Soggy Opening Practice for IMSA Teams at Mid-Ohio

Mid-Ohio Additions

In addition to the regular stars and cars of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sebastien Bourdais From the Indy Car series will join the field at Mid-Ohio.
Hunter-Reay, the 2012 IndyCar champion and 2014 Indy 500 winner, got the call late last week to share the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P Daytona Prototype international (DPi) machine with Jonathan Bomarito, whose regular co-driver, Harry Tincknell, is racing the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) event this weekend at Spa.
“I finally got in the car this morning,” Hunter-Reay said after posting the second-quickest time of the day in Friday afternoon practice. “It was a bit of a washout, so I had to be patient getting in the car this afternoon. My first time ever behind the wheel of a Mazda was in the wet at Mid-Ohio, so pretty tough conditions considering how slick the racetrack is, but it was inviting. I got right into it. It allowed me to push the car, I got lap time out of it that way.

Up To Speed:

“It was fun just getting up to speed in another new race car that I get the opportunity to drive. This team has done a great job getting me in here last minute, prepping the car, driver fit, and of course, Bomarito’s the ultimate pro. We’re all working really well together, so hopefully, we can go make these Mazdas quick in the dry tomorrow.”
Four-time Champ Car champion Bourdais, meanwhile, was tapped to again fill in for Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT alongside co-driver Dirk Mueller. The Frenchman usually competes in just IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup events alongside his full-time ride in the Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan IndyCar, but he’s making his fourth WeatherTech Championship start of the season this weekend.
He pinch-hit for Hand in last month’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach when Hand was battling flu-like symptoms and was pressed into service again this weekend as Hand continues to recuperate.

Bourdais:

“I was on standby,” Bourdais said. “I knew it was a possibility I was going to get the call-up, and sure enough, I did.”
Bourdais is no stranger to Mid-Ohio. He’s logged plenty of miles here in IndyCar over the years, and also drove the Ford GT at the 2.258-mile facility as he got back up to speed following his crash during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 in 2017.
“I came testing here actually in ’17 after my crash since I’d not driven the car between Sebring and the crash and everything,” Bourdais said. I remember it the way it pretty much is right now, which is very, very low grip, which is funny because it’s completely the opposite in IndyCar.
“It’s a really high-grip track for us in IndyCar, and here we’re just slipping and sliding and clearly not switching on the tires very well. That’s probably not the forte of the car, because it’s very gentle on tires. Here, I think you probably want to beat them pretty hard, so it’s interesting. We’ll see what we’ve got. It’s just a different weekend.”

Broadcast:

NBCSN will televise the race live beginning Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET. IMSA Radio also will cover the weekend action on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio Channel 202 (Streaming 972). Tickets are available now on MidOhio.com.
The two-hour IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge race goes green on Saturday, May 4 at 1:45 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary. For series updates throughout the weekend, visit IMSA.com or join the conversation on social media using #IMSAatMO.

Honda Unveils IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge Historic Livery at Home Event

Honda has a significant presence in Ohio as it is home to several of the company’s manufacturing and research and development facilities. The manufacturer also has a strong representation in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge and has chosen the No. 37 Honda Civic to sport a historic livery for one of its home events.
Fielded by L.A. Honda World with co-drivers Shelby Blackstock and Ohio native Tom O’Gorman, the No. 37’s new silver metallic look pays tribute to the 1974 Honda Civic and driver “Honda Bob” Boileau. Boileau constructed the first Honda racecar and went on to win six SCCA GT5 championships.
The No. 37 could be well on its way to its own championship this season in the TCR class, having won the first two races of the season.
“With Mid-Ohio being one of my favorite tracks, I am excited to get the weekend started in the No. 37 L.A. Honda World / LAP Motorsports Honda Civic Type R,” said Blackstock. “We’ve had a strong start to the year, so we are hoping to keep the streak alive.”
“With two wins already this year, I’m really stoked about getting to my home track to compete in this car,” added O’Gorman. “It’s been a dream to progress through the Honda racing ladder, having raced the Honda Fit, Civic Si, and now, this amazing race car.”

Porsche GT3

First-Timer Thompson Quickest in Wet Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Practice
It was a pretty good first day in wet conditions for Parker Thompson in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama practice.  Thompson posted the quickest time of the day, a 1:50.917 second lap in the second of two practice sessions.
“It’s my first time in the wet with a roof over my head, so my hat is off to the JDX Racing crew because I had no real input on the setup,” Thompson said. “They gave me a car, they put it on the ground, and it went really fast. The No. 3 Hertz Porsche is on rails, and we’ve just got to keep our momentum up for tomorrow when it counts.”
The first GT3 Cup Challenge USA race of the weekend will be at 4:20 p.m. ET Saturday with the second set for 11 a.m. ET Sunday. Both races will be streamed live on IMSA.tv.

Performance Tech Motorsports Welcomes Special Guest to Mid-Ohio

Performance Tech Motorsports has a special guest this weekend in Be the Match ambassador Quinton O’Donnell. The non-profit organization is dedicated to finding marrow transplant donors and matching them to blood cancer patients in need. O’Donnell was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma in February of 2015 at the age of 16 and is currently searching for an unrelated bone marrow donor, for an allogenic transplant.
O’Donnell said he and his mom hosted a local donor driver in in 2017 that recruited over 90 people. “That’s when I became involved with Be the Match. “Since then I have represented them through social media outreach and public speaking.

It’s been a big part of his life as O’Donnell adds, “I chose to become a part of Be the Match because I have experienced personally the pain and fear that a patient and their family go through when unable to find a donor and I don’t want anybody else to go through the same thing.”

Awareness

The team and its sponsor Centinel Spine partnered with Be The Match beginning at the Rolex 24 At Daytona to bring awareness to marrow donation and innovation. Dr. Robert Masson, one of the teams drivers was selected by Be The Match to be its medical investigator to study and optimize the procedures and processes necessary for safe and lifesaving bone marrow transplantation treatment.
In addition to being a guest of the Performance Tech Motorsports team this weekend, he also will give the IMSA Prototype Challenge field the command to start engines for its race on Sunday at 8:50 a.m. ET.

NOTES:

–   Oliver Jarvis posted the fastest time of the day in WeatherTech Championship practice with a best lap of 1:28.158. Eric Lux led the way in LMP2 practice at 1:37.375  in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA. Nick Tandy topped the GT Le Mans (GTLM) time charts in the No. 911 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR at 1:32.142.
Jack Hawksworth won the GT Daytona pole here last year, he was quickest at 1:30.190 (90.129 mph).
–   IMSA Prototype Challenge points leader Austin McCusker set the fastest lap Friday in a pair of wet practice sessions. His lap of 1:50.697 in the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30. That lap came in the day’s first session and was 0.669 seconds quicker than Stevan McAleer.
–   Joining Thompson as leaders of GT3 Cup Challenge practice were Charlie Luck.
Luck led the Platinum Masters class with a lap of 2:02.120 in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3.
Sebastian Carazo, who was quickest in Gold Cup at 2:03.606 in the No 27 NGT Motorsport Porsche.
– Sunday’s GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race will be the 100th in history for the Platinum Masters class for drivers 45 years of age and over.
Stephen Conley

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth.

Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras.

My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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