Team Joest Mazdas turned the fastest laps during Friday afternoon’s second IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice, with speeds climbing throughout the one-hour session after rain finally began to let off shortly before the start of the session.
Oliver Jarvis led the session, running 1m28.158s in the No. 77 Mazda, followed by new teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, 1m28.222s in the No. 55 Mazda on a drying track that still had several tricky areas with standing and running water.
“It was fantastic, my first time behind the wheel in the wet at Mid-Ohio under pretty difficult conditions,” said 2011 Indy 500 winner Hunter-Reay, a late fill-in for Harry Tinckell, who is running in the WEC at Spa. “It was a good session, and it was great to finally get behind the wheel after the morning session was pretty much a washout. But the team made everything happen. Personally, I wish rain would continue throughout the weekend; these Mazdas are really quick in the wet. But we can get the Mazdas quick in the dry as well.”
Teams ran on Michelin rain tires for most of the session due to the tricky conditions – although a few competitors ran on slicks during the final minutes.
One of the drivers making a late dash on slicks was Jack Hawksworth, who not only led the GTD competitors, but ran sixth overall with a late lap of 1m30.190s in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sulliver Lexus RC F GT3.
JDC-Miller Motorsports ran third and fourth overall and in DPi, with Simon Trummer running 1m28.556 in the No. 84 Cadillac, followed by teammate Misa Goikhberg 1m28.941s in the No. 85.
Fifth was Helio Castroneves, 1m29.676s in the No. 7 Penske Racing Acura DPi that brought out a red flag in the opening minutes when co-driver Ricky Taylor got off in Turn 12 and nosed into the tire barrier.
The No. 6 Team Penske Acura was eighth on the chart and 20th overall, but driver Juan Pablo Montoya was pleased after leading the wet morning session with a lap of 1m41.568s.
“We’re still figuring out how we’re going to run the car in the wet,” Montoya said. “We struggled a little bit in Sebring, so we’re trying to figure it out. I think we found a little bit. There’s still a ways to go, but we’re going in the right direction. I think dry conditions will be good for us here. This track is good for Acura, and the dry conditions here suit our car.”
Two leading DPis did not turn a timed lap — the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac.
Nick Tandy paced GTLM with a late lap of 1m32.142s in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, followed by Jesse Krohn, 1m32.905 in the No. 24 BMW M8 GTLM, and Laurens Vanthoor, 1m33.301 in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.
Second in GTD – but 3.164s behind Hawksworth – was Zach Robichon, at 1m33.3534 in the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R, followed by Marco Seefried, with a 1m33.410s in the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Fourth in GTD with a lap of 1m33.483s was Mid-Ohio rookie Mario Farnbacher, whose co-driver Trent Hindman led the class in the morning session (1m46.649s).
“It’s slippery – to say the least – but it’s nice to be back here for the home race for Acura and Honda,” Hindman said. “We’re going to take any chance we can get to put the Meyer Shank Autonation Acura NSX GT3 up near the front. We’re going to prepare for any more rain, but it looks as if it will be dry for both qualifying and race day. You just have to be super careful in these slippery conditions, because we want to do the best we can for Acura at its home race.”
Will Hardeman brought out a second red flag of the session when he went off in Turn 12 and the No. 19 Moorespeed Audi R8 LMS was stuck in the gravel trap. Several cars had spins in Turn 12 in the closing minutes.
UP NEXT: The final practice for WeatherTech Championship competitors will be Saturday at 8 a.m. ET, with qualifying beginning at 11:40 a.m. The Acura Sports Car Challenge will take the green flag at 1:40 p.m. Sunday.