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IMSA Petit Le Mans Road Atlanta

How Acura’s GTP wheel loss fix keeps IMSA title dream alive

Acura goes into this weekend’s Petit Le Mans title decider for the IMSA SportsCar Championship determined that it has resolved the wheel loss issue that hampered its campaign.

#60 Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb Agajanian Acura ARX-06: Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-06: Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque

Acura’s ARX-06, built to the new-for-2023 LMDh rules format and featuring an electrical hybrid system, came firing out of the blocks by taking a 1-2 finish in the Daytona 24 Hours.

But it then encountered a mechanical problem that led to its cars shedding left-rear wheels in some subsequent races.

The issues affected Acura in the longer-distance races at Sebring (12 hours) and Watkins Glen (six hours) with the Meyer Shank Racing entry losing its left-rear wheel in the closing stages of the former, while the sister Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport car suffered a similar failure at the latter.

The MSR car was forced to retire on the spot, while the WTR machine rejoined – only to later suffer a brake failure, which team boss Wayne Taylor said was related to the initial problem.

It led to Acura focusing on a fix that Honda Performance Development chief David Salters, who runs the program, believes has prevented the issue from happening again.

“That’s on us, really,” Salters told Autosport. “Not our finest moment, but these things happen. You understand it and you fix it.”

He explained of the issue: “The actual loads that these cars generate are a lot higher than the DPi car, so you need to make sure you do a good job of estimating that.

“We’ve got traction control putting pulses into everything and it was all so new that we’re learning as you go, and you have quality issues linked to that. Amongst all that you can end up with problems and you ignore them at your peril.”

#60 Meyer Shank Racing W/Curb-Agajanian, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Colin Braun, Tom Blomqvist

#60 Meyer Shank Racing W/Curb-Agajanian, Acura ARX-06, GTP: Colin Braun, Tom Blomqvist

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

Despite the issues, WTR’s ultra-consistent Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor are just three points off the lead in the GTP drivers’ and teams’ championships, while Acura is third in the constructors’ points – 61 off leaders Porsche.

Although the Taylor car has yet to win, the Shank-run entry has also taken two race victories, at Daytona and Mosport. And the problem has not reoccurred at recent races.

“We put a lot of effort into fixing it, and plainly it’s not acceptable for it to happen,” added Salters. “But there were some load cases that we hadn’t actually anticipated, they were different from previous experiences, and a few quality issues thrown in here and there.

“You can imagine these parts are made to very high tolerances and you’re trying to minimize weight when you design the car, there’s no excess on a racing car. I guess we slightly stepped over the line and hopefully, now we’ve done enough analysis to pull us back to the other side of that line.”

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