Acura NSX on track at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course

What to Watch For: Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio. – This most of unusual of racing seasons enters the autumn of its life this weekend with the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio. 
The words “challenge” and “Mid-Ohio” are often used in the same sentence by writers . . . and in the same breath by race drivers after getting a real workout on the twists and turns, ups and downs of the 13-turn, 2.4-mile road course in the middle of the Buckeye State. Along with fierce racing on what has been called America’s “Most Competitive Road Course,” what else should you watch for?
DPi Rumble
Along with the rumble of Cadillac V8s, expect some bare knuckles racing among the DPi competitors, regardless of their powerplants. In the wake of the Grand Prix at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, the top six in the drivers and team points are covered by just 10 points, while the race for the manufacturers’ championship is even closer with Cadillac enjoying a narrow (three point) lead over Mazda with Acura one point further down. Last year saw the turbocharged Mazdas and Acuras rule over the normally aspirated Cadillac, sweeping the podium and taking four of the top five places. Will the turbo domination continue this year? Will Mazda return to the Winners’ Circle? Will Acura win its namesake event? Or will Cadillac break through to the Mid-Ohio podium? One thing is for sure: when it comes to DPi at Mid-Ohio, no quarter will be asked and none given.
Home-Field Advantage
While this is the Acura Sports Car Challenge, BMW has a home-field advantage at Mid-Ohio thanks to the deep roots of its Rahal-Letterman-Lanigan Racing GTLM team. RLL co-owner Bobby Rahal has forgotten more about the tricky Mid-Ohio circuit than most race drivers can ever hope to know. After all, he’s been coming to the track since his father raced there in the early 1960s, and he scored two wins and eight podium finishes there as an IndyCar driver, not to mention watching his son Graham win the Mid-Ohio IndyCar race for RLL in 2015. Want to dip back a little further into mists of history? Google “Lumbermens 500” and you’ll learn Bobby teamed with Brian Redman and renowned race driver/engineer Tony Cicale to win a one-off Formula Libre race at Mid-Ohio in 1979. OK, you get the point. Having busted Corvette’s winning streak at Michelin Raceway, BMW Team RLL will be looking for a repeat performance at Mid-Ohio.
Home-Field Advantage II
Speaking of home-field advantages and repeat performances, Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian will be keen to keep the momentum going in the wake of a GTD class win at Michelin Raceway on the heels of podium finishes at Road America and VIR in the Acura NSX GT3; all the moreso given the event’s proximity to Honda of America Manufacturing’s four-million square foot plant in nearby Marysville and Meyer Shank Racing’s operations base a few miles east of Columbus. The run has propelled Meyer Shank to the top of the heap in the WeatherTech Championship GTD team standings; likewise, Acura enjoys a healthy lead in the manufacturers’ competition as do Meyer Shank’s Mario Farnbacher and Matt McMurry in the drivers’ championship. However, Lexus is working on a streak of its own, specifically, back-to-back wins at Mid-Ohio and will be looking to make inroads in the manufacturers, drivers’ and team championship standings this weekend.