Juan Pablo Montoya paced opening IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship practice on Friday for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.
Driving the No. 6 Acura Team Penske DPi, the 45-year-old Colombian and turned an overall best lap of 1m13.057s around 13-turn, 2.258-mile permanent road course to seize the top spot in the final moments of the session.
“It was good,” Montoya said. “We had some issues there. I think I got, like, only six laps in the car, so I was pretty happy with that. (The track) seems to suit the car. It’s the better racetrack that our car tends to really handle better than the others.
“Being a handling racetrack, we normally run pretty decent. It seems like everybody is really close. With the slippery racetrack, it makes it really, really difficult.”
Pipo Derani put the No. 31 Action Express Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R second overall on the timesheets with a lap of 1m13.293s, which was 0.236s off the mark set by Montoya. Derani, along with co-driver Felipe Nasr, logged 38 laps in the session, which was second-most among the DPi class. The No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Cadillac DPi driven by Tristan Vautier and Gabriel Aubry logged the most laps overall at 41. The duo struggled with pace and ended last (eighth) in class, over 1.5s behind Montoya.
Ricky Taylor gave Acura Team Penske two of the top three overall after a lap of 1m13.302s in the No. 7 Acura DPi, which was a slim 0.009s off of Derani’s time.
It wasn’t the best outcome for championship leader Renger van der Zande. The 34-year-old Dutchman ran seventh quickest at 1m13.950s in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac, which is also co-driven by Ryan Briscoe. The time put a sizable gap 0.893s behind the leader.
Corvette Racing flexed its muscles in GTLM as Antonio Garcia set the tone by putting down a flying lap of 1m19.690 in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. He was followed by teammate Tommy Milner in the No. 4 sister car, who ended the session 0.301s behind.
Bill Auberlen went quickest in GTD with a best lap of 1m21.861s in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 for Turner Motorsport. Jack Hawksworth, piloting the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, went second-fastest by narrow 0.056s.
The No. 30 Team Hardpoint Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Spencer Pumpelly and Rob Ferriol suffered a technical issue and was the only team to not participate in the session.
There were no on-track incidents in the one hour practice.
UP NEXT: The final practice session will take place on Saturday at 10:55 a.m. ET, with Sunday featuring qualifying (8 a.m.) followed by the 2h, 40m race beginning at 2:05 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold.