At Lime Rock Park, teams had to deal with hot and humid weather on Friday. Temperatures in the afternoon session rose to nearly 95 degrees with dewpoints in the low 70’s. Despite the high temperatures, the teams still needed to dial their cars in for what is likely to be a warm race on Saturday.
Practice No. 1
It did not take Bodymotion Racing‘s Trent Hindman long to put down a fast lap. On just his third lap on the track, Hindman set a time of 57.137 seconds (96.400 mph) to top the speed charts. The lap is considered to be a forebearer for a potential good run at the start of the race as the first practice session started at about the same time the race is set to begin on Saturday. Hindman’s lap was less than a tenth of a second quicker than CJ Wilson Racing‘s No. 35 for Tyler McQuarrie in second. Compass360 Racing‘s Pierre Kleinubing was third quickest in the fastest of the two Ford Shelby GT350R-C’s. Multimatic Motorsports‘ Billy Johnson was fourth fastest in the No. 15 Ford Shelby GT350R-C, while Marc Miller was fifth in the second CJ Wilson Racing Porsche, affectionately dubbed “Darth Cayman.”
The Street Tuner class saw Murillo Racing‘s Eric Foss outpace a couple of the Grand Sport entries in turning in the fastest time of the session early on in his Porsche Cayman. Foss’ lap of 58.929 seconds (93.468 mph) was good for seventh overall, just 1.792 seconds off of Hindman’s best time. That lap was four-tenths of a second faster than the No. 83 Next Level European Cayman driven by Greg Liefooghe. A somewhat surprisingly third quickest was the Riley Racing No. 66 Mazda MX-5 for Jameson Riley in his first appearance since Daytona. Owen Trinkler was fourth quickest in the CRG-I Do Borrow Nissan Altima Coupe, while ALARA Racing‘s Christian Szymczak was fifth quickest.
The session was red flagged for roughly ten minutes due to Kieron O’Rourke stopping the No. 7 Rebel Rock Racing Porsche Cayman in the Climbing Turn due to a mechanical failure. The car was not physically hurt, though. The same cannot be said for Freedom Autosport‘s No. 27, driven by Danny Bender.
The session resumed with just three minutes to go after O’Rourke’s issues. During that short period of time, Bender crashed the Trumpf-sponsored Mazda MX-5 entering turn 1. Afterwards, Bender explained what happened.
“[Knockback] on the brakes going into turn 1. Foot went straight to the floor,” Bender said in the CTSC paddock. “The MX-5’s get knockback really bad when you hit the rumble strips. The strips move the pads back so that when you push [the brake pedal], there’s nothing there.”
Bender was able to drive the No. 27 back to the paddock under its own power. Bender believes that the car was fixable, but there was significant damage to the rear end.
Practice No. 2
Compared to the first practice session, the second one was less action-packed. In fact, teams were a little slow in getting out onto pit road for the session.
However, once they did get out on track, they wasted no time getting up to speed. With temperatures in the 90’s, grip was fleeting. For many drivers, speeds were down from the morning session. Johnson was an exception to that rule.
On only his second lap of the session, Johnson improved his time from the first session to top the charts with a lap of 57.320 seconds (96.092 mph). That lap was over a half-second faster than CJ Wilson Racing’s No. 33 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport for Miller. McQuarrie was third quickest with a quick lap in the final few minutes of the session. Himdman was fourth quickest, while Compass360 Racing’s Paul Holton was fifth.
In ST, Freedom Autosport’s Andrew Carbonell was fastest with a lap of 59.667 seconds (92.312 mph) in the No. 26 Mazda MX-5. Carbonell was just 17 thousandths of a second faster than Rennsport One‘s Connor Bloum in the No. 19 Porsche Cayman. Szymczak was third quickest, followed by Strategic Wealth Racing‘s Corey Lewis and Honda of America Racing Team‘s Steve Eich.