Compass Racing is set to debut its new McLaren in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this weekend. The No. 76 McLaren720S GT3 will be driven by Paul Holton and Matt Plumb in Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge, which will be the manufacturer’s debut in the series.
“We’re right on schedule,” said team owner Karl Thomson. “We’ve always wanted to do the Sprint Cup for our first season in GTD. It’s very hard to start a new program at Daytona with the Rolex 24. We’re managing our expectations for Mid-Ohio. It’s a brand-new car, so our goal is to be competitive and finish the race. I’ll be happy if we finish mid-pack and score some points.”
Compass Racing will continue to campaign its McLaren GT4 in the GS class of the Michelin Pilot Challenge, with Holton and Kuno Witmer co-driving to overall victory in the season-opening race at Daytona.
“We’re going to the races with two separate squads,” Thomson explained. “We’ve got two rigs, two full programs.”
The IMSA Sprint Cup consists of seven non-endurance races within the WeatherTech Championship.
“I think Sprint Cup is a great idea,” Thomson said. “Especially for a team like us, that’s used to doing two to four-hour races. We’re right in our wheelhouse. Two hours, 40 minutes will be a great test for our new car. It’s a nice stepping-stone, and then next year we hope to ladder up to the full WeatherTech schedule.”
Stephen Simpson feels that the biggest key to success on Sunday will be traffic management.
“You don’t want to get stuck behind GTD cars in Turn 4, because you won’t be able to get around until the start-finish line,” Simpson said. “But of course, that’s going to happen to everyone.”
Simpson and Simon Trummer are coming off a fifth-place at Long Beach in the No. 84 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi.
“We’re looking to build on that finish,” he said. “Every time we’ve been at a race weekend, our team is taking steps forward with our new Cadillac.”
Simpson again is doing double duty at Mid-Ohio, joining Michael Johnson in the No. 54 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi RS3 LMS TCR for Saturday’s two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race.
Ben Waddell moves to Ansa Motorsports for this weekend’s IMSA Prototype Challenge competition, joining Jordan Perroy in the No. 13 Invisible Glass Ligier JS P3 for Sunday morning’s race.
He started the year with Forty 7 Motorsports, but never felt comfortable in that team’s Norma chassis.
“I’m a big guy, and I couldn’t really push that car – the steering wheel was hitting my legs and I had trouble turning it. We scrambled to find a Ligier chassis for the next race at Sebring, but sadly, we were unable to. That’s when we put our focus on finding one for Mid-Ohio, and we felt Ansa was the best team with a Ligier car, and would give me the best chance to get on the top step, and win.”
The best finish in four PC races for the 23-year-old Denver driver is fourth at Barber in 2018. Perroy is making his first visit to Mid-Ohio, with the Frenchman’s lone races in the U.S. a pair of Ferrari Challenge events at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
LA Honda World Racing will have a throwback livery for the No. 37 Honda Civic TCR for Saturday’s Michelin Pilot Challenge race.
“This is the original Honda Civic livery that races from 1974 through 1990,” said Tom O’Gorman, who joined Shelby Blackstock in winning the opening two rounds of the season at Daytona and Sebring. “With Honda’s headquarters being so close to here – and the month of May at Indy – Honda thought it would be a neat idea to showcase the original livery.”
Friday’s Mid-Ohio schedule includes opening WeatherTech Championship practice, with the first session broken up into two components. The DPi, LMP2 and GTLM competitors will practice from 10:05-11:05 a.m. ET. The GTD competitors join the session at the 10:20 mark, with Silver/Bronze-rated drivers in GTD running from 11:05-11:20 a.m.
Friday’s second session, for all classes, runs from 3:15-4:15 p.m.
Saturday includes final practice from 8-9 a.m., with qualifying beginning at 11:40 a.m.
The Acura Sports Car Challenge takes the green flag at 1:40 p.m. on Sunday.