Whelen Cadillac Tops First IMSA Practice at Mid-Ohio

In this case, Pipo Derani of the Whelen Cadillac team can’t wait for race day at Mid-Ohio. (Photo: IMSA)

Fast laps in practice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course doesn’t always equate to fast laps in qualifying like for the Whelen Cadillac team.

Still, Pipo Derani, co-driver of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi, can attest to this.

After being fast in opening practice for the Acura Sports Car Challenge, Derani wanted to hold off on celebration.

“It feels good, for sure, but I think as we’ve seen here in the past, we’re always quick during practice but come qualifying some of our competitors step up the game,” Derain said.

Derani turned a lap of lap of 1 minute, 11.846 seconds (113.141 mph) around Mid-Ohio’s tight 2.258-mile circuit on Friday. This is compared to last year’s fast lap in qualifying of 1 minute 10.839 seconds turned by Team Penske’s Dane Cameron.

Competition

When Derani mentions “competitors,” he’s referring mainly to the Acuras that have won the last three Mid-Ohio races in the DPi (Daytona Prototype) class. In fact, the two Acura ARX-05 DPis in this year’s field, the No. 10 Konica Minolta and No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian trailed just behind the No. 31 in practice.

In this case, Filipe Albuquerque put in a lap of 1:12.221 in the No. 10. Meanwhile, Dane Cameron’s best in the No. 60 at 1:12.501 (112.119 mph).

“Always good to have that feeling back after two months away (between races),” Derani observed. “This is why we do this. The feeling that you have inside the car of pushing it to the limit is just something that you can’t describe.
“Great to be back. We’ve had a difficult start to the season but the pleasure behind the wheel is always fantastic. Good start to the weekend.”
Colin Braun turned the best lap in  LMP3 with a time of 1:17.240 in the No. 54 CORE Autosport Ligier JS P320. Furthermore, Jack Hawksworth, the defending GT Daytona (GTD) race champion along with Aaron Telitz in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, topped his class in practice at 1:20.513.
Following the second practice is qualifying at 12:20 p.m. (live stream on IMSA.com). Sunday’s race airs live starting at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and IMSA Radio.

 

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.

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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.

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