Acura Wins 2019 DPi and GTD Titles in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship!
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi did everything it could in an attempt to repeat as Daytona Prototype international champions in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Even by winning Saturday’s thrilling Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, the No. 31 couldn’t unseat the No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi from the 2019 season title. By placing fourth on Saturday, No. 6 drivers Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya held on for the DPi crown by five points. And along with third driver Simon Pagenaud, they sealed the team title in the Acura Team Penske program’s second season.
In a race that saw a record 465 laps completed on the 2.54-mile Michelin Raceway road course (1,181.1 miles) – 22 laps more than last year’s previous standard. But it came down to a 25-minute trophy dash to the finish following the last of four full-course cautions in the iconic 10-hour race to close the WeatherTech Championship season.
Cameron and Montoya wound up five points ahead of Derani and Nasr in the driver’s championship, the same gap that the No. 6 defeated the No. 31 by for the team title. Cameron earned his third WeatherTech Championship crown, following the GT Daytona title in 2014 and the Prototype championship in 2016 – ironically with Action Express.
“It’s cool to just win the championship for something you’ve had so much influence in its development and its growth,” Cameron said. “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.”
For Montoya, whose many racing accomplishments include two Indianapolis 500 wins and seven Formula One victories, it was his first season championship of any kind since taking the CART title in Indy cars 20 years ago. The thought of it brought a smile to the 44-year-old’s face.
“I think it’s great, I think it’s fun,” Montoya said. “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. As hard as everyone works in the program, and how well we prepare the cars and how everything is done, it’s great. You’re so proud of the guys. They are so pumped.”
Meanwhile, entering Saturday’s race with a 32-point lead in the GTD standings, Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman locked up the 2019 WeatherTech Championship GTD title merely by taking the green flag in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3.
“It was an unbelievable opportunity to be in the WeatherTech GTD paddock. It’s a championship that I’ve been trying to get myself in for so long now,” said Hindman. “This is certainly the highlight of my career.”