Sunday, December 16, 2018

Pilet Ends Friday on Top at Lime Rock

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After a Ford led Practice 1 and a Corvette topped the second practice, Patrick Pilet ensured Porsche got its turn atop the GT Le Mans class in the third practice session ahead of Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix.

At 50.414 seconds, Pilet’s fastest trip around the 1.5-mile Lime Rock Park circuit during this third hourlong practice outing marked the day’s fastest lap. Pilet was able to pedal the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR around the tight road course half a second quicker than Dirk Mueller’s 50.924 lap from the first practice.

Only one other driver lapped under that Practice 1 lap in the day’s third session: Mueller himself, with a 50.879 that was good enough for second in the No. 66 Ford GT.

Jesse Krohn was third in the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE at 0.055 seconds off Mueller but a considerable 0.520 seconds in arrears of Pilet.

The second Porsche ended the session fourth ahead of the No. 4 Corvette C7.R, shared by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner, which rounded out the top five. The second entries from American challengers Ford and Corvette were sixth and seventh ahead of the second BMW, which was more than a second off Pilet’s pace.

Long Gaps GTD Competitors

After Practice 1 saw the GT Daytona field be split by just 0.330 seconds, Patrick Long turned a lap in Practice 3 that nearly matched that difference from his closest competitor.

Long’s lap of 51.754 was the fastest GTD lap of Friday’s running by a margin of 0.386 seconds and put Wright Motorsports’ No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R 0.297 seconds clear of Lawson Aschenbach in the No. 93 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3.

Katherine Legge turned the third-fastest lap at the wheel of the second Acura, coming within 0.382 seconds of Long’s class-leading time. Bill Auberlen and Ben Keating completed the top five for Turner Motorsport and Riley Motorsports.

Shank Acura chases Riley Mercedes in IMSA practice at Lime Rock
Riley Motorsports and Meyer Shank Racing were competitive on the first day of the 2018 Northeast Grand Prix weekend. | Photo: Jake Galstad / IMSA

Paul Miller Racing’s return to the track after skipping Practice 2 to replace the engine in its championship-leading Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was trouble free. With an installation lap complete and all systems proven to be running well, Bryan Sellers turned a 52.470 lap to place sixth in the 10-car class, seven-tenths of a second back from Long.

A 20-minute warm-up session for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT categories is scheduled to go green at 9:05 a.m. EDT Saturday and will be followed immediately by qualifying for the two-hour, 40-minute race that will begin at 3:10 p.m.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Duranthttp://aarondurant.com
Aaron Durant leads The Apex as its editor-in-chief. When not bringing his racing journalism vision to life at The Apex, Durant enjoys snowboarding, playing the drums, reading and trudging through an endless queue of podcasts.

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