After qualifying on Thursday in Daytona, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams took to the 3.56-mile road course for 90 minutes of practice in the dark. It is the only time that drivers get on the course in the dark prior to the race. Wayne Taylor Racing ended up with an up-and-down session.
Max Angelelli, who is competing in his final race this weekend, was fastest overall. Angelelli’s lap of 97.757 seconds (131.101 mph) was a tenth and a half quicker than Rolex 24 pole sitter Joao Barbosa in a similar Cadillac DPi-V.R.
However, earlier in the session, four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon had an adventure of his own in the class-leading Cadillac. Gordon went off-course at the exit of the infield, nosing into the tire barriers. Gordon required a pull-back from the barrier, which required a red flag. Once he was pulled back, Gordon was able to resume with minimal damage.
The two Cadillacs were more than a second clear of the rest of the field. Tequila Patron ESM’s Brendon Hartley was third quickest in the No. 22 Nissan DPi, followed closely by teammate/car owner Scott Sharp in the No. 2. Action Express Racing’s Dane Cameron was fifth quickest.
Prototype Challenge saw Performance Tech Motorsports keep up their quick pace from qualifying. Patricio O’Ward, making his IMSA race debut, was quickest with a lap of 103.634 seconds (123.666 mph). O’Ward was the only PC to manage to outpace the GTLM entries. Starworks Motorsport’s Robert Wickens was second in class, eight-tenths of a second back.
In GT Le Mans, the Ford express was still on top, but the margin was much smaller. Ryan Briscoe was quickest in the No. 67 Ford GT with a lap of 104.242 seconds (122.945 mph). That lap was only four-hundredths of a second faster than Kevin Estré in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.
In GT Daytona, Park Place Motorsports’ Jörg Bergmeister was fastest with a lap of 108.084 seconds (118.574 mph) in his Porsche 911 GT3 R. That lap was a tenth and a half faster than 3GT Racing’s Jack Hawksworth in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3. GRT Grasser Racing Team’s Ezequiel Perez Companc was third in the No. 11 Lamborghini. Scuderia Corsa’s Matteo Cressoni and CORE autosport’s Patrick Long rounded out the top 5.
Tomorrow morning, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams will be on-track for one more session starting at 10 a.m.
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