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IMSA Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio: Burning Questions

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Team Penske (1); Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (2)

For the first time since 2012, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course lives up to its name with a round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. It marks the first time that sports cars have raced at the track since the unification of Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series, and a full field of 34 entries across the Prototype, GT Le Mans, and GT Daytona classes are ready to take the green flag today.

Mid-Ohio is the first of six races in 2018 that will last two hours and 40 minutes, making it a good benchmark for what we can expect from most of the second half of the season. The series made Balance of Performance tweaks to the Prototype class before this round, and the qualifying charts have seen some struggling teams place up front, so here are the biggest things we’ll be watching for:

Will we finally see an Acura Team Penske 1-2 in Prototype?

As is to be expected with any first-year program, the much-discussed Acura Team Penske squad is still finding its form right now. But after Juan Montoya and Dane Cameron earned the pole for last month’s round in Long Beach, Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor will start first today at Mid-Ohio. Montoya and Cameron are alongside them on the front row, which begs the question: now that the Acuras have found the raw speed in qualifying, can anyone stop them from locking out the top two steps of the podium?

How much will home-track advantage play into BMW Team RLL’s favor?

Based in Hilliard, OH, the BMW Team RLL squad hasn’t had a ton to smile about yet this season. While Connor De Phillippi and Alexander Sims placed second in Sebring, they rank seventh in the eight-car GT Le Mans field, ahead of only teammates John Edwards and Jesse Krohn. The good news: De Phillippi and Sims start first in class today, and Edwards and Krohn start third. It’ll be a great hometown result for the team if they can put both cars on the podium for the first time Mosport last season.

Can Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers continue their podium streak?

Competing for Paul Miller Racing, Sellers and Snow kicked off the 2018 season with a third place at the 24 Hours of Daytona alongside Bryce Miller and Andrea Caldarelli. Then, with Corey Lewis occupying the third driver slot, they took a class victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring. While the 3GT Racing Lexus team locked out the front row with its two cars, the class points leaders will still start third in their Lamborghini. As the only team to finish on the podium in both GTD races so far, they’ll look for more in Mid-Ohio.

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