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Season Review

SPORTSCAR365: Driver of the Year

Sportscar365 selects Dane Cameron as its driver of the year from world of sports car racing…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Dane Cameron

A standout in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Dane Cameron helped deliver Team Penske its first sports car racing title in more than a decade, teaming with Juan Pablo Montoya to win the DPi drivers’ championship. 

In doing so, the 31-year-old became the most successful driver in the post-merger era, with three IMSA titles to his credit, following a strong season in the hard-fought DPi class.

Cameron and Montoya showcased an extreme measure of consistency, particularly through the sprint race portions of the season where they failed to finish off the podium. 

Victories at Mid-Ohio, Detroit and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca helped give Acura Team Penske a sweep of the available championships in what proved to be the factory DPi program’s coming out year. 

On paper, Dane Cameron should have been walking away with two major North American sports car racing titles this year, with the Californian having earned more points than any other driver in the Blancpain GT World Challenge America Pro-Am class.

However, a caveat in the rules, only discovered prior to the season finale weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, stipulated that a Pro driver must be linked with the same Am for the full season in order to win the title.

With Cameron’s original co-driver, Bret Curtis, ruled out due to a back injury early in the season and replaced by Mike Hedlund, who had starring drives of his own in the RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo, it meant Cameron wasn’t eligible to become class champion.

It came despite Cameron ending up with 19 more points than class champions Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey, even while missing the first weekend of the season and his entry being moved to the Pro class for one race due to a late co-driver change.

Despite the oddity of the SRO America regulations, 2019 has arguably been Cameron’s best year yet, proving his ability in two very different Acura race cars and securing championships* in both along the way.

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Estre (WEC GTE World Champion; 24H Spa winner), Andrea Caldarelli (first driver to sweep all GT World Challenge Europe titles as team owner/driver), Laurens Vanthoor/Earl Bamber (‘Bamthor’ duo claim first IMSA GTLM title).

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