Wayne Taylor Racing Acura managed by Ricky Taylor and Felipe Albuquerque set the pace in IMSA training on Friday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. (Photo by Dallas Breeze)
STEAM CORNERS, Ohio-Recent history suggests that there are two manufacturer favorites heading to the Lexus Grand Prix in Mid-Ohio, the fifth round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Acura was unbeaten at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during the Daytona Prototype international season in 2018, with Ricky Taylor-currently participating in the No. 1 spot. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 DPi with Filipe Albuquerque-got the total race wins in three of the last four years.
In the GT Daytona class for production-based vehicles made to GT3 international regulations, Lexus has enjoyed similar success. Lexus won its first race at the WeatherTech Championship in Mid-Ohio in 2018, and again won the RC F GT3 in 2019 and ’20 before ending a consecutive streak in second place in 2021.
Acura backed up those statistics in Mid-Ohio on Friday with a 90-minute training session before Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race. Albuquerque cycled the fastest lap of the day, timed to 1 minute, 11.828 seconds (113.170 mph), slightly surpassing No. 60 Meyer-Shank Racing with the Curb-Agajanian Acura driven by Tom Blomqvist (1: 11.904/113.050 mph).
Taylor and Albuquerque will emerge from a victory in the final event at the WeatherTech Championship two weeks ago at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, where Albuquerque anchored the win in a tight duel until the end with Blomqvist.
The two Acura teams entered the Mid-Ohio weekend deadlocked at the top of the DPi point standings. Taylor acknowledged that Acura needs to capitalize on weekends like this against their competitors from Cadillac.
“For Acura, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio and Road America are the places we really need to do our job to get the most points possible,” Taylor said.
“This is a replay of the game plan from Laguna. We need to win the race and get the most points again because when we get to Detroit, we expect it to come back in the other direction.
Jarvis, Blomqvist’s co-driver at No. 60 MSR Acura, shares the same mindset.
“It’s important that we capitalize on the tracks that suit Acura and come out with the highest score,” Jarvis said. “This is the home race of (team co-owner) Mike Shank, and surprisingly, the team has not won here. We want to fix that, Tom and myself. ”
Earl Bamber was the fastest of the four Cadillacs on Friday, with a lap of 1: 12.330 (112.384 mph) at No. 02 Cadillac Accessories entry powered by Chip Ganassi Racing.
In the GTD, two-time Mid-Ohio winner Jack Hawksworth set the pace at No. 17 Vasser Sullivan Lexus until Robby Foley’s late lap at No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M4 GT3 that stole the class award. Foley’s effort was clocked at 1: 21.220 (100.083 mph).
Bryan Sellers was third fastest at No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3, along with Aaron Telitz-who won with Hawksworth at Mid-Ohio in 2020-fourth at No. 12 Lexus.
In the Le Mans Prototype 2 class, Ryan Dalziel took over at the top of the timing chart with just six minutes left in training. His lap of 1: 13.478 (110.628 mph) at No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA LMP2 07 is 0.407 seconds better than Jonathan Bomarito at No. 11 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsport ORECA.
At Le Mans Prototype 3, Colin Braun set the benchmark with a 1: 17.603 (104.748 mph) effort on the CORE Autosport Ligier JS P320.