Acura Team Penske’s Dane Cameron was fastest overall in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice Friday (June 28) at Watkins Glen International. Cameron’s lap at 135.978 mph in Practice No. 2 is more than two seconds faster than last year’s pole speed.
Practice No. 1
Mazda Team Joest’s Harry Tincknell was fastest overall in the first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session of the weekend at Watkins Glen International with a lap at 134.965 mph. The lap was nearly a second and a half faster than last year’s pole speed.
The session had two red flag periods. One was due to JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Chris Miller stalling the No. 84 Cadillac in the Inner Loop. The second was far more serious as Will Hardeman spun and backed the Moorespeed Audi R8 LMS GT3 into the wall in turn 5 with 15 minutes to go. A small fire erupted on contact, but that was quickly extinguished. IMSA made the decision at that point to throw an early checkered flag on the session and tend to the rookie driver. Hardeman was able to walk to the ambulance under his own power, but he was later transported to SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y. After a CT scan, Hardeman was diagnosed with a concussion and remains under observation as of this writing.
Tincknell’s lap was one-tenth of a second faster than Acura Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves. Cameron was third in the second Acura ARX-05, while CORE autosport’s Colin Braun was fourth. Felipe Nasr was fifth in the fastest of the Cadillacs. PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Gabriel Aubry was fastest in LMP2 (11th overall) with a lap at 129.698 mph.
GT Le Mans saw the Fords on top of the chart. Right before the second red flag, Richard Westbrook turned in the fastest lap of the session at 119.213 mph. The lap was just four-hundredths of a second faster than the No. 66 Ford. Corvette Racing’s Tommy Milner was third fastest, followed by Porsche GT Team’s Laurens Vanthoor despite getting laps deleted due to track limit violations. BMW Team RLL’s John Edwards was fifth. Corvette Racing’s No. 3 and Porsche GT Team’s No. 911 did get on track during the session, but failed to set times.
GT Daytona was led by the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Magnus Racing’s Andy Lally. Lally topped the charts with a lap at 116.122 mph, good for 20th overall. Lally’s lap was a quarter of a second faster than Turner Motorsport’s Bill Auberlen in the sole BMW M6 GT3. Dirk Werner was third quickest in the Black Swan Racing Porsche, followed by Bryan Sellers in the Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini. Christopher Mies was fifth in the Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi. Due to the red flag for Hardeman’s crash, the silver and bronze extension to the session was cancelled.
Practice No. 2
In the afternoon session, Cameron turned in the fastest lap of the day with just under six minutes remaining. Cameron’s lap is less than a mile an hour slower than Oliver Jarvis‘ pole speed at the Rolex 24 at Daytona back in January. A pick up of a little more than half a second would make Watkins Glen the fastest track on the IMSA calendar.
Cameron’s lap was a full eight-tenths of a second faster than Jonathan Bomarito in the Mazda Team Joest No. 55. Castroneves was third quickest, followed by Wayne Taylor Racing’s Renger van der Zande and Braun. Matt McMurry was fastest in LMP2 in 12th overall with a lap at 128.861 mph.
For JDC-Miller MotorSports, the troubles continued for the No. 84 Cadillac. Early in the session, Simon Trummer went off-course at turn 10 and went through the gravel before coming to a stop in the paved runoff. Trummer was unable to drive the car back to the pits and drew the car’s second red flag of the day.
Westbrook was once again fastest in GT Le Mans, this time with a lap at 119.624 mph. The lap was a quarter of a second faster than Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia, who skipped the morning session. Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford was third, then Earl Bamber in the No. 912 Porsche. Oliver Gavin in the second Corvette was fifth.
Magnus Racing was once again fastest in GT Daytona. Instead of Lally being at the wheel, it was Spencer Pumpelly who was fastest with a lap at 115.652 mph. This lap was one-tenth of a second faster than PFAFF Motorsports’ Scott Hargrove in his flannel-colored Porsche. AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth was third fastest in his Lexus, while Mario Farnbacher was fourth in the best of the two Meyer Shank Acuras. Marco Seefried in the Black Swan Racing Porsche was fifth.
There is one more regular practice session scheduled for WeatherTech teams. That will take place at 8 a.m. Saturday morning.