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.