BMW Team RLL made full use of its home field advantage to qualify first and third for tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.
John Edwards, driving the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE, scored his first pole of the season and the fourth BMW Team RLL pole of his career today with a 1:17.853 minute lap around the Mid-Ohio circuit. Edwards will co-drive with Jesse Krohn tomorrow. Only .079 seconds behind his teammate Alexander Sims drove the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE to the third starting spot with a 1:17.932 minute lap. Sims will co-drive with Connor De Phillippi tomorrow. The entire GTLM field qualified within six-tenths-of-a-second to predict a very exciting race.
BMW NA Ambassador Bill Auberlen will be co-driving the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 with 2017 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Grand Sport (GS) champion Dillon Machavern in tomorrow’s race. Machavern qualified the car in the fifth starting spot.
“This is certainly a nice turnaround from Long Beach, isn’t it?”, said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “ I think both cars are working really well on the Michelins but it is going to be very close tomorrow and we cannot relax. It is going to be nice to start at the top as this is a tough track with only two legitimate passing places, turn 1 and 3 and that’s it. Getting through traffic is going to be very important tomorrow.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P1): “I had a Facebook reminder this morning that it has been a year to the day since my last pole (COTA, 2017) so I guess I had a little extra motivation today to go out and do it. It was a very tight session and it is going to be a very tough fight tomorrow. With traffic, you never know what is going to happen so when we start catching up GTD cars and Prototype cars start catching us it’s going to throw a wrench into the works. With rain predicted towards the end of the race, nothing is a given but it is very nice to be starting out front.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “This is my first time at Mid-Ohio and that always makes it difficult to show up and get everything perfect. The team gave me a lot of motivation to go out and qualify well. The practice laps on Friday helped. The car felt very nice in qualifying and I was able to get a sensible lap in even with the door coming loose. A solid job by everyone!”
Strong Qualifying for Meyer Shank Racing at Mid-Ohio
After getting a quick start to the Acura Sports Car Challenge weekend, Meyer Shank Racing is looking forward to racing in front of the home crowd at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday (LIVE FS2 1:00 p.m. ET).
Both Meyer Shank Racing Acura entries produced strong qualifying runs and will start fourth (No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 of Katherine Legge and Alvaro Parente) and sixth (No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 of Justin Marks and Lawson Aschenbach) on the grid.
The race weekend is the first at Mid-Ohio for the team since 2013 and is just down the road from the team base outside of Columbus. A two-car campaign, with a pair of incredible Acura NSX GT3 entries, the team has a strong line up of drivers with a stout history at the natural terrain circuit. Parente and Aschenbach hold multiple class wins in Pirelli World Challenge competition at Mid-Ohio while Marks scored an impressive NASCAR Xfinity win at the rain-soaked track in 2016.
Qualifying driver for the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3, Marks, showed a strong pace throughout each of the three practice sessions leading up to the 15-minute qualifying run. As the team was locked and loaded, Marks hovered in the top-3 throughout most the session but was bumped to sixth in the closing moments of the session. Marks set a fast lap of 1:20.477-seconds.
“I thought it was on ok run for us,” explained Marks. “If it gets wet tomorrow, then we are okay. I am happy with the effort of our team and we’ve got a pretty great car to work with. Between Lawson (Aschenbach) and I, we have some strong history at the track and I’m confident we can get a good result tomorrow.”
The team’s sister car – No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 – which was qualified by Legge, was primed for a strong qualifying run. Legge put down consistent lap times during her 15-minute run and was able to score fourth on the grid with a 1:19.933-seconds lap.
“Qualifying went pretty well,” said Legge. “I think we legitimately should have been P3 but we got blocked out there and got shuffled back to fourth. We have a really great car and I’m excited to see what kind of result we can get tomorrow, especially if it rains.”
With weather that may produce a rain-soaked race tomorrow, the Meyer Shank Racing drivers are confident in the speed of the Acura NSX GT3 in wet conditions – the No. 93 won the 6-hours of Watkins Glen in the rain last year. And if it remains dry, the example of the 2017 No. 93 victory in dry conditions at Detroit is another strong reference point.
On top of an already exciting homecoming for the team, it will also be hosting a large crowd of family and corporate guests including members from CAP Fixtures, Roberts Service Group and Rocky Fork Company. Many of the team’s local sponsors first began their partnership with the team on Mid-Ohio grounds.
