Mazda Team Joest roared into Daytona International Speedway with the fastest lap on the first day of preparations for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The first two sessions of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 featured 11 cars vying for the quickest lap in the new DPi class.
Behind the wheel of the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P, Oliver Jarvis turned a 1:35.989 in Session 1. The time held on through a wet second session to top the day’s running. In the sister No. 55 car, Harry Tincknell’s 1:36.449 from the morning session gave the team two cars in the top three.
Jordan Taylor kept the Mazdas from locking out the top two positions with the second-fastest lap of the day in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. His 1:36.407 was 0.418 seconds off Jarvis’ time and just 0.042 seconds quicker than Tincknell.
Cadillac machinery rounded out the remainder of the top six with Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr and Filipe Albuquerque fourth and fifth fastest, respectively. New series entrant Juncos Racing placed sixth on the combined timesheet with Argentinian driver Agustin Canapino.
CORE autosport and JDC-Miller Motorsports, two teams that made the move to the DPi class after previously fielding LMP2 cars, slotted in between Team Penske’s two Acura ARX-05s which placed seventh and 11th in class.
PR1 Mathiasen Tops LMP2
The first two outings of the LMP2 class were each led by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports driver Gabriel Aubry, whose 1:39.575 in the No. 52 ORECA 07 was fastest on the first day of the three-day test.
Only two other LMP2 competitors turned laps with Ben Hanley putting DragonSpeed ahead of Performance Tech Motorsports’ Kris Wright.
Returning Risi Fastest in GTLM
The eight returning full-season GT Le Mans cars all chased Risi Competizione’s Ferrari 488 GTE, which returned to action at Daytona after a reduced season last year.
Davide Rigon topped the class with a 1:44.718 in Session 2, 0.131 seconds quicker than second-fastest Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford GT.
Porsche placed third and fifth with drivers Patrick Pilet and Earl Barber, split by fourth-fastest Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.
Bleekemolen Leads in GTD
Riley Motorsports’ Mercedes-AMG GT3 topped both sessions in GT Daytona with Jeroen Bleekemolen behind the wheel. The Dutch driver’s 1:46.452 turned in Session 2 put him 0.334 seconds ahead of second-fastest Daniel Serra in the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3.
Jens Klingmann, Katherine Legge and Jack Hawksworth put five different manufacturers in the top five by adding BMW, Acura and Lexus to the group.
The 47-car field will be back in action Jan. 5 with a morning session at 10 a.m. EST. Two additional sessions will follow at 3:35 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.