Warmer temperatures and faster speeds than were seen on day one of the 2018 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend were the story of Saturday’s Practice 3 as qualifying day began at Watkins Glen International.
Dane Cameron reached the top of the running order with a 1:32.975 lap in Team Penske’s No. 6 Acura ARX-05 during the morning outing. That revolution of the 3.4-mile circuit marked a half-second improvement over the fastest time from Friday’s running.
Simon Trummer and Colin Braun, driving ORECA 07 cars from JDC-Miller Motorsports and CORE autosport, respectively, lapped within 0.162 and 0.199 seconds of Cameron to slot into the second and third positions. With Paul Di Resta being 0.532 seconds back from Cameron, Trummer and Braun were the only other drivers to go faster than Friday’s top lap.
While Di Resta ensured the majority of the top five was filled by LMP2 machinery as he placed fourth in the No. 32 Ligier JS P217 from United Autosports, Olivier Pla added another Ligier chassis to the group with the fifth-fastest time in the No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi.
With the second-best lap from a Team Penske driver, Helio Castroneves and the No. 7 Acura DPi were 0.617 seconds off Cameron’s pace with a lap good enough for sixth.
Pipo Derani was seventh in the second Tequila Patron ESM car ahead of both Mazda RT24-Ps and Spirit of Daytona Racing’s No. 90 Cadillac DPi-V.R — the fastest entry from the American manufacturer.
The Mazda Team Joest cars caused one red flag each. The No. 55 car was first as it slowed on track early on before Rene Rast brought about an early end to the session with a serious incident that left the No. 77 upside down.
Fords Bring GTLM Dominance to Saturday
Chip Ganassi Racing and its Ford GT duo continued to show their strength on the second day of the Watkins Glen weekend with a third consecutive lockout of the top two GT Le Mans spots.
With the fastest Practice 3 lap in the class, Richard Westbrook and the No. 67 Ford completed a sweep of the weekend’s practice outings. At 1:42.489, Westbrook was 0.147 seconds clear of Joey Hand of the sister No. 66 car and 0.397 seconds faster than his best lap from Friday.
Patrick Pilet added the Porsche GT Team’s No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR to the top three, 0.143 seconds further back, while Antonio Garcia and Earl Bamber of Corvette Racing and the second Porsche rounded out a top five that was split by 0.415 seconds.
3GT Quickest in GTD
After Sheldon van der Linde set a 1:45.191 to make himself the fastest GT Daytona driver on Friday, Kyle Marcelli went 0.332 seconds quicker Saturday morning to put the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 atop the class in Practice 3.
Marcelli’s 3GT Racing stablemate Jack Hawksworth was a mere 0.046 seconds behind in the No. 15 Lexus and gapped van der Linde and Montaplast by Land-Motorsport’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 by 0.129 seconds to put the Michigan-based team out front.
Daniel Serra and Lawson Aschenbach of Squadra Corse Garage Italia and Meyer Shank Racing, respectively, put Ferrari 488 GT3 and Acura NSX GT3 machinery in the final two spots of a tight top five. While that group was covered by just 0.26 seconds, the 10 fastest GTD laps were within the same second.
Qualifying is next for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen. GTD will take to the track first at 11:35 a.m. EDT for its 15-minute qualifying session.