Wayne Taylor Racing’s Ricky Taylor fights to the final turns, but comes up short in IMSA championship contest
Acura secures Michelin Endurance Cup for long-distance events; Wayne Taylor Racing takes drivers’ and teams’ endurance titles
Magnus with Archangel finishes sixth in GTD with their Acura NSX GT3 Evo
After 10 months of racing across the country, the battle for the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship came down to the final three corners of today’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans endurance race, when a passing attempt by Ricky Taylor in his Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 came up less than a half-second short; with Taylor finishing third to Felipe Nasr.
Taylor’s last lap lunge on Nasr in Turn 10 of the 12-turn Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta originally appeared successful, but Taylor briefly ran off-course after executing the pass and Nasr was able to regain the advantage, securing the Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ championships for the Action Express duo of Nasr and co-driver Pipo Derani.
Earlier, the Meyer Shank Racing Acura of Dane Cameron, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya took control of the middle portion of today’s season finale race. But damage from debris struck by Castroneves in the darkness with one hour remaining sent the #60 ARX-05 behind the wall for repairs, before returning to finish sixth.
Acura NSX GT3 Evo
In the production-based GTD category, the Magnus with Archangel trio of Andy Lally, John Potter and Spencer Pumpelly finished the season in their Acura NSX GT3 Evo on a strong note, successfully avoiding a mid-race restart crash that caught out several other GTD competitors, then running as high as third before finishing sixth.
Petit Le Mans Race Results
3rd – #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 DPi
Drivers Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque, Alexander Rossi
6th – #60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05 DPi
Drivers Dane Cameron, Helio Castroneves, Juan Pablo Montoya
6th GTD – Magnus with Archangel Acura NSX GT3 Evo
Drivers Andy Lally, John Potter, Spencer Pumpelly
DPi Manufacturers’ Championship
Drivers’ Championship (unofficial, after 10 of 10 rounds)
- Cadillac 3,666 1. Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr 3,407
- Acura 3,553 2. Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor 3,395
- Mazda 3,421 3. Harry Tincknell, Oliver Jarvis 3,264
Michelin Endurance Cup
Drivers (unofficial, after 4 of 4 endurance races)
- Cadillac 51 1. Filipe Albuquerque, Ricky Taylor, Alexander Rossi 46
- Acura 47 2. Oliver Jarvis, Harry Tincknell, Jonathan Bomarito 40
- Mazda 44 3. Dan Cameron 34
David Salters (President and Technical Director, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race and the 2021 season: “Ten months of racing this season, and 10 hours of endurance racing tonight, and it all came down to the final 10 seconds. We’re massively proud of all of our Acura Motorsports teams. We began the season with an historic win for Acura at the Rolex 24 at Daytona; and we finished it at the penultimate corner of the final race of the season here at Petit Le Mans. Thank you to our awesome teams, brilliant drivers and magnificent HPD associates.”
Helio Castroneves (#60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05): Finished sixth with co-drivers Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya: “It’s such a shame. The MSR AutoNation / SiriusXM Acura was doing well, I think we could have battled for the win. I was running the normal line on the back straightaway, but it was pitch black, you couldn’t see anything. I ran over something and it destroyed the floor of the car: I lost all downforce and couldn’t turn the car. We had to come to the garage and fix the floor. The team did an amazing job to fix it, and the car was back on rails. It’s just very frustrating, we could have finished with a bang. But I have to thank Mike and the team for allowing me to come onboard this weekend and race, I definitely missed the Acura!”
Ricky Taylor (#10 Wayne Taylor Racing ARX-05) finished third with co-drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Alexander Rossi: “I mean, we’re racing really hard. The championship literally came down to the last corner. After last year, I’m happy for those guys [Action Express]. They deserve it; they had a great year. I hate it for Filipe [Albuquerque]; he drove such a great stint to pass them. I made a little mistake on my out lap [exiting pit lane following his final stop]. But I’m so thankful to have HPD, Konica Minolta and Acura behind us. I will do everything I can to pay them back in California and at the shop in Indy. I’m really bummed, but Daytona is close. This is a short offseason, and we’re a great team.”
In four seasons of Daytona Prototype Competition, Acura has won two overall IMSA Manufacturers’ Championships; two Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships, and one sweep of the Michelin Endurance Cup titles for Manufacturers, Drivers and Teams.
Acura will return in 2022 for a final season of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi competition before debuting in the new premier LMDh prototype category in 2023.
Acura has an impressive motorsport pedigree.
Testing new technologies in a racing environment is a great way to ensure their reliability and help spread awareness for the brand’s credibility. If a car can drive at full throttle on a racetrack for 24 hours straight, it will certainly last much longer in the hands of customers. Acura gets this.
Since the brand’s inception, they have been involved in SCCA and IMSA GT Championship, two prominent series in the US. They won the SCCA World Championship in 1997 using the NSX and Integra, proving the cars’ performance chops. In the 2000s, the brand even developed its own LMP1 car, which raced admirably in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. More recently, an ILX raced in the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, won in its class, and came in 8th place overall.
And the NSX was the world’s first supercar you could use daily.
The first car to be classified as a supercar was the Lamborghini Miura, in 1966. From that point, there have been many supercars, and most of them Italian. While they were all undoubtedly very fast, beautiful and exotic, you couldn’t really use them as a daily-driver. They had poor reliability, running costs were exorbitant and they weren’t practical.
