Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Acura Opens Mid-Ohio Weekend on Top


Ricky Taylor and Juan Pablo Montoya set the fastest two laps in the first practice session for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s return to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, placing both Acura ARX-05 cars atop the timesheet.

Taylor turned a 1:13.601 on the No. 7 Acura DPi’s 13th of 35 total trips around the 2.258-mile permanent road course during the hourlong Friday morning outing.

Though he was the session’s second-fastest driver to ensure the sweep for Acura and Team Penske, Montoya was nearly half a second off Taylor’s impressive pace. Filipe Albuquerque, sharing Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R with former Mid-Ohio winner Joao Barbosa, was third quickest but a full second slower than Taylor.

Simon Trummer owned the fastest lap for much of the first half of Practice 1 in the No. 85 ORECA 07 of JDC-Miller Motorsports and ultimately settled for fourth on the timesheet as the top LMP2 driver. Felipe Nasr, at 1.140 seconds off Taylor’s pace, rounded out the top five in Action Express’ No. 31 Cadillac DPi.

Bamber Leads Mixed GTLM Field

Earl Bamber led the way in GT Le Mans, turning a 1:20.148 lap in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR to lead a diverse top three in the class.

Jan Magnussen and Jesse Krohn, at 0.319 and 0.556 seconds back from Bamber, respectively, added Corvette Racing and BMW Team RLL machinery to the mix. The Ford GT duo ended Practice 1 fourth and sixth, split by the second Corvette C7.R, with the other BMW M8 GTE rounding out the eight-car class.

Auberlen Fastest in Turner Return

Bill Auberlen pedaled Turner Motorsport’s No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 to the top of the GT Daytona category to begin the Mid-Ohio weekend, which marks his first drive with the team in five years.

Bill Auberlen racing Turner Motorsport BMW at Mid-Ohio
While the fastest Prototype and GTLM cars were split by more than 6.5 seconds, Auberlen was within 0.655 seconds of the leading GTLM time. | Photo: Jake Galstad / IMSA

At 1:20.803, the former full-time BMW driver in GTLM went quicker than five of the eight cars in the premier GT division, gapping Lawson Aschenbach in Meyer Shank Racing’s No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 by a mere 0.024 seconds.

Both of 3GT Racing’s Lexus RC F GT3 entries were next on the timesheet, filling the third and fourth slots ahead of Bryan Sellers’ best lap in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3. This top five was split by 0.665 seconds.

The WeatherTech Championship will take the track one more time on Friday for a second one-hour practice session, beginning at 3 p.m. EDT.

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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