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Acura Sweeps Petit Le Mans

- 2022-10-02

  • Meyer Shank Racing Leads Acura sweep of 2022 Manufacturer, Driver and Team Championships with thrilling victory at Petit Le Mans season finale
  • Acura also claims Michelin Endurance Cup honors in final race for ARX-05 prototype
  • Gradient Racing takes GTD honors at Road Atlanta with Acura NSX GT3 Evo22
  • Wayne Taylor Racing takes intramural Acura team battle for the title to the final minutes of 10-hour endurance sports car racing contest

After nine months of racing across the country, the battle for the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship came down to a pair of Acura-equipped teams battling fiercely all afternoon and into the night at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Finally, with less than 13 minutes remaining in the 10-hour Petit Le Mans season finale, it was the #60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05 prevailing over the #10 ARX-05 of Wayne Taylor Racing for the win, and the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The victory was the first for the ARX-05 at Petit Le Mans, and an Acura "double" in IMSA competition, with the #66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 taking GTD class honors.

Starting from the pole, the Meyer Shank trio of Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and endurance driver Helio Castroneves battled fellow Acura and Wayne Taylor drivers Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor and team newcomer Brendon Hartley for the race lead right from the green flag.

In the final hour, the two Acuras pitted together for their final scheduled stop. Albuquerque in the #10 WTR ARX-05 led the way into pit lane, but a superior stop from the #60 MSR crew saw Blomqvist exit in the lead. As the pair worked their way through traffic with less than 30 minutes remaining, contact with a GT car resulted in Albuquerque being forced to return to pit lane and retire with suspension damage.

Once clear of the WTR Acura, Meyer Shank went on to claim their second victory of 2022 to win the Drivers' and Teams' titles; complete Acura's sweep of Manufacturer Championships for both the full season and Michelin Endurance Cup; and the endurance drivers' and teams' titles for Meyer Shank on a tie-breaker.

Acura NSX GT3 Evo
Starting at the back of the production-based GTD field following an electrical issue in qualifying, the Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 of Till Bechtolsheimer, Mario Farnbacher and Kyffin Simpson steadily moved through the field in the opening hours. An ultra-quick pit stop just before the three-hour mark saw the #66 Gradient NSX move from sixth to second, with Farnbacher passing for the lead a few laps later.

For the rest of the night, the driving trio kept their Acura in the thick of the battle for GTD honors, with Simpson recording the fastest lap of the race to that point. Exiting the pits in the lead with just under one hour remaining, Farnbacher fought off a determined challenge from rival Jordan Pepper to record Gradient's first victory in IMSA competition, and complete Acura's sweep of both the overall and GTD wins.

Petit Le Mans Acura Race Results

  • 1st overall - #60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05 DPi
    • Drivers Tom Blomqvist, Helio Castroneves, Oliver Jarvis
  • 6th DPi - #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 DPi
    • Drivers Filipe Albuquerque, Brendon Hartley, Ricky Taylor
  • 1st GTD - #66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo
    • Drivers Till Bechtolsheimer, Mario Farnbacher, Kyffin Simpson

IMSA DPi Championship

Drivers' and Teams (unofficial, after 10 of 10 rounds)

1. Acura
2. Cadillac

3,718
3,652

1. Meyer Shank Racing (Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis)
2. Wayne Taylor Racing (Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor)

3,432
3,346

Michelin Endurance Cup

Drivers and Teams (unofficial, after 4 of 4 endurance races)

1. Acura
2. Cadillac

55
53

1. Meyer Shank Racing (Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis)
2. Wayne Taylor Racing (Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor)

39
39

Quotes
David Salters (President and Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today's race and the 2022 season: ""Nine months of racing across the country this season, and 10 hours of endurance racing tonight, and it all came down to the final minutes of this incredible race.  We're massively proud of all of our Acura Motorsports teams. We began the season with an historic 1-2 finish – and second consecutive win – for Acura at the Rolex 24 at Daytona; and ended it with a fight to the finish between our two prototype teams – Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing – and an awesome GTD win from Gradient Racing.  Thanks to the smart and hardworking team at HPD, I am delighted that their strenuous efforts are rewarded by these achievements:- Manufacturers Championship for Acura, Drivers Championship, Daytona pole and victory and Michelin Endurance Cup. We all know in the challenge of racing, the epic highs and heartbreaking lows that we put ourselves through, it's always a fine line between the two in endurance racing, we simply relish the challenge. Well done the magnificent men and women at HPD, the superb team at Oreca and our brilliant teams and drivers, what a fantastic finish to the DPi era."

Tom Blomqvist (#60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05) race winner and drivers' champion: "Wow, we won the race and the championship! I can't thank the entire team enough for the hard work they have put in all year. This title definitely did not come easy, but all the guys and girls never gave up and we brought it home today. The car was really good. I was starting to get a bit brave in traffic at the end there, I had to be. Obviously, we know Filipe (Albuquerque, Wayne Taylor Racing driver) is very aggressive in traffic, and I had to do the same. I think some things didn't go our way this season but ultimately, I think this was meant to be. When there is something to chase and you really feel on top of the car, I felt like I was able to go that extra mile."

Oliver Jarvis (#60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05) race winner and drivers champion: "Full credit to the entire team and for Meyer Shank to come away with victory and the championship, that's something really special. We won the two that counted most and the championship. This race definitely was not easy and there were moments where I thought this could end badly, but the car really came alive at night. Tom [Blomqvist, co-driver] did an amazing job at the end of the race there and we brought it home in the lead. I can't thank the team and the entire crew for all of their hard work all season, they all deserve this one!"

Mario Farnbacher (#66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22) GTD race winner: After the problem we had in qualifying [an electrical issue which left the team last on the GTD grid], the guys tore the whole car apart, made it absolutely perfect for today, and here we are, [in Victory Lane]. I'm so proud of the guys…it's absolutely great. [This win] means a lot. Ten years ago was my first race in the U.S., at [Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta]. I won back then, and now, exactly 10 years later, I won again. So, there's a really special connection to this track."

Till Bechtolsheimer (#66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22) GTD race winner: "It was all a blur, and I was just trying not to throw up. An incredible day. Kyffin [Simpson, 3rd driver] was just clinical all day, and the last couple stints from Mario [Farnbacher] were out of this world. It's huge for Gradient to get their first win in IMSA."

Fast Facts

  • Propelled by six wins this season, including Acura's second consecutive victory at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, this is Acura's third Manufacturers' Championship in five seasons of prototype competition in IMSA's premier DPi category. The other title years were 2019 and 2020.
  • This is Acura's second consecutive Michelin Endurance Cup, for results scored in the four long-distance races on the schedule: Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Road Atlanta. In 2021, this title was claimed by Wayne Taylor Racing, this year's endurance crown went to Meyer Shank Racing on a tie-breaker.
  • The 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was the final season for the premier Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class, which will be replaced in 2023 by the new, electrified Grand Touring Prototype (GTP).

Next Today's race concluded the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Acura will return to contest the prototype and GTD titles in the 2023 season, which opens January 26-29 with the Rolex 24 at the famed Daytona International Speedway.

Acura Motorsports social media content and video links from Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta's Petit Le Mans can be found on Instagram (www.instagram.com/hondaracing_hpd), Twitter (twitter.com/HondaRacing_HPD) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/HondaRacingHPD). Additional features and long-form videos can be found on the Honda Racing/HPD YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV).

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