And then in 1990, the Acura NSX arrived.
Just like the Italian stallions, it was mid-engined and aerodynamic. It could reach speeds greater than 300 km per hour and rev to 8,300 rpm. However, unlike its Italian competitors, it was reliable, easy to use, had good visibility and didn’t require a second mortgage to maintain.
This brand’s entry into the market was earth-shaking. So profound was the entry of Honda’s luxury division that it shook the automobile market like few other innovations had done earlier; more than anything else, it showed that a Japanese brand too, was capable of competing with European and American brands when it came to luxury automobiles. It permanently altered the image of Japanese cars being models that were economical and targeted at the lower middle income consumer. Acura’s history was now firmly in place.
The story of how Acura was created, launched and then grew into a major force in a competitive marketplace is a compelling testament not just to the company’s products, but to the people who had the foresight to establish the first premium Japanese luxury car brand. History shows that Acura not only redefined the luxury car, it permanently changed the luxury marketplace from a slow evolution among a handful of brands to fierce competition between many. While today Japanese luxury brands are taken for granted, this was not the case in the early 1980s, when the groundbreaking Legend sedan was still on the drawing board.
Acura is the luxury vehicle division of Honda, launched in March of 1986. While Honda was already a successful auto manufacturer in the 1980s, the Acura brand was an opportunity to show they could make luxurious and high-tech vehicles to appeal to the American market. Acura was and continues to be at the leading edge of Honda innovation. Acura was the first Japanese luxury manufacturer in the US, and its history is full of firsts.
The Acura Plan
The early 1980s were a tumultuous time for the U.S. car market. Gas shortages, economic malaise and new government regulations from the 1970s caused an upheaval in the public’s buying habits and the products available to the public changed dramatically. Small was big and Japanese manufacturers such as Honda had forged reputations of reliability, economical operation and low price that were the envy of many competitors. Even the least expensive Honda offered a unique and fun driving experience, and the company’s reputation for reliability was second to none. Honda had also established a record of technological innovation (such as the CVCC engine) that consumers embraced— and that sent competitors back to the drawing boards.
The success Honda had enjoyed was emblematic of these changes. With the right product (the groundbreaking Civic) at the right time (the gas crisis of the early 70s), Honda sales growth had been phenomenal. Subsequent models such as the Accord and Prelude proved Honda had more than just good timing going for it. Following its philosophy of assembling cars where it sells them, Honda embarked on an ambitious plan to begin assembling cars in the United States and broke ground on a new plant in Ohio in 1980.
As work began on the Marysville, Ohio manufacturing plant, there were signs of change in the car market. The economy was improving, and luxury cars were starting to increase in sales volume. Manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi captured the public’s eye with aerodynamic designs that eschewed the chrome and excess of American luxury cars of the 1960s and 1970s. With a blend of luxury and performance, European manufacturers began to chip away at the high end of the market as America’s middle class expanded and found themselves with more discretionary income than they could have dreamed of a few years earlier.
Since Acura’s arrival in the United States in 1986, and a year later in Canada, Canadians have purchased around 500,000 vehicles of the brand. This number is impressive and shows that two characteristics are behind this bold ascension, namely the performance and the luxury that are at the rendezvous since the beginning of the adventure. At Acura Canada, all our vehicles are certified and rigorously inspected before being put on the market. Certified Acura means that the Japanese manufacturer does not skimp on anything and offers you what is best in terms of luxury and high performance vehicle.
Since 1986, Acura has come a long way. Initially launched on the North American market, the first Acura models were soon found on other continents and countries, especially China, Russia, Kuwait and also Mexico. We could ask ourselves this question: why not in Japan in the first place? The answer resides in the financial crisis of 2008, which shook this country and led the Japanese manufacturer to bet on other markets before launching its car in its own. This initiative has paid off, since Acura is now largely regarded as the leading brand of Japanese luxury cars out of the Japanese market.
Over the years, Acura has become a leader, easily competing in the North American market with local brands such as Cadillac and Lincoln, but also German ones such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes. But there is another characteristic that has marked the rise of this premium brand: Acura was able to foresee the potential in the US and Canadian markets.
In the 1990s, the Legend was the first model of this manufacturer, and it immediately conquered the market. Then, the NSX was a hit celebrated by thousands of consumers. The designers of the Acura NSX have done a fantastic job and nowadays, no one can doubt the many talents of the Japanese manufacturers’ personnel.
In the 2000s, innovations multiplied, showing the Japanese ingenuity at its best. Among the models we know and see every day on our roads, we can mention the Acura MDX, the Acura TSX, the Acura RDX and the TL and CL versions, which marked the entry on the market Honda’s first all-wheel drive and turbocharged engine.
But the story does not end with these models. Indeed, more recently we can see that the RLX, ILX and TLX models bring even more innovations in terms of design (LED headlights, more aerodynamic models, etc.) and mechanical engineering (with its twin turbo engines, 9-speed transmission with double gear, etc.)
If the past is any indication of the future, the Acura brand is there for many years, because Acura, has managed to stand out at every occasion for over thirty years. By its simple but yet avant-garde mechanics, the Acura brand is reliable, efficient and powerful. In addition, it produces beautiful and very luxurious cars.