Montoya Sends Fast Reminder Not to Overlook No. 6 Acura in Opening Practice
Juan Pablo Montoya sent a message Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course: Don’t forget about the reigning champions in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class.
Montoya, the 2019 DPi champion with teammate Dane Cameron, logged the fastest flying lap in opening practice Friday evening for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio. On his final tour around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course, Montoya put in a sizzling effort of one minute, 13.057 seconds (111.266 mph) in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi.
It bettered by 0.236 seconds the lap of Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi. The tight DPi competition was evidenced by the top seven cars coming within nine-tenths of a second of each other.
The No. 6 Acura has yet to log a podium finish this season, but Montoya thinks the twists and turns of Mid-Ohio suit his car.
“It was good,” he said of his fast lap. “We had some issues there. I think I got like six laps in the car only, so I was pretty happy with that. (The track) seems to suit the car. It’s the better racetrack that our car tends to really handle better than the others.
“Being a handling racetrack, we normally run pretty decent. It seems like everybody is really close. With the slippery racetrack, it makes it really, really difficult.”
The competition was even tighter in GT Daytona (GTD) practice, with the first nine cars separated by less than a half second. Bill Auberlen, the all-time leader in IMSA race wins with 61, topped the class chart with a lap of 1:21.861 (99.829 mph) in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.
Corvette Racing owned honors in GT Le Mans (GTLM) practice. Antonio Garcia was quick in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at 1:19.690 (102.005 mph), three-tenths of a second ahead of teammate Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette.
Teams have one more chance to dial in their cars with a final practice at 10:55 a.m. ET Saturday. Qualifying to set the starting grid begins at 8 a.m. Sunday and streams live on IMSA.com.
Live race coverage streams at 2 p.m. Sunday on the NBC Sports App, NBCSports.com and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. Television coverage airs at 11 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN.
KohR Motorsport’s Speed Continues in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Mid-Ohio; JDC-Miller Leads the Way in TCR
KohR Motorsports has been a familiar name at the top of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge leaderboard in 2020. That continued Friday following two practice sessions at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Ahead of a doubleheader weekend featuring two-hour races on Saturday and Sunday, Kyle Marcelli was quickest of the day in the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4. His time of one minute, 27.457 seconds (92.46 mph) came during the final practice of the day in advance of Race 1 qualifying at 8 a.m. ET Saturday.
Marcelli – whose co-driver Nate Stacy has earned the Motul Pole Award in two of the last three Pilot Challenge races, at Road America and VIRginia International Raceway – was 0.097 seconds quicker than Trent Hindman, who led Practice 1 in the No. 7 Archangel Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. Hindman and co-driver Alan Brynjolfsson are defending winners of the Mid-Ohio 120, one year after Stacy and Marcelli were victorious at the track in Lexington, Ohio.
In the TCR class, the No. 54 Audi RS3 LMS TCR for JDC-Miller Motorsports reigned supreme in both practice sessions. Stephen Simpson’s best time of the day came during morning practice at 1:29.715 (90.606 mph). Simpson topped the chart in Practice 2, just 0.114 seconds off his morning pace. Simpson returns with fulltime co-driver Michael Johnson this weekend at Mid-Ohio.
In Practice 1, Tim Lewis Jr. was second on the charts behind Simpson in the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR, while Ryan Eversley was second quickest in Practice 2 in the No. 77 L.A. Honda World Honda Civic TCR.
Both IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge races will stream live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. Race 1 goes green at 1:05 p.m. ET Saturday, with Race 2 set for 10:35 a.m. Sunday.
Grant Collects Second Pole Position of 2020 in Prototype Challenge Qualifying
David Grant controlled IMSA Prototype Challenge qualifying Friday afternoon at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, putting the No. 40 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30 on the pole for the second time in five tries thus far in 2020.
Grant sat at the top of the scoring pylon for most of the 15-minute session, laying down the pole-winning lap of one minute, 20.595 seconds (100.859 mph) with just under six minutes left. Dom Cicero came close with a late run at 1:20.689 (100.742 mph) in the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P3 that secured the outside of Row 1 on the starting grid for Saturday’s race.
“The track wasn’t as good this afternoon as it was earlier in the day (in practice), but the car really set up well and we tested here well and we’ve been really strong all weekend,” Grant said. “We went out (in qualifying) and the car was pushing really bad at first, then it came back under us as the session went on and I was able to lay down the lap.”
Grant also was the pole winner at Road America earlier this season, when he and brother Keith Grant drove to a third-place finish, their best race result this year.
Naveen Rao qualified fourth in the No. 64 K2R Motorsports Norma. Rao and teammate Matthew Bell lead the Prototype Challenge standings after four of six events, holding a nine-point advantage over Dakota Dickerson, the 2019 Mid-Ohio winner and co-driver of the No. 54 with Cicero.
Saturday’s one hour, 45-minute race will stream live beginning at 4:45 p.m. ET on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
Dickinson Nabs Another Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Pole Position
Much like Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta earlier this month, Riley Dickinson will lead the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama field to the green flag at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after earning the pole position on Friday evening.
In the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, Dickinson’s flying lap of 1 minute, 25.126 (95.491 mph) came with four minutes remaining in the 15-minute session. He stole the top spot from Jeff Kingsley in the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche, who to that point led the entire session, in addition to both practices earlier in the day.
“Quite honestly, the whole day was really leading up to that,” said Dickinson, who is nine points in arrears of Kingsley in the Platinum Cup point standings after the two drivers split the victories at Michelin Raceway three weeks ago. “It was a team effort. They were here constantly working throughout both practice sessions.
“We were quite a bit off, so after the second practice session we made a few adjustments and we were able to come out for qualifying and be faster,” Dickinson added. “For a while, I was just trying to adapt to the changes and get back on it. Once the tires came in, I was able to lay down the fast lap. Overall, it was a great day, a great session as well. I can’t thank Moorespeed enough for giving me a great car.”
Starting first among the Gold Cup cars for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2014 and 2016 will be Bart Collins in the No. 22 MCR Racing machine. Collins’ time of 1:27.992 (92.380 mph) was quick enough to land him on the class pole position for the first time this season.
All three Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama races from Mid-Ohio this weekend can be streamed live on IMSA.com. The first two races are set for Saturday at 9:50 a.m. ET and 3:35 p.m., with the finale at 9:20 a.m. Sunday.