today is Mar 30, 2023

Tom Blomqvist topped the morning warmup for today’s Lexus Grand Prix IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round at Mid-Ohio (2 p.m. ET, USA), throwing down a 1m12.22s lap at the very end in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura. The time was nearly two seconds off Sebastien Bourdais’s pole time from yesterday on a track drivers described as green after overnight moisture. Pipo Derani was second quickest in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac by more than a second. Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura, followed by Bourdais in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac.

Jonathan Bomarito was the quickest of the LMP2 runners with a 1m14.117s lap in the No. 11 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA that will start outside of the row alongside the sister No. 52, driven to the second-quick warmup time by Josh Pierson. Felipe Fraga in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier was at the top of LMP3, followed by Gabby Chaves in the polesitting No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier.

Jeff Westphal topped GTD in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracan he’ll share with Robert Megennis, followed by Robby Foley in the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M4 GT3.

Bourdais: Starts are key

Sebastien Bourdais will start the No. 01 Cadillac on the pole for today’s 2h40m Lexus Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio. Because the pit straight at Mid-Ohio is fairly short, races are started on the back stretch as the cars approach the Turn 3 kink, so pole position is on the right. The defending race winner — the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura, qualified and started by Filipe Albuquerque — will be alongside. For Bourdais, the start and restarts will be key factors.

“Hopefully we can keep the advantage all the way down to Turn 4,” Bourdais said. “The 10, they tend to activate the tires really quickly because I think they just run stiffer, to be honest, and so they switch on the tires lightning fast. We saw that last year with Filipe and the restarts — that’s where the race played out. Then after that, on pace, it was pretty darn close. But, you know, once once you get behind, unless the guy gets trapped in traffic and you get a heck of a run, it’s tough to get it back.”

Bourdais has scored three poles this year so far, including one converted to a win in Long Beach, but the No. 01 has had more than its share of troubles, including stumbling off the pole at Sebring with an electrical problem.

“I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s completely bizarre,” Bourdais said of the Sebring gremlin. “Friday was a steering column loom. It was brand-new at the start of the year, which you would expect, and and there’s one wire in the upshift signal that managed to undo itself or break or whatever. For sure we need to work on our reactivity and how quick we diagnose the problem and then we can fix it, because we definitely could have done better. But I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s definitely not by lack of trying or hard work or throwing things at it. But there are weird things that have happened to us this year and I really, hope that after all that bad luck we’ve accumulated over the first few events, that we’re done with it — then we can have fun.”

Montoya immediately on the pace

Having been otherwise occupied all weekend in Indianapolis, Juan Pablo Montoya got into the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA LMP2 car for the first time all weekend in the morning warmup, and was immediately on the pace and at the top of the time sheet for most of the session.

Montoya is back with Hedman for today’s race. Jake Galstad/Lumen

Montoya drove in Saturday’s IndyCar Series GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for Arrow McLaren SP as a warmup to his run in the Indianapolis 500 with the team. Montoya was running in the top five late in the race run in challenging conditions when he spun and hit the wall.

In Montoya’s absence, the DragonSpeed USA car has been run all weekend by Henrik Hedman, who qualified third for today’s race.

Auberlen confident of improving on qualifying form

Five-time Mid-Ohio winner Bill Auberlen likes the Turner Motorsports team’s chances in today’s race, even though co-drive Robby Foley will be starting fourth among the GTDs in the No. 96 BMW M4 GT3. Auberlen noted that Foley, who was at the head of the field several times in yesterday’s qualifying session, used up too much tire and didn’t have the full complement of grip when the track was quickest at the end of the 15-minute session.

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