“Getting to race back at Mid-Ohio is really something special,” said Mike Shank. “This track holds so many memories for us and to get to race in front of all of our sponsors that have ultimately helped us get here is really cool. Qualifying went ok and I think we have two good cars under us tomorrow. The weather is tricky but all of the drivers have such a good record here, I’m feeling really confident.”
Source. Sunday Group
WeatherTech Racing to Start IMSA Mid-Ohio Eighth
WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Alessandro Balzan (Italy) will start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio from the fourth row in GTD tomorrow.
The team soldiered through mixed practice conditions on Friday. The weather in central Ohio went from sun to rain mixed with heavy winds. The Scuderia Corsa prepared Ferrari 488 GT3 with MacNeil and Balzan at the wheel had the team trying many different set-up combinations, which will be key for the race tomorrow as there is the possibility of rain in the forecast.
MacNeil had the wheel of the black and white WeatherTech Ferrari for the 15-minute qualifying session today. He was able to make a last lap run to the checkered flag and post his fastest lap of the weekend, 1:20.846.
“Qualifying was fun,” MacNeil said. “The WeatherTech Ferrari was pretty good. It got better and better as the session went on. My fastest lap was the last one of the session. By then I had lost the best of the tire, but still was able to improve on my lap time and we will be starting from row four. I am looking forward to improving a few positions during my starting stint.”
“Cooper did a good job in qualifying,” Balzan said “The conditions were different for each of the three practice sessions this weekend, with rain, cold and sun. We didn’t test here prior to this weekend, but the Scuderia Corsa team is doing a good job with the car. The WeatherTech Ferrari was very good in the rain yesterday. The car is good on tires, we just have to get all of the temperatures just right. I think we will be able to run a nice consistent pace throughout our stints tomorrow.
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing
CORVETTE RACING AT MID-OHIO: Ready to Charge… Rain or Shine
With an eye toward a questionable raceday forecast, Corvette Racing will head into the Acura Sports Car Challenge at MidOhio prepared for both a dry and wet race. The two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs will start from the third and fourth rows of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans (GTLM) field.
The team’s task of winning for the ninth time at MidOhio is not an impossible one. Corvette Racing won in its last appearance at the 2.25mile, 13turn circuit in 2012 with Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner coming from sixth place to do it.
Saturday, Antonio Garcia qualified fifth in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R at 1:18.114 (104.063 mph) while Milner wasn’t far off at 1:18.452 (103.614 mph) in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette. Garcia will drive with Jan Magnussen, and Milner is back at MidOhio with Gavin.
While the qualifying positions aren’t ideal, there is the knowledge that Corvette Racing is confident in both its dry and wetweather setups. Friday’s two practice sessions were run in mostly rainy – and windy – conditions while Saturday stayed dry for final practice and qualifying.
Sunday’s forecast calls for dry conditions early with an increasing likelihood of rain in the afternoon… just as the twohour, 40minute race will enter its closing stages.
A victory would be the 108th for the Corvette Racing program and its 100th in North America.
Corvette Racing is in the midst of its 20th season of global competition. MidOhio is one of 21 tracks where the team has claimed at least one victory.
The Acura Sports Car Challenge at MidOhio will air live at 1 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 2 and the FOX Sports Go app. Streaming incar footage along with live audio coverage of practice, qualifying and the race from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED FIFTH IN GTLM: “I did so many laps exactly the same that it was a bit annoying. It felt like no matter what I tried, the lap time was the same. So far the weekend has been reasonable. We have been reacting to the track a little bit, and we don’t know how it will develop like we do at other tracks where we have been often. I’m not happy with the result but I think we are close enough to be competitive tomorrow.
(Rain chances) “That always seems to be a question mark about this track: when it will rain, how hard it will rain and for how long. We cannot do anything about that except react to it and be in the right spot.”
TOMMY MILNER, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED EIGHTH IN GTLM: “A lot of people, like us, haven’t been here in awhile. We seem to have a bit of a struggle with car balance. We are throwing big changes at it to try and improve. We made another big jump there in qualifying but obviously not enough. We’ll keep working at it. I feel like we are sort of headed in the right direction, so that is good. We haven’t lost ourselves yet… we are making steady progress. Our position isn’t ideal but the pace isn’t that far off, knowing how the car felt in qualifying. It felt to me like there should and could be more performance in the car. We just need to find it and unlock it.”
