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David Malsher-Lopez

Mid-Ohio IMSA: WTR heads Acura 1-2, Inception McLaren wins GTD


From the start (always held on the back straight at Mid-Ohio) Albuquerque in the WTR Acura ARX-05 got the jump on polesitter Sebastien Bourdais in the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. The turbocharged car pulling ahead from by Turn 4 and sweeping around fro the with Oliver Jarvis tucking the Meyer Shank Racing Acura into third ahead of the second Ganassi Cadillac of Alex Lynn fourth ahead of Tristan Vautier (JDC-Miller MotorSports Caddy) and Tristan Nunez (Action Express Racing Caddy).

As they threaded through GTD traffic on Lap 10, Bourdais muscled past Albuquerque down the inside at Turn 2, keeping it clean by mounting the curb, and thus he grabbed the lead. Within three laps, Bourdais had a lead of three seconds and the main battles in class were between Albuquerque and Jarvis for second, and Vautier and Nunez for fifth.

The latter pair pitted together off strategy on Lap 21, in anticipation of a caution for a spun LMP3 car, but the little prototype got going again unassisted. Pipo Derani replaced Nunez in the #31, but the car remained behind Vautier for a couple of laps before Derani got the pass completed down the inside at Turn 4.

Next DPi to stop was Lynn who had fallen some 15sec behind the warring Acuras, but the Ganassi team kept him on board. The Albuquerque vs Jarvis battle was interrupted by pitstops for both while running 5.5sec behind leader Bourdais. Ricky Taylor replaced Albuquerque and Tom Blomqvist replaced Jarvis, but the two Acuras departed some five seconds apart.

Bourdais’ stop by the Ganassi crew was superb, and he ceded no time to Taylor initially, but a combination of traffic and a charging Taylor brought the Cadillac’s advantage briefly under 1sec, before Bourdais extended the margin back out to over four seconds. Blomqvist, meanwhile, chipped away at his deficit to Taylor and drew to within 1.5sec by Lap 50.

On Lap 58, the Performance Tech LMP3 car stopped at Turn 6, prompting the first full course caution, and Bourdais hit pitlane to hand off to Renger van der Zande, Taylor remained second ahead of Blomqvist, Derani, Richard Westbrook who’d taken over the JDC Miller Cadillac, and Earl Bamber who replaced Lynn in the curiously off-the-pace #02 Cadillac.

At the restart, Taylor was all over van der Zande and they ran side by side through Turns 4 and 5, and it was the Cadillac who came off worst, spinning through the grass at Turn 6 after clipping the back of the WTR car. Race Control decided on a no-call, so now it was an Acura 1-2, with Derani in third in the highest-placed Acura.

That didn’t last long, however, as Blomqvist encountered a knot of GT and LMP3 traffic, and the MSR Acura lost out to both Derani and Bamber and dropped to fourth. So MSR pitted Blomqvist early for his final stop with 43mins to go, prompting Ganassi to do the same next time by for Bamber and Westbrook, from third and fourth. They both emerged behind Blomqvist, and Westbrook got ahead of Bamber. It was only sensible, therefore, for WTR and AXR to call in Taylor and Derani respectively, but Blomqvist’s charge on new tires had produced fastest lap and meant Derani came out behind the MSR machine.

Once van der Zande stopped the #01 CGR Caddy with 36mins to go, he emerged last in class, so Taylor now led Blomqvist by 5.6se, with Derani 3.4sec further back, well ahead of Westbrook’s battle with Bamber and van der Zande. However, with around 25mins to go, Westbrook gave way to the Ganassi cars, and with 10mins to go van der Zande slipped past teammate Bamber to claim fourth. However, in the dying laps, Bamber moved back ahead.

Taylor held off Blomqvist by 2.1sec, with Derani 15sec further back, 20sec ahead of the Ganassi pair.


Patrick Kelly maintained his pole-winning advantage at the start ahead of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports teammate Steven Thomas, with Henrik Hedman tucking the DragonSpeed car and John Farano in the Tower Motorsport entry.

