Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R set the pace in the first two official IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship sessions of the year.
Filipe Albuquerque lapped the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course with a time of 1:37.266 to lead Session 1 of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test on Friday. He then lowered the mark in Session 2 to 1:37.196 to ensure he ended the opening day of the mandatory test atop the timesheet.
Albuquerque owns the circuit record, having turned a 1:36.269 during last year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in the same car.
Each of the four Cadillac DPi cars in the field swept the top four positions on the Session 1 results and were followed by CORE autosport’s new ORECA 07, which was pedaled to a best lap of 1:38.041 by Colin Braun to end the morning outing in fifth.
The No. 54 Gibson-powered ORECA, to be driven by Braun and Jon Bennett plus LMP1 aces Loïc Duval and Romain Dumas at this month’s Rolex 24, dropped down to 1:37.303 in Session 2 to go from fifth in Session 1 to second on the day.
Wayne Taylor Racing newcomer Renger van der Zande, while acclimating himself to the Cadillac DPi after driving two different LMP2 cars throughout 2017, turned the third-fastest lap of Friday’s running: a 1:37.396 in Session 2.
Spirit of Daytona Racing ended the day in fourth with their new Cadillac. The top five was rounded out by the No. 78 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07.
United Autosports’ No. 23 Ligier JS P217, co-driven by Fernando Alonso, ended Friday in the ninth position.
The fresh Acura ARX-05 duo of Team Penske ended their first day under official IMSA sanction in 12th and 15th, with the Nos. 6 and 7 cars being 1.128 and 1.562 seconds off Albuquerque’s pace-setting time, respectively.
Mazda’s much-changed prototype effort made its public return at the Roar on Friday after cutting its 2017 season short to focus on updating its RT24-P DPi machine. Both of the Mazda Team Joest cars failed to turn a single lap in the first of the day’s sessions with the No. 77 completing just two circuits in Session 2 and the No. 55 ending the day in 16th after skipping the first session itself.
Porsche Strong in GTLM
Both of the Porsche GT Team’s Porsche 911 RSR cars reached the top three on the opening day of the Roar.
The No. 912 Porsche shaved four-tenths of a second off its Session 1 time in the morning session to secure the top spot in GT Le Mans.
The No. 67 Ford GT managed to keep Porsche from sweeping the day thanks to a 1:44.095 from Richard Westbrook in Session 1 that put the car atop the class running order to begin the weekend.
The second Porsche and Ford cars as well as Risi Competizione’s Ferrari 488 GTE filled the remainder of the top five. Corvette Racing’s duo occupies the sixth and seventh positions on the day’s combined timesheet.
GRT Leads GTD
Two different Grasser Racing Team drivers set the fastest GT Daytona laps in both of Friday’s outings to put the team’s No. 11 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 atop the class results.
Rolf Ineichen completed a lap of the Daytona road course at 1:47.104 in the morning session to secure the day’s fastest GTD time, despite a close 1:47.175 being turned by his co-driver Franck Perera in Session 2.
Manthey Racing was GRT’s closest challenger due to Matteo Cairoli’s 1:47.240 at the wheel of the No. 59 Porsche 911 GT3 R in Session 2.
GRT’s second Lamborghini, numbered 19, rounds out the top three at just over two-tenths off Ineichen’s class-leading lap.
The second day of the Roar test will include three more WeatherTech Championship sessions for the 50 participants, with the first going green at 10:50 a.m. EST.