Acura, its teams and drivers dominated the final hours of this weekend’s 60th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Meyer Shank Racing and defending race winner Wayne Taylor Racing battling to the checkers in a 1-2 finish in their Acura ARX-05 prototypes in the opening event of the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
At the end of the twice-around-the-clock competition, it was the MSR lineup of Tom Blomqvist, Helio Castroneves, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud taking the victory three seconds ahead of WTR and drivers Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi, Will Stevens and Ricky Taylor.
The win is the second consecutive Rolex 24 victory for Acura and the ARX-05 prototype, and the first 1-2 finish at Daytona for the manufacturer. For the Meyer Shank team, the win is their second Rolex 24 triumph, and 10 years to the weekend after their first win here in the 2012 50th running of the event.
Second-place for Wayne Taylor Racing places the teams at the top of the championship table after the first of 10 races this season, and solidifies Acura’s early-season Manufacturers’ Championship advantage.
Acura NSX GT3 Evo22
In the production-based GTD category, the Gradient Racing NSX GT3 Evo22 started 16th in the deep, 22-car GTD field following a fraught qualifying race last weekend. But the driver lineup of Till Bechtolsheimer, Mario Farnbacher, Marc Miller and HPD Academy graduate Kyffen Simpson brought the #66 through the field to the lead pack of six contenders by mid-race.
Despite delays in the early morning hours to repair a broken line in the air-jack system, Gradient continued to contest for the class victory until a wiring problem just after 9 a.m. resulted in a long stop for repairs just after sunrise. Once repairs were complete, the Gradient Acura returned to the circuit to finish 13th in GTD.
Rolex 24 Race Results
- 1st overall – #60 Tom Blomqvist, Helio Castroneves, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud, Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05 DPi
- 2nd overall – #10 Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi, Will Stevens and Ricky Taylor, Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 DPi
- 13th GTD – #44 Till Bechtolsheimer, Mario Farnbacher, Marc Miller and Kyffin Simpson, Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22
|DPi Manufacturers’ Championship||Teams’ Championship (after 1 of 10 rounds)|
|1. Acura||385||1. Meyer Shank Racing||378|
|2. Cadillac||352||2. Wayne Taylor Racing||355|
|3. JDC Miller Motorsports||332|
|Michelin Endurance Cup Teams (after 1 of 4 endurance races)|
|1. Meyer Shank Racing||15|
|2. Wayne Taylor Raing||13|
|3. JDC Miller Motorsports||13|
- In taking the checkers today at Daytona International Speedway, Helio Castroneves completed an incredible year that saw the veteran champion win the Rolex 24 twice, sandwiching his record-tying fourth victory at the Indianapolis 500 last May.
- Castroneves also becomes the first driver to score IMSA wins for all teams to have campaigned the Acura ARX-05: Meyer Shank Racing, Wayne Taylor Racing (2021) and Acura Team Penske (2018-20).
- This is Acura’s second consecutive overall victory at Daytona, the first 1-2 finish for the manufacturer. It is the third Rolex 24 win for Honda Performance Development which won Daytona overall under the HPD/Honda banner. Acura won the Camel Lights class [the equivalent to today’s LMP2] at Daytona in 1991 and again in ‘92
- Acura first took part in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in 1991, winning Camel Lights with Comptech Racing and drivers Parker Johnstone, Steve Cameron and Bob Lesnett driving a Spice Acura SE90P. Acura repeated as Camel Lights winner in 1992, with Comptech drivers Johnstone, Cameron and Jimmy Vasser [who also won Honda’s first Indy car championship in 1996].
- Running an Honda Performance Development prepared, production-based Honda V6 engine, Tequila Patrón ESM won the Rolex 24 overall in 2016 with Pipo Derani, Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek and Ed Brown driving a Ligier JSP2-Honda.
Helio Castroneves (#60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05) Winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona with co-drivers Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud: “This is incredible! We made history in Daytona! Let’s go climb a fence! The team gave me an amazing car, and I had amazing teammates: Tom, Olly, Simon, everyone on our team, our sponsors, Acura and HPD. What a great race. It was very tough. My friend Ricky [Taylor] was right behind and I know his strengths, and I said to myself ‘I never showed him all I know’. I had some things under my sleeve [to use in the final laps]. I never thought I’d be climbing the fence in Daytona, but today I realized that dream.”
Ricky Taylor (#10 Wayne Taylor Racing ARX-05) Finished second: “”First of all, what a great day for Acura! HPD does so much work for us and I think it shows in the reliability of these DPi cars. We were up against five Cadillacs with just two Acuras, and managed a 1-2 finish. The reliability was amazing and the performance of the engine and the car was flawless. The team executed beautifully, I just didn’t have enough at the end to go and get Helio [Castroneves]. It’s a little disappointing, but we’ll start working towards Sebring and it’s a really good way to start the year. I’m really proud to have my teammates next to me, they all did an amazing job. And thanks to Konica Minolta, Harrison Contracting and everyone that gives us the opportunity to be here and race these cars.
Marc Miller (#66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22) Finished 13th in GTD: “We definitely had a solid car. The new Evo22 package made the car more raceable. The new boost helped the car on the bottom end, which is where we really suffered the most in the past.
But I mean, how about our little team, For most of this race, we were sitting there in the top five the entire time. As the lone Acura in the GTD field, it was a proud moment to see that close-knit group that has worked so hard to build something to be able to run the race. It was an honor for me to be able to race with Gradient Racing at the Rolex 24. At the end, it was truly an honor to finish the race. Thanks Acura.”
David Salters (President and Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on this weekend’s second consecutive victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona: “The men and women of HPD, Acura, MSR and WTR work hard all winter: long hours, trying to be smart, just doing the best they can. Then they come to one of the most iconic races in the world, a real test of performance and endurance; a real marquee event. Through their hard work and teamwork, the world gets to witness that we’re pretty good at this stuff and see their challenging spirit. Through their endeavors, for our amazing company – Acura and Honda – we write new lines in the history books. Well done, and congratulations to all those women and men.”
The 2022 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship now moves to central Florida for the 70th annual Mobil-1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Saturday, March 19 in Sebring, Fla.