Tense DPi battle lies ahead in Monterey

September 9, 2019

Tense DPi battle lies ahead in Monterey

September 9, 2019

This year’s Monterey IMSA race is guaranteed a new overall winner in the DPi class.

This comes after the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca event has generally produced a surprise winner in the five years since the American Le Mans Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Series came under one roof.

Extreme Speed Motorsports (2014 and 2018), Visit Florida Racing (2015 and 2017) and Meyer Shank Racing (2016) have claimed the overall win in the top Prototype class since 2014.

Only Meyer Shank still runs in IMSA, and that team has had significant success here in GT Daytona the last two seasons with its Acura NSX GT3.

Among the full-season DPi programs, success has been hard to find in Monterey.

Mazda has come closest to success with agonizing heartbreak hitting it hardest at a track it used to serve as title sponsor. Last year, Harry Tincknell looked poised to secure Mazda’s elusive first overall DPi win, but spun out following contact while trying to lap a slower LMP2 class car.

Tincknell’s co-driver Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 55 RT24-P has had countless laps in Monterey, his home track, throughout his career. Together with teammates Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez in the sister No. 77 car, Mazda enters Monterey on its hottest streak yet with three consecutive overall wins.

Acura Team Penske’s Dane Cameron knows how to succeed at Monterey, and will seek to continue his and Juan Pablo Montoya’s podium streak. Cameron finished third last year after coming up a hard-luck second in 2017 to Renger van der Zande. He finished third in 2016 as well, and fifth in 2015, in his first two runs there in the Whelen Corvette DP. He snatched a last-lap victory in the Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 in 2014 in GT Daytona.

Helio Castroneves is also a past Monterey winner, in a Team Penske Indy car in 2000. He and Ricky Taylor seek their first win of the year.

CORE autosport has won in the PC class before, and come close to overall success. It finished second last year in Monterey in its ORECA 07. Before that, the Colin Braun/Jon Bennett lineup was also second in 2015 and third in 2016 in the PC class. It was fourth in GTD in 2017 in the team’s Porsche 911 GT3 R.

The top Cadillac teams, Action Express Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing, have found the podiums but not the top step over the last five years. In order, here have been their finishes:

No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP (2014-’16), then Cadillac DPi-V.R (’17-’18)

  • 2018: 12th, 2017: 3rd, 2016: 6th, 2015: 2nd, 2014: 2nd

No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP (2014-’16), then Cadillac DPi-V.R (’17-’18)

  • 2018: 13th, 2017: 5th, 2016: 7th, 2015: 4th, 2014: 4th

No. 31 Whelen Corvette DP (2014-’16), then Cadillac DPi-V.R (’17-’18)

  • 2018: 5th, 2017: 2nd, 2016: 3rd, 2015: 5th, 2014: 6th

JDC-Miller Motorsports has competed in other categories in Monterey but will look to continue its growth and development this race. Juncos Racing will not run, and is targeting a Motul Petit Le Mans race return.

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2019 IMSA Monterey Recap, Motul Petit Le Mans Preview

Wednesday October 2, 2019