Castroneves Leads Final Long Beach Practice

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s final practice session ahead of qualifying for DPi and GT Le Mans competitors in Long Beach was topped by Helio Castroneves, who lowered the mark to beat from Friday morning’s session.

Castroneves’ first chart-topping lap in the No. 7 Acura ARX-05, a 1:11.939, came near the halfway point of the 45-minute session. It remained unchallenged throughout the second half and was bested only by Castroneves himself when he turned a 1:11.918 five minutes before the checkered flag.

Felipe Nasr, who was fastest Friday morning on the streets of Long Beach, ended Practice 2 with the second fastest lap. The 1:11.937 turned by the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R was only 0.019 seconds shy of Castroneves’ fastest lap.

Both Mazda RT24-Ps fielded by Mazda Team Joest were quick during the session, trading the top lap several times during the first half. Jonathan Bomarito’s best effort in the No. 55 Mazda DPi held on for third while Tristan Nunez managed the seventh-best lap in the other Mazda.

Joao Barbosa added a second Cadillac DPi to the top five with the fourth-fastest lap while Colin Braun made it four manufacturers in the group by laying down a 1:12.129 in the No. 54 Ligier Nissan DPi.

Juan Pablo Montoya and Tristan Vautier filled the sixth and seventh positions for Penske and JDC-Miller Motorsports, respectively, while a trio of Cadillacs filled the bottom of the class’ running order with Jordan Taylor, Kyle Kaiser and Simon Trummer lining up ninth through 11th.

Porsche 1-2 in GTLM

Porsche repeated its Practice 1 feat, albeit in reverse order, by ending Practice 2 with the first- and second-fastest GTLM laps.

The No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Laurens Vanthoor displaced the No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin with five minutes left on the clock, then went faster two minutes later. Vanthoor ended the session with a 1:16.710, two-tenths of a second quicker than teammate Nick Tandy.

Gavin’s lap kept the Corvette third quick while Sebastien Bourdais, filling in for Joey Hand, was fourth fastest in the No. 66 Ford GT.

The GTLM order was completed by Jan Magnussen in fifth followed by Jesse Krohn, Tom Blomqvist and Ryan Briscoe.

Both classes will be back in action beginning at 5:45 p.m. PDT for two 15-minute qualifying sessions that will set the grid for Saturday’s 100-minute race.

Ben Hinc
Ben Hinc
Ben's executive editor title is purposefully broad to encompass the bottomless list of roles he fills for The Apex, which includes webmaster, graphic designer, quality consultant and writer. Ben's technical background and progressive media distribution approach set The Apex apart technologically and philosophically.

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