IMSA Wire: Entry List Notebook – Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

September 16, 2020 Staff Report IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.Entry List: Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Acura Sports Car Challenge

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – Lexington, Ohio

Sept. 25 – 27, 2020 

Fast Facts (All Times ET)

Race Day/Time: Sunday, Sept. 27 – 2:05 p.m.

U.S. Television Coverage: NBCSN – Sunday, September 27 – 11 p.m.

NBC Sports App/NBCSports.com/TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold Coverage: LIVE – Flag-to-flag beginning at 2 p.m.

IMSA.com/TVLive Live Qualifying Stream: Sunday, Sept. 27 – 8 a.m.

IMSA Radio: All sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; Additional live race coverage begins Sunday at 2 p.m. (SiriusXM Radio: XM 202, Internet 972)

Circuit Type: 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course

Race Length: Two hours, 40 minutes

Track Social Media: Twitter: @Mid_Ohio; Instagram: @officialmidohio Facebook: MidOhioSportsCarCourse

Event Hashtags: #IMSA, #IMSAatMO  

WeatherTech Championship Track Records

Qualifying:

DPi        Oliver Jarvis, Mazda DPi, 1:10.705 / 114.967 mph, May 2019

LMP2    Kyle Masson, ORECA LMP2, 1:14.877 / 108.561 mph, May 2019

GTLM   John Edwards, BMW M8 GTE, 1:17.853 / 104.411 mph, May 2018

GTD      Jack Hawksworth, Lexus RC F GT3, 1:19.317 / 102.484 mph, May 2018  

2019 Acura Sports Car Challenge Winners:

DPi:       Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi

LMP2:  Matt McMurry/Eric Lux, No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen ORECA

LMP2

GTLM:  Earl Bamber/Laurens Vanthoor, No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR

GTD:     Jack Hawksworth/Richard Heistand, No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3  

Storylines

  • Let’s Try This Again: Initially planned for the beginning of May, the Acura Sports Car Challenge is the first rescheduled event of the 2020 season that WeatherTech Championship teams will participate in. The WeatherTech 240 At Daytona, Cadillac Grand Prix of Sebring and TireRack.com Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta were new additions to the IMSA calendar, while the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America and the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway went on as planned.
  • Three’s a Party: After a six-hour WeatherTech Championship/IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup event with a stacked four-class field, only three return for the Acura Sports Car Challenge. The LMP2 class forgoes next weekend’s event, while car counts for the DPi, GTLM and GTD classes currently stand at eight, six and 13, respectively. The GTD class is bolstered by the return of the Sprint Cup entries from Gradient Racing, Team Hardpoint and Compass Racing.
  • GTD Switcheroo: Given AIM Vasser Sullivan’s dominance in GTD in recent months, one would think the team and its drivers would be high atop the standings. However, a 10th-place finish at Michelin Raceway has tumbled No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 driver Jack Hawksworth from the lead to third in points. His WeatherTech Sprint Cup co-driver Aaron Telitz finished fifth with the team’s No. 12 Lexus squad last time out to move into the second spot, but it’s No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 co-drivers Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry in control. After winning the TireRack.com Grand Prix, the pair lead Telitz, 150-138, with Hawksworth two points further back. However, Telitz and Hawksworth do lead the WeatherTech Sprint Cup standings with 13 points in hand over their No. 12 teammates, Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo.
  • Mid-Ohio Memories: It was last year’s Acura Sports Car Challenge that saw Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya score their long overdue, first victory with Acura Team Penske in the No. 6 Acura DPi. The victory kickstarted an eventual championship run in the DPi class and while the car has yet to finish on the podium in 2020, Mid-Ohio would be a memorable place to rekindle the magic.

Who’s Hot?

  • No. 25 BMW Team RLL: There’s momentum building in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE camp and cco-drivers Connor de Phillippi and Bruno Spengler. In the last two races, the pair finished second and followed up with their first victory of the season. While the points-leading No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R has a healthy lead in the standings, the No. 25 BMW is at least closing in on the No. 4 Corvette in second place, only trailing 177-174.
  • Ryan Hardwick: The Acura Sports Car Challenge could be a promising event for the Wright Motorsports co-driver. He and Patrick Long are coming off their best finish of the season – third – at Michelin Raceway in the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R, which ties Hardwick’s best WeatherTech Championship career finish to date. Where did he previously score his first podium? Last year, also at Mid-Ohio.
  • Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor: There’s no question that the hottest team in DPi right now is the No. 7 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi of Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor. Not only has the team won the two most recent DPi races, but either Taylor or Castroneves qualified on the pole position in both. After not finishing higher than seventh in the first three races of the season, their most recent performances have brought the duo within 10 points of the championship lead.

