Pipo Derani laid down the fastest time in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship’s opening practice session at Mid-Ohio on Friday. Derani’s best time in the No.31 Action Express Cadillac, set on the last lap of the session, was a 1m11.846s, and was the only time to break the 1m12s barrier.
Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05c ended the session in second, 0.375s behind Derani. Third was the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05c of Dane Cameron, which enjoyed a brief stint at the top of the timing charts before Taylor and Nasr bumped it back.
Fourth fastest was the No. 01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi, 0.683 off Derani’s best. Tristan Vautier in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling JDC-Miller Motorsports was fifth.
The No. 55 Mazda had problems with its telemetry which meant its fastest lap was not calculated. Instead, that car ended the session last in class with a 1m12.909s. Had its fastest lap been counted, it likely would have been closer to the rest of the field.
In LMP3, Colin Braun in the No. 54 Core Autosport Ligier JS P320 was quickest with a 1m17.240s. Oliver Askew set the second-quickest time of the session on his final lap in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320, just 0.100s off of Braun’s time. Third in LMP3 was the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 with a 1m17.500s courtesy of Felipe Fraga.
Fastest from practice 1 for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at @Mid_Ohio:
— IMSA (@IMSA) May 14, 2021
The session was red-flagged for 10 minutes at the start of the hour after the No. 36 Ligier ground to a halt between Turn 1 and Turn 2 on the car’s out lap.
Jarret Andretti was behind the wheel of the car when it came to a stop. The car was towed back to the pits and returned to the track shortly after. It ended the session second in class after that late lap from Askew.
The No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3 topped the charts in GTD with a 1m20.513s from Jack Hawksworth. Bill Auberlen went second-quickest in the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 with a time of 1m20.804s, while Patrick Long rounded out the top three in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 suffered damage to the left front of the car. There appeared to be dive planes missing from the front of the car, as well as possible suspension damage. Perplexingly, the damage seemed to have occurred almost immediately after the session began.
Regardless, the car was repaired, and it completed 32 laps in the session with a best time of 1m21.698s from Marc Miller — good enough for ninth in class.