Montoya: Run to IMSA title "more stressful" than expected

Juan Pablo Montoya has described his and Acura Team Penske teammate Dane Cameron's run to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title glory in Saturday's Petit Le Mans as "more stressful than we hoped".

Montoya: Run to IMSA title "more stressful" than expected

Montoya and Cameron, joined in the #6 Acura ARX-05 by Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud for the 10-hour Road Atlanta race, needed just to finish eighth to be sure of a title that has looked theirs to lose since their back-to-back wins at Mid-Ohio and Detroit.

Taking a conservative approach, the trio dropped off the lead lap in the eighth hour but kept out of trouble to take fourth place, and clinch the title by five points ahead of Action Express Racing Cadillac drivers Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani.

It came after a Balance of Performance adjustment that gave the Cadillac runners a 15kg weight break following a long winless run for the American brand.

“It was probably a lot more stressful than we hoped," Montoya admitted after clinching the title. "Actually I think we were really surprised. They keep adjusting the BoP because we were running really good. This is a horsepower track so it was really hard.

"All weekend we were stressed. We were in a position that we knew, it was good enough that we had a big enough advantage that we needed to finish eighth. But one mistake and you’re done.

"When you join Team Penske, when you come to this program and with Acura, they expect this. It’s great that we won it, but if we didn’t they’d be disappointed."

Cameron added: "It was a little stressful and a little long. It might have been better to finish with a shorter race. A 10-hour race is a long time. When you [have] a bit of a cushion you’re sort of waiting and hoping nothing goes wrong.

"Just trying to get to the end was more stressful than anything. We knew we were in good shape. That was the fear the whole day."

This season marks Cameron's second IMSA Prototype crown, following his 2016 success with Action Express back in 2016 alongside Eric Curran - and on that occasion the American pair were also joined by Pagenaud for the Petit Le Mans finale.

"Juan and I had a really great year," said Cameron. "I had him [Pagenaud] alongside me the last time I won a prototype championship [in 2016], it’s really cool to have him back here. It’s cool too because Juan was the first guy to drive this car ever.

"It’s really cool to just win the championship for something you’ve had so much influence in its development and its growth. It's a nice rebound from the learning year we had last year to come back and win three races and win the title, it's fantastic."

The sister #7 Acura of Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor - joined at Road Altanta by Graham Rahal - finished the season finale in third, taking the same position in the standings, 18 points down on Montoya and Cameron.

#6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi, DPi: Juan Pablo Montoya

#6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi, DPi: Juan Pablo Montoya

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

shares
comments
Briscoe hails one of Ford’s best performances in GT swansong
Previous article

Briscoe hails one of Ford’s best performances in GT swansong

Next article

AXR's #5 crew rues "unbelievable" misfortune

AXR's #5 crew rues "unbelievable" misfortune
Load comments
The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push Prime

The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push

Have you heard the one about two British guys driving for a Japanese manufacturer in America’s top sportscar series? Time to sit down and talk with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat about racing across the pond… and your accent being mistaken for Australian!

IMSA
Mar 16, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Prime

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC Prime

Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the WEC. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic Prime

How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic

Helio Castroneves continued his fine start to life with Meyer Shank Racing that netted the 2021 Indianapolis 500 victory by prevailing in last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours together with teammates Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud. As Cadillac fell by the wayside, the Brazilian veteran won out in an all-Acura duel to the finish

IMSA
Feb 1, 2022
How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories Prime

How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories

It took Pipo Derani no time at all to establish himself as a winner in IMSA, winning the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours on his first two starts in 2016. But it took until the final corner of the 2021 season before he could become its champion, the culmination of a journey that he believes has made him a better driver.

IMSA
Jan 16, 2022
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