In the second practice session for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen, the black and neon green of Tequila Patron ESM reigned supreme. Pipo Derani turned in a lap of 94.696 seconds (129.256 mph) to top the charts. It is the fastest lap of the entire weekend to this point.
Afterwards, Derani stated that simply being in Watkins Glen as opposed to some of the other venues helps Tequila Patron ESM.
“The track suits our car more than the previous ones so far,” Derani said in the Paddock. “[Watkins Glen] is so smooth since its been repaved not too long ago, helps a lot with our car. So far, its been good. We rolled off of the truck with a good setup. We need to improve a little bit here and there to suit our driving style[s], but it was pretty much where it should be.”
Derani’s lap, the only one in the 94-second bracket, was nearly six-tenths of a second faster than teammate Bruno Senna in the No. 22 Nissan DPi. PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Olivier Pla was third fastest, followed by Ricky Taylor in the quickest of the Cadillac DPi-V.R.s. JDC/Miller MotorSports’ Chris Miller was fifth fastest.
In Prototype Challenge, Performance Tech Motorsports’ Patricio O’Ward was fastest again with a lap of 99.347 seconds (123.305 mph). That was early on in the session. Later on, O’Ward spun the No. 38 in turn 11 and hit the SAFER Barrier before sliding back across the track and blocking the pit entrance. This caused the session’s one and only red flag. O’Ward was able to get back going, sans rear wing.
In GT Le Mans, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Joey Hand put the No. 66 Ford GT back on top of the charts with a lap of 103.115 seconds (118.702 mph), one-tenth of a second quicker than teammate Richard Westbrook in the second GT. Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia put the No. 3 Corvette third on the charts, just a few hundredths of a second behind Westbrook. BMW Team RLL’s Bill Auberlen was fourth quickest, while Porsche GT Team’s Dirk Werner was fifth.
Finally, Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s Katherine Legge put the No. 93 Acura at the top of the timesheets in GT Daytona with a lap of 105.528 seconds (115.988 mph). Legge’s lap is the fastest of the weekend in GT Daytona to this point.
Legge was approximately one-sixth of a second faster than the No. 15 Lexus of Jack Hawksworth. Stevenson Motorsports’ Andrew Davis was third quickest, followed by Scuderia Corsa’s Alessandro Balzan. Turner Motorsport’s Jens Klingmann was fifth.
In addition to O’Ward’s crash, the session was marked by cut tires. The session was preceded by an IMSA Prototype Challenge race in which there was a big crash in between turns 10 and 11. Early on in the session, Stevenson Motorsports’ Lawson Aschenbach and Mazda Motorsports’ Joel Miller both ended up with flat left rear tires. They were able to make it back to the pits, but lost a significant amount of practice as a result.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams have one more practice prior to qualifying. It is bright and early at 8 a.m. Saturday.