One of Mazda Team Joest’s entries surfaced atop a running order that at one point featured all four Daytona Prototype international manufacturers as preparations began for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
Colin Braun, driving the only Ligier Nissan DPi on track, initially owned the fastest lap before Helio Castroneves turned in a flyer in Team Penske’s No. 7 Acura ARX-05. Shortly thereafter, Harry Tincknell lapped the Watkins Glen International circuit in 1:30.690 to gap Castroneves by 0.112 seconds.
Coming on the 21st of 22 laps for the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P in the session, Tincknell’s top time gapped the sister No. 77 Mazda DPi by 1.151 seconds. The best lap from Tristan Nunez in that car placed it sixth but was still strong enough to unofficially break the prototype lap record at Watkins Glen, which Tincknell bested by 1.66 seconds.
Castroneves maintained the second position, nearly half a second clear of the second Acura DPi which was driven to the third slot on the timesheet by Dane Cameron. Braun — the current record holder from 2018 qualifying in an LMP2 — and Felipe Nasr were the other two drivers in the top five, landing fourth and fifth in the No. 54 CORE autosport car and the championship-leading No. 31 Whelen-backed Cadillac DPi-V.R.
After Nunez in the sixth-placed Mazda, recent 24 Hours of Le Mans runner-up Mike Conway set the seventh-quickest time in the No. 5 Cadillac DPi from Action Express Racing in his first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship session of 2019.
Undefeated to this point of the season last year, Wayne Taylor Racing was eighth out of 11 DPi cars.
Aubry Gaps Lone LMP2 Competition
Gabriel Aubry’s quickest tour of Watkins Glen Friday morning put PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports 0.473 seconds ahead of its only competition in the LMP2 division to begin the third Michelin Endurance Cup weekend of the year.
Kyle Masson’s 1:34.883 lap in Performance Tech Motorsports’ No. 38 ORECA 07 came on the car’s sixth lap. Masson nor co-drivers Cameron Cassels and Andrew Evans could improve upon the time in the 23 other laps the car clocked.
Ford Starts Strong in GTLM
The Nos. 67 and 66 Ford GTs were first and second, respectively, as the GT Le Mans teams began their work for the weekend.
Richard Westbrook turned a 1:42.673 — just over a second off the class record for the class, set by Alexander Sims in 2017.
Dirk Mueller was just 0.043 seconds further back while Tommy Milner, Laurens Vanthoor and John Edwards added Corvette, Porsche and BMW machinery to the top five, which was split by 0.774 seconds.
Technical problems for the No. 3 Corvette C7.R and No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, including engine trouble for the Corvette, mired those cars to the bottom of the timesheet. They turned a combined seven laps during roughly one hour of available track time, interrupted only by an early red flag caused by one of JDC-Miller Motorsports’ Cadillacs.
Lally Leads GTD for Magnus
Taking to the track 15 minutes after the DPi, LMP2 and GTLM classes were allowed their own portion of the session, the GTD field was led by Andy Lally in Magnus Racing’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Cars from two other manufacturers were pedaled to the top three in GTD thanks to quick times from Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner in BMW and Porsche machinery. Bryan Sellers and Christopher Mies competed the top five in the Lamborghini and Audi cars of Paul Miller Racing and Montaplast by Land-Motorsport.
A crash for Will Hardeman in Moorespeed’s Audi R8 LMS GT3 ate into the final 15 minutes of Practice 1 which was set aside for Silver- and Bronze-rated GTD drivers only. Realizing the incident required too much time to clear, IMSA eventually called off the amateur portion of the session.
All four classes will return to the track from 3:05–4:05 p.m. Friday for the second practice. Then, a third one-hour session Saturday morning will be all that remains before qualifying for Sunday’s six-hour contest.