Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global
IMSA Daytona 24 Hours

HPD boss "amazed" by GTP reliability in Rolex 24 at Daytona

The boss of Honda Performance Developments has expressed his amazement at the high levels of reliability demonstrated by the all-new GTP prototypes in last weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona.

David Salters made the remarks after Acura secured a 1-2 finish in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener, with the #60 Meyer Shank Racing ARX-06 leading home the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing example.

Four of the nine GTP cars in the field finished on the lead lap, while six were classified ahead of the best LMP2 runners, defying pre-race predictions from some quarters that poor reliability could allow one of the secondary prototypes to make a bid for overall honors.

Acura's race wasn't without its dramas, with both ARX-06s needing to have their oil topped up at regular intervals in the latter half of the race and the WTR car losing several laps to replace an oil filler bracket before getting back on terms with the leaders thanks to cautions.

But Salters couldn't hide his surprise that the Rolex 24 produced such a close finish in the first race for its new hybrid prototypes.

"Amazed I think is the right word," said Salters. "These are sophisticated cars, and it's not easy for anybody. Trying to fit a hybrid in a place it doesn't want to fit, and it's too hot and it vibrates and all the things you do on a racing car.

"I think it's a testament to each group that they did a really good job, and the suppliers of the hybrid system did a good job. It was a fight all through the race. I did not expect that at all."

He later added: "You would have put quite a lot of money on [the GTP cars being] just staggered – someone is on the lead lap, someone is 10 laps down, and [instead] it came down to the very end.

"I think that's a testament to the skill of the engineers and the technicians that work on these cars. It's astonishing. I'm massively impressed."

 

Acura's reliability had been questioned prior to the race, as the marque had not attempted a full-scale endurance test in the build-up to the Rolex 24, unlike many of its rivals.

Salters revealed that the ARX-06 hadn't run for more than "four or five hours" continuously prior to its triumph, but said the car had nonetheless completed "tens of thousands of miles".

"We did the miles; we just didn't do them all in one hit," said Salters. "We know this game, so we did the miles.

"It's always a balance when you make a car. You're trying to push the development as far as you can, but make sure you make it work.

"I would always go on the side of make the fast car first, so we probably did in one continuous run with the car, four or five hours. But we did lots and lots of that.

"And then on the dyno, we have a full hybrid powertrain. That thing did tens of thousands of miles, and the car did tens of thousands of miles. We just didn't put it all together. But apparently it's OK."

The first race of IMSA's new GTP era was notable for featuring a two-way fight between the two manufacturers that had been part of the previous DPi era, with Porsche and BMW enduring more serious technical problems.

Salters hypothesized that Acura and Cadillac's recent experience allowed them to hit the ground running, but tipped the German marques to join the fight soon.

"I don't know if that's coincidence or not, but between us [and] GM, we're match fit," he said. "We've just come off the end of a pretty hectic season, and back to it.

"That just means the others are coming, and it's going to be amazing, isn't it?"

 

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation
Previous article How MSR took Acura to the first win of sportscar racing's new era
Next article “Proper send-off” for MacNeil after Rolex 24 win in GTD Pro

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global