In Sunday’s IMSA Monterey SportsCar Championship Powered by McLaren at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Cameron and Montoya cruised to their third victory of the season as Cameron took the checkered flag 9.784 seconds ahead of teammate Hélio Castroneves in the No. 7 Acura DPi after two hours and 40 minutes of racing around the 2.238-mile circuit. In the process, the No. 6 duo extended its lead in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) championship standings to 12 points.
They’re now firmly in the driver’s seat for the DPi title with only the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road America on Saturday, Oct. 12.
“Today was really good,” Montoya said. “We had a fun weekend. We were first or second in every session. It was good. We did what we needed to do all weekend, and for the points, it was amazing. Now we’re going into the last race with a 12-point advantage, so that’s huge. It was a very strong showing for the team. The No. 7 cars guys did a great job too. They were there for us all day, that was important. Going into the next race for Petit with a 12-point advantage, it’s a big relief.”
Cameron took control of the race after his second pit stop around the halfway point, only briefly surrendering the lead as the pit-stop sequence played out. He and Montoya combined to lead 75 of the 121 laps in the race, which ran without a full-course caution, scoring their seventh consecutive podium result — a run that also included back-to-back victories at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Detroit’s Belle Isle Park.
“This is the level of performance and execution that’s expected from a Penske team,” Cameron said. “To be a contender for race wins week in and week out, it’s what makes us excited to be a part of it, it’s what’s expected of us as a group, so it’s nice.”
“The results just started to come. We know what we need for qualifying and what we need for the race and that’s why we now have more poles and more wins for the No. 6 car. The strategy has been great. The car has been absolutely amazing all through the summer. We just keep getting better and better. We’re looking forward, hopefully in a few weeks’ time, getting a championship. Today was certainly good for kicking off strong for that.”
The victory also effectively clinched the 2019 WeatherTech Championship DPi manufacturer’s championship for Acura, which now has an eight-point lead over Cadillac, 297-289. Acura only needs to score manufacturer points at Motul Petit Le Mans to officially take the title.
Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr rounded out the podium in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R with a third-place run. Derani grabbed the final podium spot — and more valuable championship points — from Renger van der Zande in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R within the last 15 minutes of the race. The No. 31 duo trails Montoya and Cameron by a count of 274-262.
Van der Zande and Jordan Taylor wound up fourth in the No. 10 Cadillac ahead of João Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, who joined their No. 31 Action Express Racing teammates in the top five.
Mazda Team Joest saw its DPi win streak snapped at three consecutive victories in Sunday’s race. Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez were the team’s highest finishers, taking sixth in the No. 77 Mazda RT-24P.
The No. 52 team finished one lap ahead of the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA LMP2 shared by Cameron Cassels and Saturday’s Motul Pole Award winner, Kyle Masson. The win also expanded McMurry’s LMP2 points lead to eight over Cassels, 235-227, meaning he only will need to score points at Motul Petit Le Mans to take the 2019 WeatherTech Championship title.
Source: Autoweek Image: LAT Images