Caio Collet

The INDY NXT by Firestone standings indicate it might be a two-driver race for the 2024 title between Louis Foster and Jacob Abel, but Caio Collet clearly had different ideas Friday in the first practice for the Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio.

Brazilian rookie Collet led with a best lap of 1 minute, 11.4390 seconds in the No. 18 HMD Motorsports car on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, which was recently repaved. Collet is third in the series standings with six races remaining, 84 points behind leader Foster and 49 points behind second-place Abel.

SEE: Practice Results

“This is the first weekend that we started quite well like that,” Collet said. “I think we always have been starting a little bit on the back foot comparing to Louis, and then we just play a little bit of catch-up during the weekend.

“I think we put in the work after Laguna. This is a track that we tested. I knew a little bit where to turn. So, that was quite nice. The car felt really, really good throughout the whole session, and hopefully we can keep going like this tomorrow.”

Rookie Christian Brooks, making just his third INDY NXT start, ended up second at 1:11.6864 in the No. 39 HMD Motorsports car recently vacated by Nolan Siegel after his promotion to Arrow McLaren in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. Brooks is doing double duty this weekend, also competing in the USF Pro 2000 event at Mid-Ohio.

Foster was third at 1:11.6920 in the No. 26 Copart/Novara Technologies car of Andretti Global, followed by Reece Gold in the No. 10 HMD Motorsports car at 1:11.8076.

Abel rounded out the top five in the 45-minute session, which started in very light rain, at 1:11.8818 in the No. 51 Abel Construction car fielded by Abel Motorsports.

While Collet was more than two-tenths of a second quicker than Brooks, just slightly more than three-tenths separated Brooks from the eighth-quickest driver, Myles Rowe in the No. 99 HMD Motorsports with Force Indy machine.

Up next is the second practice at 9:40 a.m. ET Saturday, followed by qualifying at 2:05 p.m. INDYCAR LIVE and the INDYCAR Radio Network will broadcast both sessions live.

Live coverage of the 35-lap race starts at 11:15 a.m. ET Sunday on Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.