Dane Cameron says his Blancpain GT World Challenge America program with RealTime Racing “ticked all of the boxes” as he now gears up for a busy dual-season campaign in Acura machinery this year.
The 2014 IMSA GT Daytona class champion is set for his GT3 return this weekend at Virginia International Raceway, with Cameron teaming up with Bret Curtis at the wheel of an Acura NSX GT3 Evo fielded by the longtime World Challenge entrant.
It comes just two weeks after Cameron claimed a podium finish on the streets of Long Beach in Team Penske’s Acura ARX-05 DPi car.
While having been itching for additional drives beyond his season-long duties with Acura Team Penske, Cameron said he jumped at the opportunity to return to his GT racing roots, and in an ideal opportunity.
“I’m always happy to do more racing,” Cameron told Sportscar365.
“Obviously, I’ve gone back and forth over the years with GT racing and prototype racing. I haven’t done a lot of GT racing in the last couple of years, so it’s nice to come back and do some more here.”
Cameron, who is tied exclusively to driving Acuras, said the deal with RealTime came about through Curtis, who he coached several years ago.
“The year after I won the [GTD] championship with Turner, Bret went World Challenge racing with the Z4 and I did some driver coaching and testing with him, to help him there. We got on really well and had a lot of fun,” he said.
“Somewhere along the line when this whole thing was coming together, my name came across and that he’d really like to drive with me.
“It all came together pretty quickly and I was happy to do it.
“It ticked all of the boxes and it’s really nice to supplement and do more for Acura and HPD and continue to represent that brand.
“Hopefully we can win some races for them in both categories and do a good job for them on all fronts.
“I’m [also] grateful that Tim [Cindric] and Roger [Penske] let me come do it in the first place.”
Cameron said he and Curtis are heading into their first weekend together with realistic expectations, having completed only a brief shakedown with the Pro-Am class entry last week prior to arriving at VIR.
While not having any race experience with the new-for-2019 NSX GT3 Evo, Cameron drove the original iteration of the car in the 2017 California 8 Hours with RealTime, in what was his first official outing as an Acura driver.
“I’m just trying to get my head around the steering wheel and the buttons and remember where everything is,” he said. “It’s different from the [Acura ARX-05] and what does what.
“The rules are all different so it’s also about getting up to speed on them and how the pit stops work and the order of everything.
“It would have been nice to do some hard testing here like other people go to do, but RealTime has run the car before so they know it. I know it a little bit and the Evo kit has been really, really strong everywhere, on any tire at any track.
“I think we have a good package. It won at COTA, was on pole at Laguna and Sebring. I think the car is very capable. Hopefully if everything is good we can have a good run.
“I believe we can win, no question.”
RealTime Program “Fills Up” Cameron’s Calendar
Cameron said the newly confirmed program acts as a good supplement to his Acura duties in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“We only do ten races in Prototype, so last year I felt like there were some stretches where you didn’t really drive much,” he said.
“I think the more you drive, the better and the more different stuff you drive, the better it is for you.
“The calendar fills up pretty quick when you go from doing ten races to 16 and testing for both programs.
“Since a week before Long Beach until Memorial Day, I’ll be in the car driving something.
“It’s turned into having no weeks off until the end of May, which is fine by me!”