On November 14, 2020, the IMSA Weathertech Championship final took place at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Florida. While Team Penske’s ARX-05 #6 climbs to the second step of the podium and allows Acura to win the Manufacturers’ title, the duo Hélio Castroneves & Ricky Taylor, at the wheel of the #7, wins the title of IMSA Driver Champions 2020. With two points ahead of their closest pursuers, and the crowning of the Teams standings, this 2020 season will have kept all its promises.
For the last of the season, the 12 Hours of Sebring race fully fulfilled its contract with a final rich in twists and turns and brawls. While the two Acura ARX-05s experience varying fortunes, each is rewarded in its own way after an intense and unpredictable season.
If the #6 ARX-05 of Juan Pablo Montoya, Dane Cameron and Simon Pagenaud finished in second place, she could have hoped to win the race with some superb stints before being caught by an opponent. However, this second place is synonymous with the Acura Manufacturers’ ranking, the second in a row.
As for the #7, which started from pole position, it led the race for a few laps before being forced to return to the pits following a problem with the interchange. Despite a good comeback, the trio Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi passed the checkered flag in eighth place, enough for the first two cited to be IMSA Driver Champions 2020. They succeed their teammates Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya.
This success rewards a partnership between Acura-HPD, Team Penske and ORECA Technology, which started in 2017. After the development started in July, Team Penske’s first race start with the ORECA 07 at the Petit Le Mans of that same year, the Acura ARX-05 debuted at Daytona in January 2018.
In three seasons and 30 races (1 in LMP2 – 29 in DPi), this fruitful partnership totals:
– 8 wins in DPi,
– 13 poles (1 in LMP2 – 12 in DPi)
– 6 titles (2 drivers, 2 teams, 2 manufacturers)
If this title is Team Penske’s 40th, it’s Helio Castroneves’s first with the US team. A title with a special flavor for the Brazilian driver, since after 20 years of working with Team Penske and three Indy 500 victories, the 12 Hours of Sebring race was his last with the team.
For ORECA Technology, this is the second IMSA title alongside Team Penske; pride and satisfaction in a mission accomplished.
“Sebring marked the end of a great chapter with Team Penske, with the IMSA titles in DPi at stake. That was the main goal of this race, which has been the hallmark of the season: unpredictable and breathless, but no one ever gave up. We are happy and proud to have worked closely with Team Penske over these three full seasons. The program started with a pole position in LMP2 and it ends with new championship titles with the Acura ARX-05, after those acquired in 2019. It is also a necessarily special moment to see Helio Castroneves be champion with Ricky Taylor. Such a deserved award for an incredible pilot with unique motivation and enthusiasm. It was an exciting challenge, with a team of a very high level in a championship of great quality and with rare intensity. The program continues with HPD and the Acura ARX-05 and we hope our paths cross again with Team Penske. Thank you to all of the team members, as well as the drivers, for their trust and the relationships we have been able to build over the past few years.“Anthony Megevand, Head of Customer Competition at ORECA
In the LMP2 category, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports came out on top and won the Teams and Drivers titles for the second year in a row.