We’re racing at Mid-Ohio for the Acura Sports Car Classic, Round 4 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Ryan Hunter-Reay in the No. 55 Mazda got sideways moments after taking the green flag, but made a magnificent save – although Helio Castroneves sustained bodywork damage to the No. 7 Acura in the incident.
Others with lap one damage included Robby Foley in the No. 96 BMW and Cameron Cassels in the LMP2 pole-winning Performance Tech ORECA. Patrick Pilet served a penalty on the second lap for jumping the start in the No. 911 Porsche.
Pre-race notes of interest:
Will Turner is looking forward to the IMSA Sprint Cup, which runs its first race today. The new seven-race sub-championship is for the GTD class participants.
“We haven’t exactly crushed it in the endurance races this year, so we’re looking forward to starting the Sprint Cup with a clean slate,” he said. “The different championship makes sense. It’s a fresh start. We have a good car and a great driver line-up here – now, it’s up to us to put it all together.”
Turner pointed out that both of his drivers in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 – Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley – drove for the team in Saturday’s Michelin Pilot Challenge race and finished 11th in the GS class.
“They have more track time here this weekend than anybody else,” Turner said. “However, GS experience doesn’t always translate to the GTD car.”
Andy Lally takes plenty of “Sprint Cup” experience to today’s race. Lally won the rookie of the year award in NASCAR’s premier series when it was known by that name in 2011.
“I wonder if I can win another ‘Sprint Cup rookie of the year’ award,” Lally pondered.
Christian Fittipaldi is keeping busy in his new role as Action Express Racing sporting director.
“I’ve been going out around the track during the sessions, checking the conditions and keeping an eye on the competition,” said Fittipaldi, who retired as a driver following the Rolex 24 At Daytona. “By no means am I teaching the other guys how to drive, but by watching the lines other drivers are taking, I can help them find areas where they can improve.”
And that’s only part of the role for the former Formula 1, Indy car and NASCAR driver.
“I’m also helping the team work with sponsors and VIPs,” he said. “I’m doing a combination of things.”
Lone Star Racing – running in IMSA for the first time since 2017 – is on track to compete in five races this season. The team plans to run four of the remaining GTD Sprint Cup races, opting to sit out Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Lime Rock.
Katherine Legge and Jackie Heinricher visited the Honda Americas R&D in Raymond, Ohio, on Thursday. They had lunch with a women who were a part of the WIN (“Women in Engineering”) leadership team of Honda R&D. Then, they then had a Q&A with the WIN Business resource group, where each person went around and talked about what part of the NSX development they had.