Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Action Express Leads First Rolex 24 Practice


Felipe Nasr and Filipe Albuquerque placed Action Express Racing atop the Practice 1 timesheet at the Daytona International Speedway to kick off the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

The drivers of the Nos. 31 and 5 Cadillac DPi-V.Rs from Action Express completed 20 and 15 laps, respectively, during the 45 minutes of Practice 1 that were open to all four classes.

Nasr led the way at 1:36.108, gapping Albuquerque by 0.599 seconds but not coming within even two seconds of the unofficial lap record set during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test earlier this month.

A third Cadillac DPi, the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports entry driven to its fastest lap by Tristan Vautier, landed a further 0.888 seconds behind Albuquerque. Jonathan Bomarito was nearly another second slower but placed fourth in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P.

The two quickest GT Le Mans cars placed fifth and sixth on the overall results, displacing the fifth-fastest DPi, the new Cadillac from Juncos Racing, to seventh overall. Rene Binder turned in the car’s best time at 10.083 seconds off Nasr’s leading pace.

The remainder of the new-for-2019 DPi division placed 28th or lower on the full-field results for Practice 1, which was completed on a wet racetrack.

DragonSpeed Alone in LMP2

The two ORECA 07s from DragonSpeed were the only LMP2 cars to hit the track during Practice 1 with Performance Tech Motorsports and PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports sticking to the sidelines.

A 1:46.657 lap of the 3.56-mile road course made Henrik Heidman the fastest driver and the No. 81 the fastest car. Sebastian Saavedra was more than eight-tenths of a second slower in the No. 18.

Porsche Out Front in GTLM

The Porsche GT Team set itself apart to open the Rolex 24 weekend by putting 10 other cars between its Porsche 911 RSRs and the third-quickest GTLM machine.

Frederic Makowiecki outpaced fellow Porsche driver Mathieu Jaminet by 0.822 seconds atop the GTLM class. Just shy of two seconds back, Joey Hand set the third-fastest GTLM time in the No. 66 Ford GT from Chip Ganassi Racing.

Corvette Racing and Risi Competizione heightened the variety in the top five with Antonio Garcia and Alessandro Pier Guidi placing fourth and fifth in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R and No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE, respectively.

Reigning Champions Pace GTD

Paul Miller Racing began its GT Daytona championship defense season with the fastest lap of the year’s opening practice outing, set during the 15-minute period allocated for only silver and bronze drivers to turn laps.

Corey Lewis pedaled the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 to the top of the all-GT3 class with a 1:36.577, making him eight-hundredths of a second quicker than the leading LMP2 entry.

Kelvin van der Linde, Aaron Telitz, Robby Foley and Felipe Fraga comprised the remainder of the top five in Audi, Lexus, BMW and Mercedes cars to create a fully unique group atop the timesheet, which was split by less than three-tenths of a second.

Down to Richard Heistand in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 from newcomers AIM Vasser Sullivan, the top 10 was covered by 0.733 seconds in easily the most competitive category during the session.

A second practice session from 1:30–2:25 p.m. EST is scheduled for Thursday before qualifying to set the grid for the 57th Rolex 24 commences at 3:35 p.m. A night practice outing will conclude the day’s running from 7–8:30 p.m.

Aaron Durant
Aaron Duranthttp://aarondurant.com
Aaron brings a developing design and editorial vision to The Apex every day and co-hosts The Braking Point podcast every week. As editor-in-chief and an avid reader, Aaron enjoys aligning his relentless care for quality with an interest in counterintuitive approaches.


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With four classes, oft-debated regulations and races lasting as long as 24 hours, there's always more to be written about the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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