Acura Duo Breaks Away in Road America Practice 3

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The first sub-1:50 lap of the weekend propelled Team Penske’s No. 6 Acura ARX-05 to the top of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship timesheet for the third consecutive Road America practice session.

Dane Cameron’s 1:49.590, set on just his third of 22 total laps for the pace-setting Acura DPi, stood as the benchmark for much of the hourlong session. While the lap initially had the opportunity to end the session more than one second quicker than the rest of the DPi class, late flyers from both Helio Castroneves in the sister Acura and Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P put both cars within one second of Cameron’s time.

A lap that put Jarvis 0.679 seconds off Cameron made him the quickest driver not employed by Roger Penske during the session.

Behind the pair of Acuras and single Mazda DPi in the top three, Colin Braun slotted the Ligier Nissan DPi he shares with Jon Bennett into the fourth position, 1.010 seconds slower than the top lap, while Jonathan Bomarito completed the top five in the No. 55 Mazda.

The five Cadillacs in the class filled positions six through 10, led by Pipo Derani in the red and white No. 31 Action Express Racing machine. Misha Goikhberg brought up the rear of the class for JDC-Miller Motorsports with a lap slower than the fastest LMP2 competitor.

PR1 Stays Ahead of Performance Tech

The two-car LMP2 class kept its Practice 2 order in Practice 3 with PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Matt McMurry outpacing the identical ORECA 07 fielded by Performance Tech Motorsports.

McMurry’s 1:52.137 was 0.655 seconds quicker than his best Friday lap and was 1.495 seconds faster than James French’s best Practice 3 effort. While McMurry split the bottom of the DPi order, French was slower than all of the premier class’ cars.

Vanthoor Swipes Fast Lap in GTLM

BMW Team RLL’s Jesse Krohn held the time to beat for the majority of Practice 3 but the BMW M8 GTE pilot was unable to retain the top spot at the end of 60 minutes due to a flyer from Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.

Vanthoor’s 2:01.644 stands as the fastest GT Le Mans lap of the weekend, exceeding co-driver Earl Bamber’s best Friday time by 0.845 seconds.

Laurens Vanthoor exits Canada Corner in Porsche 911 RSR
The car shared by the “Bamthor” duo of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor ended up fastest in GTLM to begin qualifying day at Road America. | Photo: Aaron Durant / The Apex

More than half of the eight-car class joined Vanthoor in the 2:01 range with Krohn, Tom Blomqvist, Ryan Briscoe and Dirk Mueller completing the top five and all quicker than 2:02. Remarkably, Krohn’s lap was just 0.004 seconds off Vanthoor’s late improvement. These top five drivers were split by less than three-tenths of a second.

Keating’s Late Charge Tops GTD

Like GTLM, ownership of the mark to beat in GT Daytona appeared to be heading one way until Riley Motorsports’ Ben Keating went to the top on the 17th of 19 laps turned by the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Saturday morning.

Prior to Keating’s 2:05.485 — 0.942 seconds faster than the GTD track record — Paul Holton looked to have the advantage in Compass Racing’s McLaren 720S GT3. His 2:05.897 was the only 2:05 lap for much of the session but fell to second fastest after Keating took over the top spot.

Robby Foley, Denis Olsen, Richard Heistand, Bryan Sellers, Cooper MacNeil and Trent Hindman completed the class’ top eight in BMW, Porsche, Lexus, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Acura machinery making it eight different manufacturers in the group.

All four classes will return to the 4-mile track Saturday for qualifying with GTD beginning the procession at 12:35 p.m. CTD. All three sessions, culminating in a combined DPi/LMP2 outing, will air live on IMSA.tv.

Ben Hinc
Ben Hinchttp://www.benhinc.com
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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