Mid Ohio 2020 preview

Mid Ohio 2020 preview

This weekend will be a somber one for the Michael Johnson Racing family, as it marks the first event since Logan MacKay, a loyal friend and team supporter, passed away. Logan had a passion for the outdoors, especially kayaking and fishing, and, reflective of his love of speed, was a natural at both snow and water skiing. In tribute to Logan, a memorial ribbon will prominently adorn the side doors of the Universal Coating No. 54 Audi RS3 LMS TCR car.

“Michael and the entire MJR racing family mourns the loss of a good friend and great race fan, Logan MacKay,” said Josh Reasoner, Director of Michael Johnson Racing. “We will always remember the big smile on his face when at the track and in our paddock. We dedicate this race to his memory and to his family during this tragic time.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, there are options available to help cope. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) for confidential support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Additional information and available resources can also be found at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Co-drivers Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson and the JDC-Miller Motorsports team will head to the Buckeye State this weekend for the sixth installment of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

The unique format features two two-hour races at the 2.258-mile, 13-corner Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. Race 1 is scheduled for a 1:05 p.m. ET start on Saturday, Sept. 26 with Race 2 set to go green at 10:35 a.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 27.

A complete grid of 31 cars will participate in both two-hour races, with 20 entries in the GS class and 11 entries in the TCR class.

“This weekend at Mid-Ohio should be an exciting race weekend, with it being a double-header,” said Johnson. “Some interesting things are happening to all the cars, balance of performance-wise, which should even everyone up. Mid-Ohio is a fun, challenging track and has to be one of my favorite tracks on the schedule. I’m ready to push it and win.”

Preparations for race day will begin on Friday, Sept. 25 with two practice sessions, one in the morning (10:45 a.m.-11:45 p.m. ET) and one in the afternoon (2:50-3:50 p.m. ET). Qualifying for the TCR class is scheduled for Saturday at 8 a.m. ET.

When last in action, in Braselton, Ga., Johnson and Simpson were hampered by a fuel issue at the end of hour two of the four-hour VP Racing Stay Frosty 240 and were unable to rebound from that setback. The team ended the day in eighth place.

“I am looking forward to getting back to Mid-Ohio,” said Simpson. “It’s going to be an interesting weekend; something we have not experienced in IMSA for a very a long time. With the schedule being rearranged because of COVID, we will have the two races this weekend to make up for one we missed. It will be a busier weekend than usual for both Michael and me and the crew. There will be extra work and we will have a slightly different plan of attack and mindset. Two strong performances and results will help with championship points. Mid-Ohio may be the only track we have not had a podium finish yet, so we will be aiming to change that.”

In 2019 at Mid-Ohio, the Universal Coating No. 54 Audi RS3 LMS TCR car was running in fifth place when it was contacted from behind, forcing it off the track. The team ended the day in 10th place.

Circumstances on race day will be different in the grandstand as well. After working closely with the Ohio Governor’s office and local health officials, IMSA and Green Savoree Racing Promotions recently announced that the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be open to a limited number of spectators. Those who attend must adhere to necessary health and safety protocols for COVID-19.

The weather forecast for race weekend will be ideal for all involved, as it calls for highs in the upper 70s with partly cloudy skies and light winds with just a 10-20 percent chance of rain.

The 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will journey back to Braselton, Ga. in mid-October for the seventh race of the season, the Fox Factory 120. The two-hour event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta is scheduled for a 3:35 p.m. ET start on Friday, Oct. 16.