Who’s Good Here?

  • Bill Auberlen and Oliver Gavin: These two drivers may as well be permanent fixtures on the “Who’s Good Here” list. In the five races since IMSA’s return to racing, one or both drivers have been considered ones to watch, but it’s only fitting as Auberlen is now the winningest driver in IMSA history following his 61st career victory at VIR, while Gavin ranks fourth all time with 49 wins. Both drivers top the charts at Mid-Ohio with four wins apiece.
  • No. 912 Porsche 911 GT Team: Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber will be hoping for more of the same at Mid-Ohio in 2020, after collecting GTLM victories in both 2018 and 2019. The defending class champions have yet to win in 2020 and Mid-Ohio would be a great place to turn their luck around in the factory team’s final WeatherTech Championship season.
  • Acura Team Penske: Similar to Vanthoor and Bamber, Acura Team Penske is the reigning, back-to-back winning team at Mid-Ohio in the DPi class. The No. 7 Acura DPi of Castroneves and Taylor scored the team’s first WeatherTech Championship victory in Lexington in 2018, with Cameron and Montoya following suit in 2019. Given the team’s recent win streak, it may be no surprise to see an Acura DPi in victory lane not only for the third straight WeatherTech Championship race, but also the third straight year at Mid-Ohio.

Previous Mid-Ohio Race-Winning Drivers in 2020 Field Since 2000 (16) Oliver Gavin – (4) SRP/Overall – 2001 ALMS GT1 – 2006, 2007, ALMS GT – 2012

Bill Auberlen – (4) GRAND-AM GT – 2004, 2010, 2012, 2013

Andy Lally – (2) SRPII – 2001, GRAND-AM GT – 2007

Laurens Vanthoor – (2) GTLM – 2018, 2019

Earl Bamber – (2) GTLM – 2018, 2019

Patrick Long – (1) GT2 – 2009

Spencer Pumpelly – (1) GTC – 2011

Bryan Sellers – (1) ALMS GT – 2011

Tommy Milner – (1) ALMS GT – 2012

Joao Barbosa – (1) DP/Overall – 2013

Helio Castroneves – (1) DPi/Overall – 2018

Ricky Taylor – (1) DPi/Overall – 2018

Dane Cameron – (1) DPi/Overall – 2019

Juan Pablo Montoya – (1) DPi/Overall – 2019

Matt McMurry – (1) LMP2 – 2019

Jack Hawksworth – (1) GTD – 2019


Previous Mid-Ohio Pole Winners in 2020 Field Since 2000 (13)

Oliver Gavin – (3) GTS – 2004, GT1 – 2005, 2007

John Edwards – (3) GTLM – 2018; GRAND-AM GT – 2012, 2013

Patrick Long – (2) DP/Overall – 2006, GT2 – 2006

Jordan Taylor – (2) GRAND-AM GT – 2010, DP/Overall – 2013

Andy Lally – (1) SRPII – 2001

Bill Auberlen – (1) GRAND-AM GT – 2004

Lawson Aschenbach – (1) GRAND-AM GT – 2008

Toni Vilander – (1) ALMS GT – 2010

Spencer Pumpelly – (1) GTC – 2011

Helio Castroneves – (1) DPi/Overall – 2018

Jack Hawksworth – (1) GTD – 2018

Oliver Jarvis – (1) DPi/Overall – 2019

Sebastien Bourdais – (1) GTLM – 2019

Previous Mid-Ohio Race-Winning Teams in 2019 Field Since 2000 (8)

Corvette Racing – (8) GTS – 2001, 2002, 2004; GT1 – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008; ALMS GT – 2012

Acura Team Penske – (5) DPi/Overall – 2018, 2019; LMP2/Overall – 2006, 2007; LMP2 – 2008

Turner Motorsport – (3) GRAND-AM GT – 2010, 2012, 2013

Action Express Racing – (1) DP/Overall – 2013

Mazda Motorsports – (1) GX – 2013

Porsche GT Team – (2) GTLM – 2018, 2019

PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports – (1) LMP2 – 2019

AIM Vasser Sullivan – (1) GTD – 2019

Previous Mid-Ohio Race-Winning Manufacturers in 2020 Field Since 2000 (9)

Porsche – 24

Chevrolet – 14

BMW – 8

Audi – 5

Lexus – 3

Mazda – 3

Acura – 4

Ferrari – 2

Lexus – 2

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