Mazda’s reign at the top of the practice timesheet continued for a second consecutive session with Harry Tinknell delivering the fastest lap after sunset at Sebring International Raceway.
Tinknell’s 1:46.953 in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P was short of co-driver Olivier Pla’s best Practice 2 lap but was still more than two-tenths quicker than Felipe Nasr’s best effort in the Whelen-branded Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. Nasr topped the first session of the day and ended the third practice with the second-fastest lap.
Timo Bernhard put a second Mazda in the top three with a 1:47.559 — a full six-tenths off Tinknell’s time but three-tenths clear of fourth-fastest Dane Cameron in Team Penske’s No. 6 Acura ARX-05.
Colin Braun made it four manufacturers in the top five with a 1:47.857 in CORE Autosport’s Nissan Onroak DPi. While the effort marked an improvement over Practice 2, the car’s best time was set in Practice 1 when it placed fourth.
Renger van der Zande and Ricky Taylor ended the session sixth and seventh fastest in Cadillac and Acura machinery ahead of a group of four Cadillacs that rounded out the 11-car class.
PR1 Mathiasen Tops LMP2
As it did in the previous two practices at Sebring, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports led the way in the two-car LMP2 class with driver Matt McMurry turning the fastest lap in Practice 3.
While not as quick as Practice 1, PR1’s No. 52 ORECA 07 gapped Performance Tech Motorsports’ identical Gibson-powered prototype by 2.2 seconds in the evening session. The difference represented the second-largest gap between the two cars across the three Thursday practices.
Ford GTs Denied Again
In what has become a pattern at Sebring, both Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs showed strongly in Practice 3 only to be denied late in the session. Earlier in the day, Porsche was the spoiler but the nighttime session was topped by Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.
Garcia’s 1:56.954 was a mere 0.136 seconds quicker than Richard Westbrook’s best effort in the No. 67 Ford GT while Dirk Mueller was a further three-tenths back in the sister No. 66 car.
After topping both earlier practices, Porsche was relegated to third and fifth in Practice 3 with Laurens Vanthoor and Frederic Makowiecki split by Jesse Krohn in BMW Team RLL’s No. 24 BMW M8 GTE.
Oliver Gavin and Connor De Phillippi ended the session at the bottom of the GTLM order with the eight-car class split by 1.470 seconds.
Magnus Finds Speed in GTD
After placing last in class in Practice 1 and 12th in Practice 2, the No. 44 Magnus Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 rose to the top in the third session at the hands of Andy Lally.
Lally’s 2:00.947 kept Trend Hindman and the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 at bay by just 0.061 seconds. The Meyer Shank Racing car continued its streak of consecutive top-five performances after topping the first session and placing fifth in Practice 2.
Mirko Bortolotti’s effort added a second Lamborghini to the top three. The Grasser Racing Team driver was followed by Robby Foley, Patrick Long and Jack Hawksworth in BMW, Porsche and Lexus machinery.
The 17-car class remained tight with just 1.370 seconds separating first from last.
On-track action at Sebring continues Friday morning with Practice 4 from 8–9:25 a.m. EDT. The 85-minute practice will be followed 30 minutes later by qualifying, with GTD set to begin at 9:55 a.m. followed by GTLM and a combined session for LMP2 and DPi cars.