Porsche fast on dry, then wet, Friday in Mid-Ohio

May 4, 2018

Porsche fast on dry, then wet, Friday in Mid-Ohio

May 4, 2018

Friday marked the return of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after several years away.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate along the same lines, and briefly stopped play this day in May.

Porsche led both GT Le Mans class practice sessions with its No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, driven by Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor.

The pair of young drivers are both new to the track, although Bamber had the chance to test here several weeks ago as Porsche GT Team prepared for the event.

The one-hour morning session marked the only time the session was dry, and even so, revealed quite a swing in temperatures. Teams here have a big challenge to chase the Mid-Ohio track as it rubbers in more over the course of a session.

Although temperatures began at 71 degrees ambient and 73 on track, by the end of the session, it was up to 81 and 88, respectively.

Bamber’s best time was 1:20.148 at the 2.258-mile circuit. Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia were next in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R, with Jesse Krohn and John Edwards third in the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE. The best Ford GT was the No. 66 car of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller in fifth.

The second practice session featured a delayed start and a red flag for heavy rain and lightning. With times during the session more than 20 seconds off the pace, they were not representative of ultimate pace.

Overall, Acura Team Penske topped the Prototype charts in the two Acura ARX-05s in the first day of running for the Acura Sports Car Challenge.

Interestingly, two GT Daytona class cars got in-between the GTLM class leaders. The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, with Bill Auberlen making his return to that team from his usual GTLM role, was fastest at 1:20.803. Lawson Aschenbach kept Acura in the mix in this class in the No. 93 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3, at 1:20.827.

These two times would have placed the GTD cars fourth and fifth in GTLM.

“The GTD cars are really close on lap times and were in-between us,” explained Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin, who has a win to defend this weekend.

“That will spice the race up. At this place, to get by someone, you have to use a little bit of fender and paint exchange. It’s narrow. It’s tight.

“But you have to work out how to get by. Dive-bombing doesn’t always work. You need to chip away a bit.”

On Saturday, WeatherTech Championship teams practice at 8:35 a.m. and qualify at 12:05 p.m.


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