Cadillac drivers suspect Acura was sandbagging

Acura Team Penske heads into the Rolex 24 at Daytona as the favourite and had been hiding its pace in the run-up to qualifying, believe some Cadillac drivers.

Cadillac drivers suspect Acura was sandbagging

The two Acura ARX-05s qualified second and third on Thursday, behind only the leading Mazda RT24-P, a result that Ricky Taylor admits exceeded the team’s expectations.

Cadillac’s top representative was the #31 Action Express Racing car in fifth, 0.748 seconds off the pace and one place ahead of the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing machine.

That prompted WTR driver Fernando Alonso to suggest that the Balance of Performance handed to the Cadillac DPi-V.Rs was preventing his team from taking the fight to Mazda and Acura.

Alonso’s teammate Renger van der Zande described Acura as “for sure” the favourite and echoed the Spaniard’s concerns about the BoP handed to the Cadillac DPi-V.R.

He highlighted the Cadillac’s 3mph deficit in the speed traps compared to the lead Acura.

Van der Zande told Motorsport.com: “If you look at the speed of the Cadillacs compared to the Acuras and the Mazdas on the straights, it’s really bad.

“At every restart they are gonna blow by us if they are behind us. The raceability of our BoP is bad. We are quite fast in the corners, maybe this why the laptime is good.”

Asked if Cadillac had pushed to the limit in the Roar test, he replied: “That was our pace, we pushed really hard. That was it. Mazda did the same.

“Acura slowed down. I think they [still] have something in their pocket.”

#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, DPi: Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani, Eric Curran, #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Cadillac DPi, DPi: Renger Van Der Zande, Jordan Taylor, Fernando Alonso Diaz, Kamui Kobayashi

#31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, DPi: Felipe Nasr, Pipo Derani, Eric Curran, #10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Cadillac DPi, DPi: Renger Van Der Zande, Jordan Taylor, Fernando Alonso Diaz, Kamui Kobayashi

Photo by: Richard Dole / LAT Images

New Action Express Racing recruit Pipo Derani struck a slightly more optimistic note than van der Zande but also said he felt Acura had not shown its hand fully prior to qualifying.

“We are not the favourites,” Derani told Motorsport.com. “It’s more a race for Acura to lose than for us to win, because they’ve been hiding and they show up in qualifying.

“But I really hope, even though we don’t have the raw speed, we have a car that will be there to the end and also a car that is strong on race pace.”

Acura driver Dane Cameron however denied his team begins the race as favourite and believes the Cadillacs will still be strong contenders come race day.

“I thought some of [the Cadillacs] would be a little bit closer,” Cameron told Motorsport.com. “It depends on how focussed people are on qualifying.

“Typically the #10 [WTR] car doesn’t qualify that well here but they are always there in the race. Same with the Action Express cars.

“You can’t count them out for sure, and I think the true pace of everybody will come out in the race. We fully expect them to be in the thick of that fight.”

One of Cameron’s teammates in the #6 Acura, IndyCar star Simon Pagenaud, admitted the ARX-05 is at an advantage in a straight line but feels the Cadillacs will be able to claw back the lost ground with superior speed in the infield.

“I think the Cadillacs will be there at the end for sure, they are always there, they are going to be really hard to beat,” the Frenchman told Motorsport.com.

“There are vast differences between cars. The Mazda is super-quick over a lap, we have good top speed, and the Cadillac has the torque out of the corners.

“Top speed is really good on our car but in the infield we’re at a disadvantage behind the GTs, because they come out of the corners really well too and it’s hard to clear them.

“We could lose a lot of time on the infield and gain it back on the banking. It’s the name of the game.”

#7 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi, DPi: Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor, Alexander Rossi

#7 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi, DPi: Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor, Alexander Rossi

shares
comments
Rolex 24: Albuquerque leads final practice for AXR

Previous article

Rolex 24: Albuquerque leads final practice for AXR

Next article

Risi has “no chance” against factory GTLM teams

Risi has “no chance” against factory GTLM teams
Load comments
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021
The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC Prime

The GTE dilemma that IMSA has created for the WEC

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s decision to scrap its GT Le Mans class for 2022 raises the question of whether the FIA World Endurance Championship should phase out GTE cars. But it's a much harder decision than it appears on the surface.

WEC
Feb 3, 2021
Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona Prime

Nine things to watch at the 2021 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

After a 100-minute sprint race to whet the appetite, the 2021 IMSA SportsCar Championship gets underway properly this weekend. With plenty of significant changes during the winter, here are the key points you need to keep an eye on

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars Prime

Why Magnussen is relishing a fresh start in sportscars

Having gone over seven years without a race win through spells with McLaren, Renault and Haas, Kevin Magnussen's departure from Formula 1 for IMSA with big-hitters Chip Ganassi Racing could give him what he craves most - a chance of success

IMSA
Jan 29, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked Prime

The 12 greatest Sebring 12 Hours ranked

The 2020 edition of the Florida sportscar classic is finally taking place this weekend, eight months after its traditional date in March. That meant there was plenty of time for Motorsport.com to pour over its previous 67 races and select the best.

IMSA
Nov 11, 2020