Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Acuras Sweep Friday Practices


Juan Pablo Montoya led the way in the second hourlong IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, lapping 0.130 seconds quicker than teammate Helio Castroneves to secure a sweep of Friday’s sessions for Acura and Team Penske.

IMSA delayed the start of the session as a storm moved into the area. With cars struggling for grip, the green flag eventually flew and stayed out for a period before the rain began falling harder and the red flag brought the field to pit lane.

Montoya’s 1:36.867 lap, coming on the 10th of just 14 revolutions of the 2.258-mile racetrack for the No. 6 Acura ARX-05, was more than 23 seconds slower than the pace that allowed the Acura DPi duo to finish 1-2 in Practice 1.

Jordan Taylor drives Cadillac DPi during rain at Mid-Ohio
Jordan Taylor was the fastest non-Acura driver in the soaked second practice at Mid-Ohio. | Photo: Richard Dole / IMSA

Already slow due to the wet track surface, Practice 2 was interrupted once again when Felipe Nasr ran off at Turn 6 in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.

Behind Montoya and Castroneves of the Acura duo were Jordan Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque of the other two Cadillac DPi cars present. Taylor was only 0.218 seconds back from the Acuras while Albuquerque and the No. 5 Action Express Cadillac were more than a second back.

Jonathan Bomarito, the 10th-fastest Prototype driver, was 6.333 seconds off Montoya’s pace in the drenched session.

Vanthoor Extends Porsche Speed

After Earl Bamber topped the class on Friday morning, his co-driver Laurens Vanthoor put the Porsche GT Team’s No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR back on top in GT Le Mans during the day’s second session.

The second-fastest car carried over from the opening session of the weekend as well, with Antonio Garcia placing the No. 3 Corvette Racing entry back in second, half a second slower than Vanthoor.

Porsche 911 RSR practicing in GTLM at Mid-Ohio
Co-drivers Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor traded fastest laps in Friday’s two practice sessions at Mid-Ohio. | Photo: Jake Galstad / IMSA

Oliver Gavin in the second Corvette C7.R was third quickest, with Alexander Sims and Nick Tandy rounding out the top five in the Nos. 25 and 911 BMW M8 GTE and Porsche cars, respectively.

Riley Finds Top of GTD

The fastest two cars in the GT Daytona division were much closer, with Jeroen Bleekemolen of Riley Motorsports gapping SunEnergy1 Racing’s Maro Engel by a mere 0.032 seconds.

Behind those cars, the only two Mercedes-AMG GT3s in the field, Justin Marks of Meyer Shank Racing was the third-quickest GTD driver. Marks and the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 were 1.297 seconds off Bleekemolen’s pace and split by three cars from other classes on the overall results sheet.

Alessandro Balzan and Andy Lally comprised the remainder of the top five for Scuderia Corsa and Magnus Racing, adding Ferrari 488 GT3 and Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars to the group.

A third and final one-hour practice session is next for the trio of WeatherTech Championship classes at Mid-Ohio. That outing will begin at 8:35 a.m. EDT Saturday and will be followed by qualifying from 12:05–1:20 p.m.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant
Aaron Durant leads The Apex as its editor-in-chief. When not bringing his racing journalism vision to life at The Apex, Durant enjoys snowboarding, playing the drums, reading and trudging through an endless queue of podcasts.


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