Juan Pablo Montoya braved rainy weather and treacherous track conditions at Mid-Ohio to lead Friday morning’s opening practice for Sunday’s Acura Sports Challenge.
Montoya ran a 1m41.568s in the No. 6 Team Penske Acura DPi, leading four of the 13 prototypes. Only 24 of the 36 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entries managed to post a lap.
Montoya also brought out the lone red flag late in the session, when he slid off course into wet grass in Turn 2 and needed an assist to get back underway.
Earl Bamber led GTLM and was second overall, at 1m42.230s in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, followed by Connor De Phillippi, 1m44.438s in the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE.
The only other DPis to post times were Colin Braun, 1m44.615s in the No. 54 CORE autosport Nissan DPi; Ricky Taylor, 1m45.426 in the No. 7 Penske Acura; and Oliver Jarvis, 1m57.821s in the No. 77 Team Joest Mazda DPi. Neither of the two LMP2s participated.
Practice opened for the one-hour, 15-minute staggered session with 15 minutes reserved for the DPi, LMP2 and GTLM classes. Only six cars ran during that time — the two Penske Acuras and both Porsche and Corvette GTLM entries. Dane Cameron was fastest in that segment, at 1m47.170s.
The GTD competitors then joined the practice at the 15-minute mark for 45 minutes of combined competition. Next was a final 15 minutes reserved for Bronze- and Silver-rated drivers in GTD.
Trent Hindman led GTD in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 with a 1m46.649s. He was followed by Zach Robichon, at 1m47.047s in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3.R, and Alex Riberas, with a 1m47.051s in the No. 19 Moorespeed Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Two new cars made their first appearance of the season in GTD.
Paul Holton and Matt Plumb turned laps in the IMSA debut of the No. 76 McLaren 720S GT3, led by Plumb’s sixth-fastest lap of 1m48.260s. Gar Robinson ran 1m52.262s in the No. 74 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG, with the team making its first IMSA start since 2017.
Will Hardeman slid off course in the No. 19 Moorespeed Audi in Turn 6 at the 20-minute mark; he was able to continue without apparent damage.
UP NEXT: WeatherTech Championship competitors will have a second one-hour combined session this afternoon at 3:15 p.m. ET, their final practice of the day.