The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship moves to the mid-Ohio sports car track with a draw at the top of the DPi standings between Ricky Taylor / Philip Albuquerque in No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura and Oliver Jarvis 60-year-old .
The good news for both teams is that historically 2,258 miles, 13 turns in mid-Ohio preferred the Acuras, and the ARX-06 won every race in the DPi era. The bad news is that Cadillac seems to be narrowing the gap on smoother tracks. And more bad news for the MSR team as it seeks victory on its home track, just about an hour’s drive from their base in Patascala, Ohio … between Penske and WTR, Taylor has won this race three of the last four years and is reigning champions after he and Albuquerque won the WTR last year.
“Victory came in very different ways,” Taylor explained. “Last year we won on fuel and fought with 31 [Action Express Racing Cadillac] to the end in the fuel race and in other years perhaps more in order to control from the leaders. You always seem to need something different when you get to Middle Ohio. There are many different factors in the game. So I don’t expect us to be able to use the same book as winning Ohio Middle. It seems like it always throws you something new, so we will try to improve compared to last year.
The best of the Cadillacs at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca two weeks ago was № 31 Pippa Derani and Tristan Nunez. As for maximizing points on the track, where Cadillac is not expected to fight for victory, they have succeeded. And number 31 was in dispute in Mead Ohio last year.
“I think we did very well [at Mid-Ohio] given that this is the track that best suits the Acuras, ”Derani said. “We were so close to winning [in 2021]but in the end we lacked. This is a place that is hard to pass. Last year and the previous year we failed to do so. “
The MSR team is committed to supporting their Rolex 24 during the Dayton victory. In the previous race at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca it was hard, but the traffic got the best of them, and Taylor and Albuquerque went away with the win. Now it’s time to take advantage of the track where it can have an advantage, and finally bring the team victory at home.
“We need to make sure we have a car under us that we did in the Lagoon,” Jarvis said. “The team did a fantastic job. I talked to Tom after the race and he was very, extremely disappointed. I think it’s just the racer in it. You know, if you have a fast car and you take the initiative like him and then lose it through traffic – it’s very annoying, but he managed to relax on the way back to the airport and I realized it was still a good weekend for us.
“Honestly, in the middle of Ohio all the same. We have to go out there, see where we are. But if we have a fast car like the Lagoon, it’s important that we don’t lose points. It would be nice to get this victory in the home race of the team. That would be important, but also looking for a championship. You can’t afford to miss your winnings when they are available; this does not happen often. It is therefore important to use these opportunities if we want to win the championship at the end of the year. We are confident in this. This year, we’ve made some big strides with the car, and we hope it goes in the middle of Ohio. ”
Mid-Ohio is the third race of the season to earn a point for LMP2. Dwight Maryman and Ryan Dalzill lead the chase for points with the stability of two finishes on the podium in the 18th issue of Era Motorsport ORECA and go to Central Ohio, looking to strengthen this leadership with victory.
“I think consistency is the most important thing in the bronze championship,” Dalzil said. “There are guys like Ben Keating, just a little exception to the rule, but for most bronze, I think it’s a balance in how hard you finish them off without making mistakes. These guys can always find a little more time, but it’s very easy to try to push on those extra two-tenths and lose 20 on the gravel by driving through it.
“A few weeks ago we went and did a test. Dwight wasn’t there for a long time, and by the end of the day we had passed at least a couple of dry laps. I think we are in a pretty decent place; I’m not sure if they tested other P2 teams in Mid Ohio. We all love to win, but to win the championship, we need consistency, and we just need to have permanent podiums throughout the year. ”
Four different winners
In the DPi no team has won more than one win in four races this season. There is a good chance that will change in mid-Ohio, but so far from the statements for the whole season only the Cadillac JDC-Miller Motorsports № 5 Tristan Vattier and Richard Westbrook and № 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac with Pippa Derani and Tristan Nunez have not visited the winning lane.
The current forecast assumes a good chance of rain for Sunday’s race, and while the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams have seen Dayton practice good wet races, they have not yet held a wet race this season. Most will say they are rather the first not to come to Middle Ohio.
“It’s probably one of the scariest tracks on the wet just because it’s zero traction,” Oliver Jarvis said. In fact, “scary” is not the word, it’s just not very fun because it’s a very low grip. Getting any tire temperature or making tires run is very, very difficult. But you know, it will be a new experience. I haven’t ridden an Acura in the wet, so it will be interesting to see how it behaves. But I certainly wouldn’t have chosen Mid-Ohio from all the tracks for racing in the rain. ”
Without GTD PRO Lexus doubles
Traditionally leaving the GTLM out of the lineup in Mead Ohio due to its proximity to 24 Hours of Le Mans, IMSA has kept this to itself when creating the GTD Pro, so the class will be on a competitive break until Sahlen’s six-hour at Glen in late June. The GTD contingent will be able to race with each other without worrying about GTD Pro cars in the mix.
Lexus, which is the main sponsor of the race and divides the two Vasser-Sullivan RC F GT3 between the GTD and GTD Pro, will drive two cars in the GTD in mid-Ohio. Jack Hawksworth, who usually works in a pair with Ben Barnicut in GTD Pro at number 14, will instead partner with Richard Haystend at number 17.
The first sprint race on the LMP3
The LMP3 teams will start their first sprint race in 2022, this year competing for points only on Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. There are nine LMP3 entries, with Lance Wilsey and Joao Barbosa at number 33 Sean Cricot Motorsport Ligier leading the points thanks to a win at Sebring with Malta Jacobsen.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the competition, as in previous races,” Barbosa said. “It was a class that is steadily growing with the best teams, the best riders, and it has been very competitive in the last few races. So definitely going to see a big race between LMP3. The guys at Sean Creech Motorsport worked very hard. We had a big break after Sebring so we were able to check out a couple of days in Mead Ohio and the car felt great. So we’re looking forward to going there and see if we can get out of Mead Ohio with a strong result. ”
Support the race
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will have a two-hour race on Saturday afternoon at 4pm East. On Sunday morning, Prototype Challenge riders will have their first start from Daytona in a 1 hour 30 minute race, and the Idemitsu Mazda Global MX-5 Cup has a pair of 45-minute races, one on Saturday afternoon and the other on Sunday morning.
How to watch
The Lexus Grand Prix in Mead Ohio, the 2:40m race and the 5th round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, begins at 2pm Eastern on Sunday, broadcast online. Qualifying, at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, will be available at IMSA.tv.
IMSA Radio will also be live for most sessions. Go to IMSA.com and press the IMSA radio button to listen.