***Acura scored its fifth consecutive DPi victory at Mid-Ohio, continuing its undefeated streak at the 2.258-mile circuit with Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque claiming back-to-back wins for Wayne Taylor Racing both at the venue and in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.
***It marked Ricky Taylor’s fourth win in five years at the track, having been part of the maiden victory for the ORECA-chassied DPi in 2018 with Team Penske alongside co-driver Helio Castroneves.
***Honda Performance Development trackside operations supervisor Daniel Bella said: “This was a fantastic day, and a great weekend overall for Acura, HPD and our teams here in Mid-Ohio, especially coming from a 1-2 sweep at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and a Honda 1-2 finish yesterday at Indianapolis.”
***Taylor and Albuquerque now hold a 32-point lead over Meyer Shank Racing’s Oliver Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist, who finished second on Sunday. The two Acura DPi squads headed into the weekend tired for the championship lead.
***Jarvis said he was “really gutted” with the runner-up result for the second consecutive race, believing they had a better car than the No. 10 WTR Acura DPi.
***JDC-Miller Motorsports “salvaged the most of it” following an off-course excursion for Richard Westbrook that damaged the Cadillac’s front splitter. Westbrook and co-driver Tristan Vautier finished a season-low sixth. “I feel so bad for the guys,” said Westbrook. “We had a good car in traffic, but when you go through the dirt in Turn 1 you give everything up.”
***Three new lap records were set at Mid-Ohio. In qualifying, Patrick Kelly of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ran a 1:14.340 in LMP2 and Jarrett Andretti completed a 1:17.104 lap in LMP3. Will Stevens set a new race lap record in LMP2 with the No. 8 Tower Motorsport entry at 1:13.725
***Post-race, Montoya explained the multiple incidents with the No. 11 PR1/Mathiasen Oreca 07 Gibson of Jonathan Bomarito in the closing 30 minutes that resulted in a drive-through penalty for the Colombian, followed by an additional hit to Bomarito that resulted in no further action by IMSA race control.
***Montoya said: “I couldn’t follow him close enough. So when we got to traffic he made a big arc and opened the doors up enough for the inside. And I thought I might just touch on the exit but he came all the way to the curb. And that’s why. I didn’t want to spin him. I got a drive-through and I came out like seven seconds behind him so I caught him again and I passed him. Again, he waited on traffic and I saw an opportunity and I went for it.”
***Montoya turned his first laps of the weekend in the class-winning No. 81 DragonSpeed Oreca during Sunday’s warmup, having been at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for the NTT IndyCar Series race. Co-driver Henrik Hedman was tasked with setting up the car himself, a first for the Bronze-rated Swede.
***Hedman and Montoya have taken the lead of the LMP2 points standings, nine points ahead of Era Motorsport’s Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel, who finished fifth on Sunday.
***Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Stevan McAleer, meanwhile, has retaken the championship lead in GTD, courtesy of a sixth place result for he and Mike Skeen, who returned to action after missing WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca due to testing positive for COVID-19. The No. 32 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo overcame an early race issue with its left-front tire.
***A two-stop strategy for the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 of Ryan Eversley and Aidan Read nearly paid off until a slow final pit stop for Eversley, who left the pit box with the fuel hose still attached and incurred a drive-through penalty as a result. Eversley had been leading the race in GTD prior to the stop with 48 minutes to go.
***The No. 17 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 incurred two drive-throughs, the first for Richard Heistand jumping the start followed by an incident between the Bronze-rated driver and the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Oreca of Patrick Kelly, who got spun around. Heistand and Jack Hawksworth finished seventh in class.
***The Heart of Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 finished one place further behind in eighth after Maxime Martin was forced to duck into pit lane for a splash of fuel on the final lap. The Aston Martin factory driver had been running fourth in class at the time, which would have translated to third post-race following Inception Racing’s penalty.
***Jordan Pepper, who was unable to defend his 2020 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour win this weekend, nearly walked away with his first WeatherTech Championship win on Sunday until post-race technical inspection found the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S to be underweight.
***Prior to receiving the news, Pepper told Sportscar365: “I was up all hours of the night watching Bathurst. When I watched Jules win, I was super happy but sad I wasn’t there to defend my title. But I’m going to spray champagne now, pick up a trophy, so I think that more than makes up for it.”
***Pepper’s co-driver Brendan Iribe confirmed to Sportscar365 that the team will skip the next WeatherTech Championship round at Detroit in order to focus on the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup race at Paul Ricard as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans Test Day, both of which fall on the same weekend.
***IMSA President John Doonan told Sportscar365 that the sanctioning body is likely to utilize a similar philosophy on prioritizing race events next year as well, should supply chain issues continue into 2023. He said an outright ban on private testing is not being considered.
***Next up for the WeatherTech Championship is the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit’s Belle Isle on June 3-4, which will see DPi and GTD cars in action. It will mark the final race on the island before moving to the streets of downtown Detroit in 2023.