IMSA WeatherTech Championship

It Cannot Get Any Closer: Acura, Cadillac Tie for CTMP Practice Honors

Tom Blomqvist in the No. 60 Acura and Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 01 Cadillac Post Identical Times in the Opening Session

July 1, 2022
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service

#01: Cadillac Racing, Cadillac DPi, DPi: Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Having two drivers in two distinctly different Daytona Prototype international (DPi) cars tying for fastest time of the day around Canadian Tire Motorsport Park to the thousandth of a second is enough to leave anyone speechless.

For Sebastien Bourdais and Tom Blomqvist – each clocking laps timed at 1 minute, 5.712 seconds (134.715 mph) around the legendary 10-turn road course commonly called Mosport – the track itself did the job.

Blomqvist, Bourdais and their respective co-drivers looked spent after completing 90 minutes of practice in warm, humid conditions Friday in preparation for the Chevrolet Grand Prix (3 p.m. ET Sunday, NBC).

For Bourdais, sharing the No. 01 Cadillac Racing DPi-V.R with Renger van der Zande, it’s his first time at a track that hosted the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix and countless major sports car races since the 1960s.

“Honestly, I’m just trying to find my way around,” Bourdais admitted. “It’s a tricky place. I think I would really like it if it was smooth. But these cars are ride-height sensitive and they’re heavy, and when you hit those bumps – man, oh, man – it’s dodgy out there. And there’s no room for error. You feel like you’re on oval-type corners 50 or 60 percent of the time, but bumpy as can be. If you make a mistake, you’re gonna pay, and fast.”

Blomqvist and teammate Oliver Jarvis, driving the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05, are embroiled in a fierce DPi championship battle with the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura driven by Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor. Albuquerque was fifth fastest on Friday at 1:06.013 (134.100 mph).

“It’s a pretty crazy track,” Blomqvist observed. “Super-fast, and it’s a lot more bumpy than I remember. I know they resurfaced some areas, but it seems like the bumps are pretty intense.

“Our car seems pretty fast, but we definitely need to tune it up a little bit,” he added. “It’s not easy out there. I think it’s going to be a difficult weekend for everyone and super close. We’re hanging on for dear life. I was scared out there, I’m not going to lie.”

Garett Grist was fastest in the Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) class, recording a lap of 1:12.245 (122.533 mph) in the No. 30 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320 to edge four-time CTMP class winner Colin Braun in the No. 54 CORE autosport Ligier (1:12.284/122.466 mph).

The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Daniel Juncadella paced the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class, circulating in 1:16.520 (115.687 mph). The fastest GT Daytona (GTD) entry was the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 manned by Frankie Montecalvo at 1:16.927 (115.075 mph).

WeatherTech Championship action resumes Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with another 90-minute practice session at 8 a.m. ET prior to Motul Pole Award qualifying that streams live at 12:40 p.m. on

Globetrotting Kobayashi Excited for GTD PRO Opportunity

Call Kamui Kobayashi the ultimate corporate man.

The versatile 35-year-old racer was named team principal of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) effort in December 2021, while continuing as a Toyota works driver. This year, he has combined that dual role while also serving as an IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup driver for the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship.

Kobayashi was at Watkins Glen International seven days ago with the No. 48 team when Andy Graves, Toyota Racing Development’s technical director, asked if he could co-drive Vasser Sullivan’s GTD PRO Lexus RC F GT3 with Ben Barnicoat in this weekend’s Chevrolet Grand Prix at CTMP. Regular driver Jack Hawksworth is missing a third consecutive race as he continues to recover from injuries sustained in a motocross accident.

Kobayashi was facing a busy schedule that required him to fly to Europe immediately after the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen for important Toyota WEC meetings and a session in the Toyota simulator in Germany in preparation for the six-hour WEC race at Monza, Italy, on July 10.

But how could he say no – as a racer or a good corporate man?

Kobayashi arrived in Canada on schedule Thursday night – following a side trip to Charlotte to log time in the TRD simulator there to familiarize himself with the GTD PRO Lexus – but he had never seen CTMP prior to Friday morning and joked about not even knowing the track’s name.

“I got everything done and I’m pretty happy being here,” Kobayashi said. “I think the biggest challenge will be adapting from the simulator to the real car and the real track. It could be different, but I’ll try to do my best. It’s short notice, but there’s good support from the team, Toyota and Lexus.”

Kobayashi has previous experience in Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG cars built to the international GT3 formula that serves as the platform for IMSA’s GTD and GTD PRO classes. He has also compiled extensive seat time in the unique GT300 and GT500 cars that compete in Japan’s popular Super GT championship.

Perhaps most importantly, Kobayashi is playing a key role as Toyota Gazoo Racing develops its next-generation GT3 platform that will serve as the basis for future Toyota and Lexus racing cars. He called it “a huge project in Japan.”

“To have this experience racing the Lexus will be very important and helpful,” he said. “We are collaborating more with TRD USA to make sure in the future to work well for the next stage of the GT3 program.”

Kobayashi logged 26 laps in Friday’s practice with a best lap of 1:17.516 (114.200 mph) that was just two-tenths of a second behind co-driver Ben Barnicoat.

M&Ms, Murillo and Maxson, on Poles for Michelin Pilot Challenge Race

#72: Murillo Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT GT4, GS: Kenny Murillo, Christian Szymczak

Kenny Murillo and Tyler Maxson set the fastest laps in their respective classes to win the Motul Pole Awards in qualifying for the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120. The race streams live on Peacock starting at 4:10 p.m. ET Saturday.

Murillo was fastest in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a best lap of 1:22.735 in the No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4 that he shares with Christian Szymczak. Murillo was but 0.074 seconds quicker than Damian Fineschi in the No. 14 Riley Motorsports Toyota Supra GT4.

Maxson put the No. 77 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N TCR on the Touring Car (TCR) class pole with a lap of 1:24.318. Maxson’s co-driver is Mason Filippi. Chris Miller qualified second in TCR in the No. 17 Unitronic JDC-Miller MotorSports Audi RS3 LMS SEQ (1:24.436).

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