Cadillac, Acura Win in Detroit on Belle Isle Streets

AutoInformed.com on 2018 Detroit Grand Prix Sports Car Racing

A two-tires-only pit stop pays off for the struggling Acura team.

The four Acura entries in last weekend’s Detroit Grand Prix completed the 100-minute race, with a 1-2 win for the Acura NSX GT3 and Meyer Shank Racing in the GTD class, and a 2-3 finish for Acura Team Penske and the ARX-05 prototype, which lost to Felipe Nasr driving a Cadillac, who also set the fastest lap time.

In the  GTD class, Katherine Legge and Meyer Shank Racing successfully repeated their class win here from one year ago, but with Mario Farnbacher joining the lineup in the #86 Acura NSX GT3. Starting second, Legge unsuccessfully challenged the leading Lamborghini of Bryan Sellers throughout the first 40 minutes. Meanwhile, Justin Marks ran a close third in the #93 MSR Acura.

At the end of her shift, in the only scheduled pit stop for the GTD cars, the MSR team repeated its successful ploy from 2017 and only changed the left-side tires on both Acuras, putting them first and second, with Farnbacher now leading in the #86 and Lawson Aschenbach second in the #93 NSX GT3.

From there, the MSR Acura pair controlled the pace of the race, with Farnbacher pulling out to a nine second victory and Aschenbach completing the first-ever 1-2 result for Meyer Shank Racing. The win moves Legge, second in the GTD Drivers’ Championship, to within three points of leader Sellers; and Acura to within nine points of the Manufacturers’ Championship lead.

Acura Team Penske Prototype
Starting second, Acura Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya moved into the lead after only four laps in his #6 Acura ARX-05, with teammate Helio Castroneves running second in the sister #7 Acura. An early yellow flag for debris on Lap 11, the only caution flag of the day, resulted in both Acura Team Penske prototypes electing to make early pit stops.

On the Lap 15 restart, contact between multiple cars delayed the #6 car, now with Dane Cameron driving, and allowed Ricky Taylor in the #7 to pass.  The pair ran fifth and sixth until others made their scheduled initial stops and were running second and third after the final round of stops.  Taylor reduced a seven-second lead for the Action Express Cadillac of Felipe Nasr to just over a second but was unable to attempt a pass for the lead in the closing laps. In a thus far disappointing season for the two Prototype Acuras it was their best showing.

The Glen Next

From the shortest race on the schedule, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship moves on to one of the longest:  the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, July 1 at Watkins Glen International Raceway in upstate New York.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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