Nasr Goes Quicker in Final Practice of 2019

Whelen Cadillac DPi races 2019 Petit Le Mans
Felipe Nasr will enter the final qualifying of 2019 as the unofficial lap record holder in a DPi at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. | Photo: Kenneth Midgett / Spacesuit Media

Felipe Nasr unofficially broke the prototype lap record at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta during the weekend-opening practice session Thursday and lowered the mark further in the fourth and final practice before qualifying.

Leaving behind the 1:09.093 from Practice 1 that made him the fastest driver on day one, Nasr went around the 2.54-mile road course in 1:08.419 to set a new record for DPi machines at Road Atlanta, but unofficially as only qualifying laps are valid for record book purposes.

Ricky Taylor had the second-fastest time but, given Nasr’s significant pace increase, the driver of the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 could do no better than coming within 0.622 seconds of the chart-topping No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.

Both Action Express Cadillac DPis landed in the top three with Filipe Albuquerque placing third in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling entry, just under seven-tenths of a second in arrears of the sister No. 31 car on their respective quickest laps.

Renger van der Zande and Timo Bernhard added Wayne Taylor Racing and Mazda Team Joest cars to the top five as the only other pilots within one second of Nasr.

Leading the DPi points entering Saturday’s 10-hour season finale, the No. 6 Acura DPi can be expected to fight for the overall pole during qualifying Friday afternoon but was only fast enough to place seventh in the final practice session of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

Gabriel Aubry continued a perfect weekend in LMP2, again outpacing the Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA 07 in the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports entry he’s sharing with Matthew McMurry and Dalton Kellett.

In GT Le Mans, James Calado returned Risi Competizione to the top of the timesheet in its first WeatherTech Championship race since the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Philipp Eng set the second-quickest GTLM lap in the No. 24 BMW Team RLL car but was nearly half a second slower than Calado and the only Ferrari 488 GTE in the field.

The quickest cars from Corvette Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing, plus Colton Herta in the second BMW M8 GTE, completed the top five.

Practice 4 saw the continuation of a standout weekend for Turner Motorsport with Robby Foley setting the quickest GT Daytona lap in the team’s BMW M6 GT3 — though only by the slim margin of 0.061 seconds over Toni Vilander in Scuderia Corsa’s Ferrari 488 GT3.

Needing only to take the green flag Saturday to win the GTD championship, the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 from Meyer Shank Racing was 10th among the 12-car GTD field.

Qualifying is next for IMSA’s premier championship during its season-ending weekend in Georgia. The GTD field will have its 15-minute outing first, beginning at 3:55 p.m. EDT and followed by GTLM and a combined DPi/LMP2 period to determine starting positions for Saturday’s race. Qualifying will be shown live on IMSA.tv.