However, once Thomas passed Kelly into Turn 4, he swiftly pulled out a 10sec lead, which was 25sec at the Lap 25 mark and remained there after their first stops. This margin then bloomed when Richard Heistand’s GTD Lexus clipped Kelly’s car and spun him around. Kelly pitted and handed over to Josh Pierson but the #52 dropped to last in class and Thomas now had an almost two-minute lead class. Under the first yellow, he pitted and handed over to his Pro driver, Jonathan Bomarito. However, by stopping just before the yellow flag meant their rivals – led by Anders Fjordbach in the High Class Racing machine – remained on the same lap and closed right up to the #11 car.

At the restart, Bomarito swiftly pulled out a dozen seconds on his pursuers, Fjordbach instead having to watch his mirrors for the highly motivated and always-aggressive Montoya. JPM duly slipped ahead and immediately started slashing into Bomarito’s lead with the fastest LMP2 lap of the race, reducing it to five seconds but the PR1/Mathiasen ace responded well and extended it back to around five seconds.

Following their pitstops – Montoya’s three laps later than Bomarito’s – the pair were only one second apart, and when Bomarito got held up by an LMP3 car, the DragonSpeed car was all over him. The Colombian ace tried to take the slower car and Bomarito in one go at Turn 2, but instead thumped Bomarito into a spin. Inevitably, he had to serve a drive-through penalty. Yet the PR1/Mathiasen car had lost so much time in the spin, JPM was able to take his penalty and emerge only two seconds behind. With 12mins to go, that gap was down to half a second, and two minutes later Montoya went around Bomarito to take the class lead, bashing into him again as he passed exiting Turn 6. He then pulled away to win the class by 13.5sec.


Jarett Andretti (Andretti Autosport) led Dan Goldburg (Performance Tech Motorsports) and Gar Robinson (Riley Motorsports) in the early stages, and their co-drivers Gabby Chaves, Rasmus Lindh and Felipe Fraga maintained those positions after the pitstops. However, just before the halfway point of the race, the Performance Tech car died at Turn 6, allowing Fraga’s Riley car into second. Following the restart, however, Fraga got ahead of Chaves and swiftly pulled away, the Andretti driver also losing out to Colin Braun in the CORE autosport machine. However, Fraga then stopped and so Braun moved to the front.

He remained there to the checkered flag, while Fraga was assessed a penalty for striking the JR III Racing machine of Garett Grist, which dropped the Riley car to fourth behind both Grist and Chaves in the Andretti machine.


Stevan McAleer took the lead in the Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 ahead of the two BMW M4 GT3s, Robby Foley’s Turner Motorsports entry ahead of the Paul Miller Racing machine piloted by Madison Snow. Roman de Angelis ran fourth in the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage ahead of Robert Megennis’ Carbahn Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracan.

Within the first 10 laps, Richard Heistand in the #17 Lexus RC F had been penalized with a drive-through penalty for a blatant jumped start, and Snow had sneaked ahead of Foley and pulled out a 1.5sec advantage to try and close down McAleer who was three seconds up ahead.

Snow passed McAleer and got his advantage to over four seconds before their first stops.

Turner Motorsports had a slight issue on the M4’s right rear but Foley was able to emerge from the pits still ahead of the HoR Aston, which was now driven by Maxime Martin.

Ryan Eversley in the Rick Ware Racing Acura NSX off-strategy took the class lead under caution ahead of Bill Auberlen who was now steering the Turner BMW ahead of the PMR BMW in which Bryan Sellers had replaced Snow. Aaron Telitz in the #12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus was up into fourth ahead of Maxime Martin who had replaced De Angelis in the Aston Martin. The Korthoff Mercedes should have been in the mix but poor Mike Skeen had to pit it twice under caution due to a deflating tire.

When Eversley stopped, he left with pit equipment still attached and had to serve a drive-through penalty, so that was his race ruined.

