The protagonists of the IMSA SportsCar Championship are back in action in Florida for Free Practice 1 of the 24h of Daytona which opens the 2023 season of the American series over the weekend.
After the Roar Before the 24 tests, which culminated in last Sunday’s Qualifying which drew up the starting grid for the 61st edition of the US race, the teams and riders started working again to prepare for Saturday and Sunday’s engagement.
The 90′ available were battered by the interruptions with three red flags displayed. The first due to a problem that stopped the #63 Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli (Iron Lynx), then it was the #38 Ligier of John De Angelis (Performance Tech Motorsports) that got into trouble, while worse things went to Lucas Auer, violently wall at turn 2 with the Mercedes #57 of Winward Racing which practically made the last 25′ disappear on the clock.
#02 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-LMDh: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook
Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images
In the GTP class, nothing seems to change at the top, given that once again we find an Acura in command. Signing the reference 1’35″366 is the ARX-06 LMDh #10 driven by Wayne Taylor Racing-Andretti, which for once steals the show from the #60 driven by Meyer Shank Racing-Curb Agajanian, author of Pole Position with Tom Blomqvist last Sunday and today third almost 3 tenths from the record.
Among them is the #02 Cadillac of Chip Ganassi Racing, while the #01 is fourth. The other V-LMDh entered with the #31 by Action Express Racing finishes in sixth place, but 1″1 from the leader.
Porsche and BMW didn’t shine that much: of the 963 prepared by Team Penske only the #6 lapped, obtaining the fifth fastest time at 0″386 from Acura, while the #7 remained in the pits for almost the entire session, reaching 8th place only in one last round and with a margin of 2″6.
Instead, the M Hybrid V8s of Team RLL are in seventh place with the #24, also with a second on the back, and 9th at 3″9 with the #25.
#52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07: Ben Keating, Paul-Loup Chatin, Alex Quinn, Nicolas Lapierre
Photo by: Art Fleischmann
In the LMP2 Class, the Oreca #52 of PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports set the reference time in 1’38″302 ahead of the 07-Gibson #18 of Era Motorsport and #11 of TDS Racing by a couple of tenths.
The #55 Proton Competition is fourth, but more than half a second behind, in turn followed even further by the #35 TDS Racing and the #51 Rick Ware Racing.
The #8 of Tower Motorsport, the #20 of High Class Racing, the #88 of AF Corse and the #04 of Crowdstrike Racing by APR complete the standings with more than second delays.
In Class LMP3 a Ligier poker is registered. Riley’s JS P320 #74 leads in 1’42″704, narrowly ahead of the #36 of Andretti Autosport and the #33 of Sean Creech Motorsport.
Top5 with half a second behind the #38 Performance Tech Motorsport, as well as the #85 JDC Miller Motorsports Duqueine, the best of the D08s, followed by the #17 and #13 AWA, and #87 FastMD Racing, with the MRS GT-Racing Ligier #43 taillight at 1″411.
#74 Riley Ligier JS P320: Gar Robinson, Felipe Fraga, Josh Burdon, Glenn van Berlo
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
Once again among the GT3s a GTD Class car does better than the GTD PROs and it is the Mercedes-AMG #57 that closes the fastest lap in 1’46″763 with 0″212 on the Lexus #12 of Vasser Sullivan Racing and 0″3 on the Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage #44.
Still talking about GTD, Top5 for the McLaren #70 of Inception Racing and the Acura NSX #93 of Racers Edge Motorsports-WTR, with behind the Mercedes #32 of Team Korthoff Motorsports and #75 of Sun Energy 1.
The #60 Lamborghini of Iron Lynx and #78 of US Racetronics complete the category Top10 with gaps of between seven and eight tenths.
#57 Winward Racing Mercedes AMG GT3: Russell Ward, Philip Ellis, Lucas Auer, Indy Dontje
Photo by: Art Fleischmann
Coming to the GTD PRO, the Aston Martin #64 of TGM/TF Sport finished in the lead in 1’47″010, beating the other Lexus of Vasser Sullivan (#14) and the Vantage #23 of Heart Of Racing again.
The Corvette continues to suffer and in fact we find the C8.R at 0″6 in fourth position, followed by the Lamborghini #63 of Iron Lynx.
Still struggling Ferrari and Porsche. The best of the 296 is the #62 of Risi Competizione which finishes with a time of 1’47″677 (in line with what we saw last week) and sixth place GTD PRO, while among the 911 in the new 992 version comes a 1 ’48″356 by the #80 of AO Racing, 17th GTD.
Among Weissach’s cars, we point out that the #53 of MDK Motorsport moved to the GTD PRO as an entry, however stopping in the eighth place of its category in these tests, ahead of the much slower #9 of Pfaff.
The #79 Mercedes of WeatherTech Racing-Proton, which a few days ago had signed the Pole Position GTD PRO with Maro Engel, did not lap.
The program continues with Free Practice 2 from 21:10 to 23:05 Italian time, followed by Free Practice 3 in the middle of the night (01:15-3:00), while another two outings on the track are scheduled for Friday.
IMSA – 24h of Daytona: Free Practice 1 (the name of the driver author of the best time in italics)
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