- Opening-lap contact damages, delays both Acura ARX-06 prototypes
- Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport recovers to finish fifth; Meyer Shank Racing sixth
- Championship showdown set for Petit Le Mans season finale in October
It was rough day for Acura in the return of IMSA sports car racing to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, as both ARX-06 prototypes of Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport were damaged and delayed in in an opening-lap crash caused by another competitor, setting up a multi-manufacturer showdown for the series championship at next month's Petit Le Mans season finale.
Acura ARX-06 Hybrid Prototype
A chaotic first turn incident moments after the start put both Acura teams on the back foot in today's 10th round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Contact between Phillip Eng and Sebastien Bourdais at the start resulted in a spin by Bourdais. With no way to go avoid the spun Bourdais machine, both Acuras also were caught up in the collision, continuing with damage until the first round of pit stops.
The #10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport ARX-06 of Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor escaped the multi-car contact with relatively minor damage. But an ill-timed second caution flag, which came out just after the team's first scheduled pit stop, cost them valuable track position. They fought hard the rest of the day, regaining several positions in the process, to end the day fifth.
The #60 Meyer Shank Racing and starting driver Tom Blomqvist suffered the greater impact in the opening-lap incident, requiring new front bodywork and other repairs in a long first stop. As a result, MSR went off-strategy with its remaining pit stops. But with no late-race cautions flags, closing driver Colin Braun needed to reduce his pace, resulting in a sixth-place finish.
Acura NSX GT3 Evo22
In the production-based GTD category, a strong start for the #66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 of Sheena Monk and Katherine Legge was blunted by a drive-through penalty for contact on the opening lap. Recovering from the penalty, Monk finished her opening stint with a solid performance. A strong run from Legge in the second hour saw the Gradient NSX move up to 10th, until a suspension issue in the final 40 minutes forced her to reduce pace, resulting in a 13th-place finish.
In the #93 Racers Edge Motorsports with WTRAndretti NSX also was quick from the green flag, gaining four positions to run eighth in the early laps with starting driver Ashton Harrison at the controls. But contact with an LMP2 car in Turn One just after the 40-minute mark ended the day for Harrison and co-driver Kyle Marcelli with damaged suspension.
Tirerack.com Battle on the Bricks Acura Race Results
- 5th GTP - #10 Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor; Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06
- 6th GTP - #60 Tom Blomqvist and Colin Braun; Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06
- 13th GTD - #66 Katherine Legge and Sheena Monk; Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22
- 17th GTD - #93 Ashton Harrison and Kyle Marcelli; Racers Edge Motorsports with WTRAndretti Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 [Did not finish – contact]
|Drivers' Championship (after 10 of 11 rounds)
|1. Pipo Derani, Alexander Sims
|2. Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor
|3. Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy
|6. Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun
Colin Braun (#60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06) Finished sixth: "Bit of a bummer right from the start. Tom did a great job qualifying and then got cleaned out in the first turn. It's always tough to recover from something like that. We were in the mix but needing a yellow [for the MSR race strategy to pay off]. I had to hit a huge fuel number [to save fuel]. It was tough hanging on and trying to hit that number. Given that we were basically last after the first lap, had damage, but the guys were able to fix it on pit lane and not lose a lap, I think it was a solid day given the hand we were dealt."
Katherine Legge (#66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22) Finished 13th in GTD: "I'm just gutted. We didn't have a race-winning car today, but we did have a car capable of a top-10 finish. That's where we were running in the final hour, and still gaining ground, when we had a failure in the right-front suspension. That made it imperative I reduce our pace to make it to the finish. Sometimes you have to look at the long game. We so wanted a good result here, and although we're bitterly disappointed, Sheena and the team did a great job all weekend, so we'll take that as a positive and go on to Road Atlanta."
Kelvin Fu (Vice President, Honda Performance Development) on today's race at Indianapolis: "A disappointing day for Acura and HPD. Our race group and partner teams fought hard to prepare for this first IMSA race in Indianapolis, but things did not go our way. We lost some ground in the championship today, but we're still in it and will take the fight to Petit Le Mans next month in Atlanta."
- This was Acura's first official appearance in an IMSA event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
- Honda Performance Development, however, supported customer team Extreme Speed Motorsports in 2014, when the Florida-based team campaigned a pair of Honda-powered ARX-03b chassis in IMSA. ESM swept the front row in qualifying, with Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp starting from the pole in their ARX-03b; while teammates Ed Brown and Johannes van Overbeek started second. Race day was not as successful, however, as ESM finished fifth and seventh in the two-hour, 45-minute event.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next moves on to the 2023 season ending 10-hour Petit Le Mans endurance contest, Oct. 12-14 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.
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