Acura Scores Pole, Leads, But Finishes Fourth at Watkins Glen

  • Louis Delétraz and Jordan Taylor in the #40 Acura ARX-06 come home just shy of the podium in Sunday's IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Watkins Glen
  • Sister #10 Acura ARX-06 of Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor suffer mechanical failure in closing stages after leading 15 laps.
  • Rain causes cautions, red flag over course of the six-hour event

It was a strong day with a difficult end for the Acura contingent at Watkins Glen, as what looked like a potential double podium finish for the Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti pair of Acura ARX-06s wound up fourth and 10th at the end of the six-hour race.

Louis Delétraz led the field to green after scoring pole in the #40 Acura machine, before handing over to teammate Jordan Taylor for the middle stages of the race. Taylor would contend with on-and-off rainstorms during his time in the car, often having to push through on the 'wrong' tire for the conditions in order to make the team's race strategy work.

Delétraz would take back over for the finish, restarting first after a 42-minute long red flag due to weather. Unfortunately, Delétraz would fall to fourth in the final stint of the race, where the #40 would ultimately finish.

The sister #10 Acura ARX-06 also showed strong pace during the day, with co-drivers Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque combining to lead 15 laps over the six-hour event. The duo were looking strong to make it a double-Acura podium finish before the race resumed following the red-flag period, even battling for the lead with the #6 Porsche with two hours to go. However, a mechanical part failure – potentially due to contact in that battle – caused the wheel to detach before racing action resumed. The #10 would be classified in 10th place.

In the production-based GTD class, Gradient Racing showed speed early in the race, before the trio of Sheena Monk, Tatiana Calderon and Stevan McAleer encountered a clutch problem mid-race. The #66 Acura NSX GT3 Evo team persevered, and were running in PXX before being served two penalties in the final minutes of the race. They #66 would finish 13th.

Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen Acura Race Results

  • Finished 4th overall - #40 Louis Deletraz and Jordan Taylor; Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06
  • Finished 10th overall - #10 Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor; Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 [not running – mechanical]
  • Finished 13th in GTD - #66 Stevan McAleer, Sheena Monk and Tatiana Calderon; Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22

Louis Delétraz (#40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06) Finished 4th: "First of all, I want to thank all of WTRAndretti and HRC because we've had, I think, a strong weekend overall. Obviously, the result is disappointing because we just really struggled on restarts. I lost three spots on lap one of the start and three spots again on the final restart. I could hardly do better. But we still had a good race. We had pole position, great strategy and great pit stops. So, we know where to look to find that last bit of performance, and I think everyone is very motivated to find a solution and get on top of that, because I think if we fix this issue, we would have been very hard to beat this weekend."

Filipe Albuquerque (#10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06) Finished 10th: "I don't know what to say. What a frustrating race. After a great race from Ricky and ups and downs in the rain, we got a penalty from IMSA, which dropped us to last. We made the right call on the slick tires which enabled me to go to second and eventually to first. Unfortunately had some contact with another car early on and after that the car was a bit funny, but it was still going. When we had that failure, most likely due to the earlier contact, we couldn't finish the race with just 20 or so minutes to go. Looking ahead, we have nothing to lose in the final races, so let's try to win."

Stevan McAleer (#66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22) 13th in GTD: "Tough day, I'm really bummed. Bummed for Sheena, bummed for Tatiana, bummed for Gradient Racing, I love these guys. I think we had a lot of pace. Tatiana had mentioned during her stint that she thought something might be wrong with the transmission or the differential. When I jumped in, I confirmed we had a clutch issue for most of the race and unfortunately it was hurting us in terms of performance. I'm not really sure how we ended up with two sixty-second stop-and-go penalties. Our team owner, Andris (Laivins), is looking into it. Just a bummer. I'm not sure we had the pace to win, but with all the cautions and all the rain that came out, you never know. We could have finished in the top three or even higher than that. I'm a little bummed, but we'll regroup, get this car squared up. A win is in Gradient's future."

Fast Fact

  • Acura Motorsports has recorded six previous victories at Watkins Glen, including a 1-2 finish in 2022 as the ARX-05s of Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti battled through the closing laps. At the checkers, it was the #10 WTRAndretti Acura taking a narrow, 0.861-second victory over the sister #60 MSR ARX-05.

The 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next travels north of the border July 12-14 to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park outside of Toronto Canada, where the LMP2 and GTD divisions will be featured.

The premier GTP prototypes return to action with the full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship field August 2-4 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

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