Thomas Snares First MX-5 Cup Win of 2021
By Mark Robinson
Acura Sports Car Challenge: Official Starting Grid
LEXINGTON, Ohio – Acura’s bid to stretch its Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course winning streak to four received a boost in Sunday morning’s warmup for the Acura Sports Car Challenge Presented by the TLX Type S later in the day.
Dane Cameron was fastest in the 20-minute final practice, with a lap of 1 minute, 13.047 seconds (111.281 mph) in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 DPi. Acuras have won the last three IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races at Mid-Ohio, including in 2019 when Cameron teamed with Juan Pablo Montoya to win in an Acura Team Penske entry.
Tristan Vautier in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling/JDC Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi V.R, coming off a win in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts, was second in the warmup at 1:13.812 (110.128 mph). The No. 5 and No. 60, along with the No. 01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac, will start from the rear of the DPi field after all three teams opted to change the set of Michelin tires on which they’ll start the race from those used in qualifying. The No. 01 starts fourth, the No. 5 fifth and the No. 60 sixth. The No. 60 also underwent an engine change.
Other class leaders in the warmup were: Oliver Askew in Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3), with a lap of 1:18.606 (103.411 mph) in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320; and Zach Veach in GT Daytona (GTD), with a lap of 1:21.883 (99.273 mph) in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. Lexus entries have won the past three Mid-Ohio GTD races, with Vasser Sullivan fielding the 2019 and ’20 winners.
The No. 91 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 will slide to the fifth spot in the six-car LMP3 grid for also changing its race start tires. The No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier will go off from sixth in LMP3 after it had to change cars following a mechanical issue with its primary Ligier.
Finally, the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R was moved to the rear of the GTD field when the car violated ride height regulations in post-qualifying inspection. Zacharie Robichon had qualified sixth Saturday in the 13-car GTD field. The No. 44 Magnus with Archangel Acura NSX GT3 will start 12th in GTD after also opting to use different tires for the race start.
Live coverage of the two-hour, 40-minute race, the third event of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, commences at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio (IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com, XM Channel 392, Sirius/XM Internet 992).
Thomas Wins another Mazda MX-5 Cup Thriller
Jared Thomas (No. 96 JTR Motorsport Engineering Mazda MX-5) held off the field in the second race of the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires weekend at Mid-Ohio. Thomas came from sixth on the starting grid to edge teammate Chris Nunes (No. 32 JTR Motorsports Engineering) by 0.158 seconds.
It was the first win of the 2021 season for Thomas and the best finish in eight races this season for Nunes.
Points leader Michael Carter (No. 08 Carter Racing Enterprises) finished seventh and saw his unofficial lead trimmed to just 60 points over Gresham Wagner (No. 5 Spark Performance), who placed third.
A recap of the MX-5 Cup Mid-Ohio weekend airs at 3 p.m. ET Tuesday, May 25 on NBCSN. The series’ next doubleheader round is set for Aug. 6-8 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.