Mid-Ohio: Thursday test day notes

BRABHAM SHOWS THE WAY IN MID-OHIO TEST Highcroft Racing's David Brabham turned in the fastest time during Thursday's test for the Acura Sports Car Challenge. David Brabham provided Acura a little homecooking Thursday by posting the best time...

BRABHAM SHOWS THE WAY IN MID-OHIO TEST

Highcroft Racing's David Brabham turned in the fastest time during Thursday's test for the Acura Sports Car Challenge.

David Brabham provided Acura a little homecooking Thursday by posting the best time in a two-hour test session for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Aussie and reigning GT1 champion at Le Mans turned in a time of 1:11.298 in Highcroft Racing's Acura ARX on a Mid-Ohio circuit that was washed clean by afternoon rains but dried out during the latter part of the session.

Roughly two-thirds of Honda's American employees work in Ohio, which is the home to four plants. More than 10,000 of those are expected at the circuit this weekend to cheer on Acura -- the luxury brand of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

If the weekend follows Thursday's form, there will be plenty to cheering to do as Acura held three of the top four spots.

"The balance changed over the course of the run and the car just kept getting better and better," Brabham said. "The changes we made during the session enabled us to get in a flyer which gave us the quickest time of the day."

Brabham's time came on his last flying lap of the session and knocked Penske Motorsports' Ryan Briscoe from the first position by 0.015 seconds. The first of Penske's two Porsche RS Spyders was just 0.001 seconds ahead of Adrian Fernandez in the Lowe's Fernandez Racing Acura-powered Lola. Andretti Green Racing's Bryan Herta sat fourth at 1:11.421.

The three Acura teams and Penske tested at the circuit earlier in the summer.

"It was different conditions. When we tested it felt like it was 100 degrees and windy," Briscoe said. "Today we were fighting a green track. The car felt slower than before. But we were looking for a more general setup. The track will get grippier and grippier so we can't chase the track too much."

Audi's Emanuele Pirro was the fastest driver in P1 on Thursday. The top six cars were from the LMP2 class. Audi Sport North America's two diesel-powered R10 TDIs were sixth and seventh with Emanuele Pirro's time of 1:11.953 the best of the P1 entries. He was 0.347 seconds ahead of teammate Dindo Capello.

The top eight cars were within a second of each other, and the top seven within 0.655 seconds.

In GT1, Johnny O'Connell set the fastest time for Corvette Racing in the No. 3 Corvette C6.R. A four-time winner in the Series at Mid-Ohio, he was 0.716 seconds better than Olivier Beretta in the sister car.

GT2 saw Tafel Racing's Wolf Henzler post the best time in the team's No. 71 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. After winning last year at Mid-Ohio with Johannes van Overbeek for Flying Lizard Motorsports, it didn't take long for the German to find his comfort zone.

The new Porsche Type 997 is racing for the first time at Mid-Ohio but Henzler said his approach to the circuit is no different than the Porsche 996.

Wolf Henzler put Tafel Racing's Porsche at the top of the GT2 chart Thursday, a year after he won here with Flying Lizard.

"The track still goes left and still goes right," he said. "The car feels the same. The team just did a very good job with their homework and we have had a good car from the beginning. We are very happy with the performance so far. Yes there is extra weight but the larger tires carry it."

Jaime Melo, in Risi Competizione's Ferrari F430 GT, was second quickest in class at 1:22.926 with Tomas Enge next in Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing's Ferrari at 1:23.069.

The next round of the American Le Mans Series is the Acura Sports Car Challenge, scheduled for 3:15 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 21 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will be broadcast XM Satellite Radio's Sports Nation Channel at 9 p.m. ET on Saturday. American Le Mans Radio will air live coverage via americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA's Live Timing & Scoring. CBS Sports will broadcast the race from 2 to 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 22.

-credit: alms

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Tomas Enge , David Brabham , Adrian Fernandez , Bryan Herta , Johnny O'Connell , Jaime Melo , Ryan Briscoe , Olivier Beretta , Wolf Henzler , Dindo Capello , Emanuele Pirro
Teams Corvette Racing , Risi Competizione , Flying Lizard Motorsports