Source. Corvette Racing
Paul Miller Racing Secures Second Row Starting Position in Ohio
Under clear weather conditions Saturday afternoon at Mid-Ohio SportsCar Course, American race car driver Madison Snow qualified the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing TOTAL USA/UIS Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in third place, setting a second row starting position for Sunday’s race. Snow and co-driver Bryan Sellers hold the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship points lead in the GTD class heading into round three, the Acura SportsCar Challenge.
Snow ran a total of seven laps in the fifteen minute session, setting a fast lap of 1:19.882. Lexus locked out the front row, with the No. 15 of Jack Hawksworth and the No. 14 Kyle Marcelli qualifying 0.5 seconds ahead.
“It was a good session, and we’re happy with where we are,” said Snow. “We improved five tenths off of where we were in practice, and were able to get the car in the best spot we could find for qualifying. We were able to run that qualifying lap over and over again, which may have not been good for pole position, but that’s the kind of consistence we want to be able to show during the race.”
“Madison did a great job,” said Sellers. “That was everything I think we could have gotten out of the car. I think the Lexus has everyone on outright speed, now we just have to see if we can last the duration of the race tomorrow. We’re in a good place, we just have to see how it unfolds from here.”
Source. Paul Miller Racing
Cadillac Racing Team Konica Minolta to Start Mid-Ohio Fourth
Cadillac V-Performance Racing team Konica Minolta will start tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio from the second row.
Midway through the 15-minute qualifying session Renger Van Der Zande, No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, was running second. By the end he was relegated to fourth and will start the two-hour-and-forty-five-minute race from the outside of the second row. The Cadillac V8 has been further restricted since the last race at Long Beach allowing less air into the engine affecting overall performance. Van Der Zande posted a time of 1:12.600 on his seventh lap of the 2.25-mile, 13-turn Mid-Ohio natural terrain road course.
Starting directly behind the 10 will be Joao Barbosa, who had the wheel of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R. He was able to post a lap time of 1:12.943 on his last lap of the session. The time puts him and Filipe Albuquerque in sixth. Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R put in a lap of 1:13.583 that will have he and Felipe Nasr starting from the sixth row on the 14 car prototype grid.
With the possibility of rain in the forecast for tomorrow’s race, Van Der Zande and Jordan Taylor will take the green flag from the second row for the 1 p.m. start.
“I think it was quite a maximum lap I did – there was not much more,” Van Der Zande said, the Dutch driving veteran who will make his first career start at Mid-Ohio. “The team set-up the Cadillac during free practice really well. We made some big steps forward and I think we picked up a lot of grip on an otherwise low-grip track. So, hats off to the team. We’re best of the rest, I guess. Let’s try and get on the podium tomorrow. You never know what’s going to happen. Let’s fight for the win, but a podium would be nice if you look at who’s in front of us.”
Barbosa and Albuquerque, winners at the Rolex 24 Hours and Long Beach, are poised to continue their strong start to the season and improve on their championship points lead.
“The race is going to be very interesting and we will be starting right in the middle of the mix,” Barbosa said. “It’s a long race and anything can happen. Our Cadillac is pretty good on long runs, so we will have to stay patient and see what we have for the race since this is not an easy place to overtake. A lot is going to come down to traffic and traffic management without losing too much time. The Mustang Sampling guys do excellent pit stops. We will be ready for the race. It’s not going to be easy, but I think we will end up having a good result.”
Curran and Nasr will have to come through the field of prototype cars to get to the front around the central Ohio circuit with its signature Key Hole and Carousel turns.
“The car was decent,” Curran said. “We made a lot of changes before qualifying and I think most of them are good. With the rain, we have a little lack of laps, so I wish we had one more session to keep improving the car and keep getting comfortable. It would have been nice to be that quick in practice to be ready for qualifying, but it is what it is. It is a tight group and it will be a competitive race, but I just wish we were further up the pack. I’m ok with whatever the weather turns out to be, but I prefer if it doesn’t rain so we can just keep pounding laps and getting better and better!”