The final 20 minutes saw Auberlen and Sellers battling hard for the lead in their BMWs, and when Jordan Pepper slipped the Inception Racing McLaren 720S ahead of Telitz’s Lexus, he too closed up on this fight, bringing Telitz and Martin’s Aston Martin with him.

Pepper then took Sellers and closed onto Auberlen’s tail.

With 5mins to go, Pepper nuzzled the tail of the Turner BMW and on the long drag down to Turn 4 the McLaren moved ahead. The two BMWs remained in the McLaren’s slipstream but could do nothing to prevent Inception scoring its first win in the category.

Behind this trio, Telitz held onto fourth but Martin had to pull the Aston in for a splash of fuel on the last lap, handing fifth to Westphal in the Carbahn Lambo.

Race results:

Cla Class Num Driver Chassis Laps Time
1 DPi 10 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Acura DPi 121  
2 DPi 60 United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
Acura DPi 121 2.098
3 DPi 31 Brazil Pipo Derani
United States Tristan Nunez
Cadillac DPi 121 16.910
4 DPi 02 New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Cadillac DPi 121 36.916
5 DPi 01 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
France Sébastien Bourdais
Cadillac DPi 121 37.104
6 DPi 5 France Tristan Vautier
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Cadillac DPi 121 1'02.301
7 LMP2 81 Sweden Henrik Hedman
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
ORECA LMP2 07 118 3 laps
8 LMP2 11 United States Steven Thomas
United States Jonathan Bomarito
ORECA LMP2 07 118 3 laps
9 LMP2 20 Denmark Dennis Andersen
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
ORECA LMP2 07 118 3 laps
10 LMP2 8 Canada John Farano
United Kingdom Will Stevens
ORECA LMP2 07 117 4 laps
11 LMP2 18 United States Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
ORECA LMP2 07 117 4 laps
12 LMP2 52 United States Josh Pierson
United States Patrick Kelly
ORECA LMP2 07 117 4 laps
13 LMP3 54 United States Jon Bennett
United States Colin Braun
Ligier JS P320 114 7 laps
14 LMP3 30 United States Ari Balogh
Canada Garett Grist
Ligier JS P320 113 8 laps
15 LMP3 36 United States Jarett Andretti
Colombia Gabby Chaves
Ligier JS P320 113 8 laps
16 LMP3 74 United States Gar Robinson
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Ligier JS P320 113 8 laps
17 LMP3 58 United States Dakota Dickerson
Josh Sarchet
Ligier JS P320 113 8 laps
18 LMP3 33 Portugal Joao Barbosa
United States Lance Willsey
Ligier JS P320 112 9 laps
19 GTD 70 United States Brendan Iribe
South Africa Jordan Lee Pepper
McLaren 720S GT3 110 11 laps
20 GTD 96 United States Robby Foley
United States Bill Auberlen
BMW M4 GT3 110 11 laps
21 GTD 1 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
BMW M4 GT3 110 11 laps
22 GTD 12 United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Aaron Telitz
Lexus RC F GT3 110 11 laps
23 GTD 39 United States Robert Megennis
United States Jeff Westphal
Lamborghini Huracan GT3 110 11 laps
24 GTD 57 United States Russell Ward
Switzerland Philip Ellis
Mercedes-AMG GT3 110 11 laps
25 GTD 32 United States Mike Skeen
United Kingdom Stevan McAleer
Mercedes-AMG GT3 110 11 laps
26 GTD 17 United Kingdom Jack Hawksworth
United States Richard Heistand
Lexus RC F GT3 110 11 laps
27 GTD 27 Canada Roman De Angelis
Belgium Maxime Martin
Aston Martin Vantage GT3 110 11 laps
28 GTD 16 United States Ryan Hardwick
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 GT3 R 110 11 laps
29 GTD 51 United States Ryan Eversley
Australia Aidan Read
Acura NSX GT3 109 12 laps
30 LMP3 38 Daniel Goldburg
Sweden Rasmus Lindh
Ligier JS P320 106 15 laps
31 LMP3 13 Canada Orey Fidani
Canada Kuno Wittmer
Duqueine D08 100 21 laps
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