LEXINGTON, Ohio – Dane Cameron and Helio Castroneves maintained honor for the home team as Acura swept the front row in qualifying for this afternoon’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The two-hour, 40-minute race is Round 6 of 10 for the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship.
Cameron and Castroneves put on an intense battle for pole position, with Cameron in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi edging Castroneves in the No. 7 car for the Motul Pole Award by just 0.016 seconds. Cameron’s quick lap was timed at one minute, 10.839 seconds (114.750 mph).
Oliver Jarvis qualified the No. 55 Mazda Motorsports Mazda DPi third with a lap of 1:11.004 (114.483 mph).
Acura and parent company Honda have deep roots in Ohio. The Acura NSX sports car was designed and is hand built at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville.
“This is typically a really strong place for the Acura prototype package, but it certainly seems our competitors have really closed that gap this year,” said Cameron, who earned his first pole of the 2020 season and 13th of his IMSA career. “I really expect a tough race. But it feels great to get a pole position here. It’s been a pretty tough year for us (Cameron and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya), and I feel like I’ve been robbed of a pole here the last couple years. So I wanted to finish the job, and this makes up for a couple years of disappointment.”
Jordan Taylor turned in an authoritative performance for Corvette Racing in GT Le Mans (GTLM) qualifying. Driving the No. 3 Corvette Racing C8.R, Taylor enjoyed a massive 0.376-second margin in claiming the class pole over the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE driven by Jesse Krohn and fielded by BMW Team RLL.
The spread from Krohn in second place and his BMW Team RLL teammate Bruno Spengler in fourth was just 0.154 seconds. The two BMWs were split by the No. 4 Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin.
It was Taylor’s second pole of the 2020 campaign and the 12th in his IMSA career.
“This is the first time here with the Corvette C8.R, so I think a lot of it came down to the preparation by the team,” said Taylor. “We spent two days in the simulator last week preparing, and we rolled off the truck really strong. I know we only needed to make a couple minor adjustments. The car was obviously really good in qualifying, and I think we’ve led all the sessions so far.”
In the GT Daytona (GTD) category, Aaron Telitz sped to his second pole position of the season in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. Telitz was the only driver to break the 1:21 barrier, clocking a 1:20.974 lap (100.387 mph) as the checkered flag fell on the 15-minute session.
Matt McMurry (No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura NSX GT3) and Misha Goikhberg (No. 57 Heinricher Racing with MSR Curb-Agajanian Acura) took the next two places for the Acura marque.
The GTD cars were the first to take to the track on a seasonably cool morning at Mid-Ohio.
“It’s tough to get going quick when you don’t have a ton of track time,” Telitz remarked. “You just have to turn it on in the morning, show up, drink some coffee, and get ready to lay it down quick in qualifying. Fifteen minutes, honestly, isn’t a lot of time when it’s this cold here just to get the Michelin tires up to temperature.
“So really, it just came down to the last lap,” he added. “I didn’t put a real clean lap together before then, but the last lap was good – and luckily, good enough to hold off the Acuras. It’s cool to beat them at their home track, if you will.”