Source. Kyle Chura/ Cadillac Racing
Acura Team Penske Qualifying Report
No. 6 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi – Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya
Time / Speed: 1:12.675 seconds / 111.851 mph
Driver: Dane Cameron
Time / Speed: 1:11.984 seconds / 112.924 mph
No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi – Helio Castroneves/Ricky Taylor
Time / Speed: 1:12.763 seconds / 111.715 mph
Driver: Helio Castroneves
Time / Speed: 1:11.837 seconds / 113.155 mph
Fastest Qualifying Time: 1:11.837 seconds (No. 7 – Castroneves)
Recap: The Team Penske quartet of drivers have served notice to the rest of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship that they will have to go through the pair of Acura Prototypes to win Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The duos of Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya driving the No. 6 ARX-05 DPi, and Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 each took turns at the top of the scoring charts during the three practice sessions leading up to the Saturday afternoon qualifying session. When the dust had settled on the qualifying both Cameron and Castroneves became the only drivers to dip into the 1:11 seconds bracket with Castroneves coming out on top with a lap of 1:11.837 seconds for his first pole position as a member of Acura Team Penske, and the second-consecutive pole for the team following Montoya’s run at Long Beach. Castroneves, who always has a flair for the dramatic, nipped Cameron on the final run of the day as time expired on the session. It will be an all-Acura front row leading the field to the green flag on Sunday, which is about a one-hour drive from the large Honda and Acura manufacturing facilities in Marysville, OH.
Source Acura Team Penske
Porsche 911 RSR starts from the first grid row at Mid-Ohio
At the premiere of the IMSA SportsCar Championship in Mid-Ohio, the best Porsche 911 RSR takes up Sunday’s race from the first grid row. In a hotly contested qualifying on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the time-honoured 3.634-kilometre racetrack in America’s Midwest, Nick Tandy posted the second fastest time in the GTLM class with the #911 Porsche 911 RSR. The Briton was only six-hundredths of a second off pole position. His teammate at round four of North America’s premier sports car race series is Patrick Pilet (France), with whom he won the Sebring twelve-hour classic in March. Earl Bamber (New Zealand) planted the second 911 RSR fielded by the Porsche GT Team on fourth. He shares the cockpit of the #912 car with Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium). A look at the times clocked during qualifying shows just how competitive the strongly represented GTLM class is with four automobiles manufacturers: All eight cars were within just six-tenths of a second.
Steffen Höllwarth, Programme Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship: “As expected, the qualifying was extremely close. Of course, it’s a bit disappointing to set the fastest times in all sessions and then not in qualifying. However, we’re heading into the race feeling positive, after all there’s not much between us and the frontrunner. It’ll certainly be a difficult race, because the track has its own idiosyncrasies when it comes to changing grip conditions. But our car is good over the distance. We’re feeling confident and we’ll attack all-out.”
Nick Tandy (911 RSR #911): “I’m very pleased with this qualifying. The first grid row is a great place to start from. We saw in Sebring that we’re fast with the 911 RSR, particularly over the distance. I’m not worried about the weather, which is often very changeable here. If it rains we switch to wet tyres, if it’s dry we race on slicks. It’s as simple as that.”
Earl Bamber (911 RSR #912): “The team has prepared our 911 RSR very well for the circuit. We definitely have a fast car for the race.”
The race starts on Sunday, 6 May, at 13.05 hrs local time (19.05 hrs CEST) and runs over 2:40 hours. A live broadcast outside the USA can be seen on http://www.imsa.com.
1. Krohn/Edwards (SF/USA), BMW M8, 1:17.853 minutes
2. Tandy/Pilet (GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.066 seconds
3. Sims/de Phillippi (GB/USA), BMW M8, + 0.079
4. Vanthoor/Bamber (B/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.168
5. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.261
6. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, + 0.354
7. Westbrook/Briscoe (GB/USA), Ford GT, + 0.480
8. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette, + 0.599
1. Hawksworth/Heinemeier Hansson (GB/DK), Lexus RC, 1:19.317 minutes
2. Marcelli/Baumann (CAN/A), Lexus RC, + 0.053 seconds
3. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), Lamborghini, + 0.565
7. Long/Nielsen (USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.431
9. Henzler/Schein (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.726
MAZDA SECURES SECOND ROW IN MID-OHIO QUALIFYING
The Mazda Team Joest Mazda RT24-Ps have locked down the second row for Sunday’s IMSA SportsCar Challenge.
In Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session, the No. 77 Castrol/Modspace Mazda RT24-p driven by Oliver Jarvis qualified in third position for Sunday afternoon’s race. The performance matched the team’s best qualifying performance of the season, which was Harry Tincknell’s third-place performance in qualifying at Long Beach. Jarvis, who is making his first appearance at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, proved to be a quick study of the 2.258-mile circuit as he put the Mazda RT24-P up to third position in the closing stages of the fifteen-minute qualifying session. Jarvis will share the car with Tristan Nunez.
