am

            Agreed. Sharp and JVO should frankly be embarrassed with their performance. Look at Sharp’s qualifying speed compared to John Bennett! PR1 outperformed ESM by a long shot, so the Onroak chassis has some pace. Pipo woke up but only after being put a lap down. Watching Cameron hassle Helio was great racing.

      • Steven

        May 6, 2018 at 8:24 pm

        Remember Alonso put the fastest lap of the race in Hungary last year in F1 in the garbage Honda engine. Did that make everything ok?

        The fastest lap was by .03 seconds over the Acura, while the race pace for Acura and Mazda was 2-3 tenths faster every lap than everyone else.

        Look at even the Porsche in GTLM, the winning car had the 2nd slowest fastest lap in the class yet still won.

    • changeitupisclueless

      May 6, 2018 at 5:39 pm

      Change it up, you must not have watched the race.

      As already noted, fastest race lap and finished ahead of several DPis.

      So, did you post this without having watched the race or what?

      Dumb remark.

  3. The Hand of IMSA

    May 6, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    A post-race Competitor Bulletin has been issued:

    Get Ready For The BoP Hammer To Fall. End.

    Rinse, recycle, repeat…

  4. Braun the Cuck

    May 6, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    what in the actual fuck was Braun doing? He drove like a complete cuck holding up the Acura and Mazda for multiple laps whilst already being a lap down. Race could have been even more exciting than it actually was had he just let the Mazda by.

  5. Gman

    May 6, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Hey Mr Bennett 4 races into the season and the same results as last season, so much for the “new crew” that you hired! Have you gotten a clue yet?

    • Andy Flinn

      May 6, 2018 at 7:01 pm

      Gman, what “results” are you talking about?

      Third place at the Rolex 24 (top LMP2 finisher and on the lead lap) and four laps ahead of the United Autosports and Jackie Chan Racing LMP2s in fourth and fifth?

      How about fourth at Sebring (again top LMP2 finisher and on the lead lap) and ahead of United Autosports, both Mazda DPis and both JDC/Miller Orecas in finishing positions five through nine?

      It sounds like you have an axe to grind.

      • Gman

        May 6, 2018 at 10:02 pm

        No axe to grind Andy,just facts. Those results are from the pros driving not the wannabe race car driver that blames his crew for “his” lack of performance . I know this for a fact as a few of my friends use to work this team and had to deal with his meltdowns! Read the article in 365 early this year when he was interviewed talked about this season

  6. TailsLeMans722

    May 6, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Acura’s first Prototype victory… Check. Mazda on the podium… Check. Lexus’s first GTD victory… Check. Caution free… Check.

    What a race! Looking forward to watching the race on the IMSA YouTube channel soon.

    • Steven

      May 6, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      So Acura’s prototype wins in ALMS, ELMS, and Le Mans do not count?

      • TailsLeMans722

        May 7, 2018 at 3:38 am

        I meant post-merger, But you are technically correct (The best kind of correct!)

        BTW I Don’t recall Acura competing in the ELMS or at Le Mans. Acura is strictly a North American brand.

      • Andy Flinn

        May 7, 2018 at 10:20 am

        Steven, Acura has NEVER won overall at Le Mans.

        Toyota has yet to win there as well.

        Only Mazda has an overall victory at Le Mans.

        • Andy Flinn

          May 7, 2018 at 10:22 am

          Sorry, only Mazda, among Japanese car marques, has won overall at Le Mans.

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