Acuras still “in a different race”, says Wayne Taylor

IMSA team owner Wayne Taylor believes that Acura Team Penske is still “in a different race” to the rest of the DPi field after its one-two finish at Laguna Seca.

Acuras still “in a different race”, says Wayne Taylor

Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya took the #6 Acura ARX-05 to a third victory of the 2019 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season at the Monterey track on Sunday, ahead of the sister #7 car of Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor.

Wayne Taylor Racing’s #10 Cadillac DPi-V.R ran the #7 Acura close for much of the race in the battle for second, but in the end the car shared by Renger van der Zande and Jordan Taylor was beaten to third by the #31 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani.

Acura’s domination came after Balance of Performance adjustments designed to bring the Cadillac back into contention for victories following a spate of races where the American marque lagged behind rivals Acura and Mazda.

Prior to the Laguna Seca weekend, the Cadillac DPi-V.R was given a 20kg weight break and a 0.3mm increase in air restrictor diameter, while the Mazda RT24-P was handed a modest 5kg weight increase. No changes were made to the Acura ARX-05.

“We’re a little disappointed with the final result, given we ran third for almost the entire race,” said Wayne Taylor. “It would’ve been nice to finish on the podium but it didn’t happen.

“What’s more frustrating is that the BoP is still way out of line even with the changes they made before this race. There were two things we asked for, one was weight and one was restrictor. They gave us weight but not the same size restrictor.

“To the Team Penske guys, congratulations to all of them. But it’s still like we’re racing in a different race.”

#10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Cadillac DPi, DPi: Renger Van Der Zande, Jordan Taylor

#10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Cadillac DPi, DPi: Renger Van Der Zande, Jordan Taylor

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

Van der Zande, who took over the #10 Cadillac from Jordan Taylor, admitted that he wore his tyres out by trying to challenge Castroneves’ Acura for second early in his stint.

“I drove my heart out,” said the Dutchman. “I fought really hard for P2, but this is one of the most difficult tracks to overtake.

“You could see the guys who finished ahead of us, they had so much more pace where it was really only the first stint of the two I drove against them I could fight because they probably had a little bit of trouble with tire pressures. Then, as soon as they got their second set of tires on their cars, they just disappeared in the distance.

“I burned my tires a bit too much in the beginning of the last run trying to get by Castroneves for second. And that’s why at the end I struggled quite badly. In bad traffic, getting held up, unfortunately I had to let Derani get by and so we finished fourth.

“That’s not what we came for. We came to win.”

Third place for Nasr and Derani means the Brazilian pair head to the Petit Le Mans season finale at Road Atlanta with a 12-point deficit to Montoya and Cameron.

“To be back on the podium is good, but to be behind the Acuras is not where we want to be," commented Derani, who brought the #31 Cadillac home for its first podium finish since June's Detroit race. "I think we did the best we could – we were the best Cadillac, and that is one thing we wanted to accomplish all year.

"It was a tough race; I had a difficult first stint. The second stint was better, the tires got a lot better. I had to fight the #10 car at the end, while trying to save fuel, which was interesting. He raced very hard, but luckily, we came out in front.

"We’ll take a podium now and take the championship fight to the last round."

#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, DPi: Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani

#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, DPi: Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani

Photo by: Art Fleischmann

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