Close behind was Jonathan Bomarito, who used a last-lap flyer to vault the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P to fourth position. Encountering traffic throughout the qualifying session, Bomarito found enough free space on the final lap of the fifteen-minute session to finish just 0.257-sec behind Jarvis. Bomarito will share the car in tomorrow’s race with Spencer Pigot.
Mazda Team Joest will look to better its best result of the season in tomorrow’s IMSA SportsCar Challenge, which was a fourth place at the Grand Prix of Long Beach for Jarvis and Nunez.
The IMSA Sports Car Challenge from Mid-Ohio will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 2 on Sunday, May 6 at 1:00 PM ET.
Mazda Team Joest fans can follow the team at @MazdaMotorsports on all social media platforms.
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports
“This whole program is about making steps forward and even though we were a little bit off the mark yesterday, and dealt with some tough weather conditions, we remained calm. We have the right people with the right skillset doing their jobs and this qualifying session is the result. As we brought this new program together, we have tried to put the right pieces of the puzzle together with the right partners. Multimatic is our vehicle dynamics partner, and the engineering support from those guys put us in the right setup window in preparation for today. The two cars and the drivers work together in debriefs and came together with a setup for qualifying. And our drivers went out and did their jobs with the cars properly engineered by Mazda Team Joest. For me, that’s the magic – when it all comes together like that.”
No. 55 Mazda RT24-P
“This was a great performance by Mazda Team Joest to lock out the second row. As a team, we made big gains from the first practice – we didn’t have the best first session, but everybody stayed focused and put their head down. We made some good setup changes for today, the track was better, and we made good progress. The Mazda RT24-P has been very good on the brakes and is inspiring a lot of confidence. The race will be a tough one, there will be lots of traffic, so to be third and fourth today is a great result for Mazda and a good starting point for tomorrow.”
No. 77 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda RT24-P
“I have to say, I’m really pleased. This was the first qualifying of the year for me, and my first time at Mid-Ohio, and I think third was the maximum that we could hope for. We made some incredible improvements and qualifying went very well. We had a tough day yesterday but we stuck at it, we worked at it as a team and I’m really pleased with the performance. We did a lot of preparation before coming here – I spent time on the Multimatic driving simulator and it plays a big role as it allowed me to learn the track before arriving. We are pleased with third place, but we have a long race ahead of us tomorrow and now we’ll focus on that.”
Action Express Racing Ready for Mid-Ohio
Action Express Racing will start the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge from the third (No. 5 No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing DPi-V.R of Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa) and sixth (No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing DPi-V.R of Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran) rows following a 15-minute qualifying session for the fourth round of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition on Saturday.
The Mustang Sampling Racing squad arrives at the natural terrain circuit riding the momentum of victory in the most recent round of IMSA WeatherTech competition in April’s BUBBA Burger Grand Prix at Long Beach. Sunday’s two hour, forty-minute race marks the first IMSA event at Mid-Ohio since 2013, when the team scored victory with drivers Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.
Barbosa took the controls for the qualifying session, and after finding a clear bit of track, worked behind the wheel to improve his times lap after lap. That continued effort saw him clock his quickest flyer on his final lap with a fast time of 1:12.943-seconds to secure sixth on the grid for the defending race winner.
“The race is going to be a very interesting race and we will be starting right in the middle of the mix,” said Barbosa. “It’s a long race and anything can happen. Our Cadillac is pretty good on long runs, so we will have to stay patient and see what we have for the race since this is not an easy place to overtake. A lot is going to come down to traffic and traffic management without losing too much time. The Action Express guys can do excellent pit stops. We will be ready for the race. It’s not going to be easy but I think we will end up having a good result.”
After Friday’s practice sessions were interrupted by rain, and with precipitation possible for Sunday, the Whelen Engineering squad is ready to go for whatever happens on race day no matter the conditions.
“The car was decent,” said Curran. “We made a lot of changes before qualifying and I think most of them are good. With the rain, we have a little lack of laps so far this weekend so I wish we had one more session to keep improving the car and keep getting comfortable. It would have been nice to be that quick in practice to be ready for qualifying, but it is what it is. It is a tight group and it will be a competitive race, but I just wish we were further up the pack. I’m ok with whatever the weather turns out to be, but I prefer if it doesn’t rain so we can just keep pounding laps and getting better and better!”
Source. Sunday Group