Corvette Racing’s Tommy Milner was fastest overall in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice Saturday (Oct. 10) ahead of the Motul 100% Synthetic Grand Prix.
Milner turned in a lap at 111.457 mph around Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 2.32-mile ROVAL. Note that IMSA is using a different track length as opposed to what NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway cites for this weekend.
Practice No. 1
The teams first took to the tricky road course for a one-hour session Friday night (Oct. 9) in the dark. This was a critical session since the 100-minute will be at night.
Here, Milner was fastest for much of the session. However, in the final couple of minutes of the session, BMW Team RLL’s Jesse Krohn put down a lap at an average of 110.649 mph to top the session in his BMW M8 GTE.
Krohn’s lap was seven-hundredths of a second faster than teammate Bruno Spengler. Porsche GT Team’s Nick Tandy was third quickest, while Milner ended up fourth. Antonio Garcia in the second Corvette was fifth. All six GT Le Mans cars were separated by less than three-eighths of a second.
In GT Daytona, it was Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s Mario Farnbacher who set the pace in his Acura NSX GT3 Evo. Farnbacher was quickest with a lap at 107.515 mph. This was four-hundredths of a second faster than AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth in his Lexus. Heinricher Racing’s Alvaro Parente was third in his Acura, followed by the McLaren of Paul Holton and Townsend Bell in the second AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus.
Things weren’t all great for AIM Vasser Sullivan during the session. Michael de Quesada slowed to a halt at the exit of the infield 25 minutes into the session and brought out the red flag, resulting in the session being extended by roughly 10 minutes. The team was able to make repairs to the Lexus RCF GT3 and get the car back out for Saturday morning’s practice session.
Practice No. 2
The final practice Saturday morning in Charlotte dawned relatively damp. Teams tiptoed their way around the course and a couple of drivers found trouble. Oliver Gavin spun out the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R at pit out at one point.
Late in the session, the track dried out enough for teams to switch to slick tires. This is when the speeds truly kicked up. Milner was able to set the quickest lap of the weekend with six minutes remaining in the session.
There are only two drivers in the field this weekend that have previously competed in the top levels of sports car racing at Charlotte:. Ian James in the sole Aston Martin in the race and Bill Auberlen with Turner Motorsport.
In 2000, Auberlen was racing a factory BMW prototype as opposed to a BMW M6 GT3. Regardless, the veteran racer (who turns 52 on Oct. 12) still showed his pace by topping the charts in GT Daytona. Auberlen’s lap was nearly two seconds off Farnbacher’s time from Friday night, but it was still nearly a half-second faster than the Mercedes of Riley Motorsports’ Lawson Aschenbach.
AIM Vasser Sullivan teammates Hawksworth and Bell were third and fourth, respectively. Andy Lally, who raced in the inaugural 200-kilometer Xfinity Series race on the ROVAL in 2018, was fifth in his Lamborghini.
The session had one red flag due to Marc Miller stopping the Gradient Racing Acura on course near where de Quesada stopped Friday night. The car was towed back into the garage and the session resumed. The car did not return to the track before the end of the session.
Qualifying for Saturday night’s Motul 100% Synthetic Grand Prix will be held at 1:55 p.m. ET Saturday prior to the Xfinity Series Drive for the Cure 250. The session will be streamed live at IMSA.com.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.