2018 IMSA Mid-Ohio
Mid Ohio Sports Car Course and IMSA couldn’t have scripted a better homecoming if they’d tried. In June, 2013, the Grand-Am Rolex series raced at Mid-Ohio for the last time; the following year, the Rolex series merged with ALMS and Mid-Ohio was lost in the shuffled schedule. Last weekend, some of the best sports car drivers and teams in the world returned to Ohio for a hometown party.
Acura assumed event sponsorship for the IMSA race, nudging out some of the normal Honda livery around the track, and fans of the NSX had a lot to cheer about this weekend. Marysville, OH has been home to a Honda manufacturing complex for almost four decades, and is now home to NSX development and production. The NSX debuted last year, and it represented itself well this weekend in GTD and Prototype events.
This year sees the introduction of the Acura ARX-05 DPi prototype, campaigned by Penske, and featuring Penske Indycar greats Juan Pablo Montoya (#6) and Helio Castroneves (#7) teaming up with IMSA stars Dane Cameron and Ricky Taylor, respectfully. The Acura Team Penske prototypes showed strength all weekend long, locking out the front row on Saturday and rolling to the top spots on the overall podium.
Two IMSA teams also call Mid-Ohio home. Hilliard’s Bobby Rahal is a Mid-Ohio fixture — Team RLL is fielding the BMW M8 this year. John Edwards, hailing from the Cincinnati area, put the #24 BMW on pole for GTLM, and teammates Connor de Phillippi and Alexander Sims drove the #25 M8 to a second-place finish in GTLM. Michael Shank is another Ohio favorite; the recently-restructured Meyer Shank Racing Team hails from just East of Columbus, and made the short drive to Mid-Ohio with a par of Acura NSX GT3s that represented themselves well in GTD.
Rounding out the Ohioans, drivers Corey Fergus and Bryan Sellers also brought local cheering sections. Fergus, who sells Porsches and Jaguars during the week at a dealership in Columbus, co-drove the Motorsports In Action McLaren GT4 with Jesse Lazare in Saturday’s CTSC race. Sellers, from Dayton, co-drove the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to a podium finish on Sunday along with Madison Snow.
Sadly, one of the more highly anticipated local teams wasn’t able to make the show this weekend. Earlier this year, the Honda of America Racing Team (HART) announced plans to run their Acura NSX GT3 at the Mid-Ohio event. The team, comprised of volunteers from Honda’s Marysville production facility, was running a limited 2018 schedule, but a late-race incident at Sebring dented their budget and deflated their hopes to add a Mid-Ohio appearance.