Renger van der Zande in Cadillac DPi at Laguna Seca
Renger van der Zande put Wayne Taylor Racing on top in the first of three hourlong practice sessions during the 2018 America's Tire 250 weekend. | Photo: Richard Dole / IMSA

Wayne Taylor Racing opened the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as easily the fastest team thanks to a blisteringly fast lap from Renger van der Zande.

On just the sixth of 29 total laps for the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R during the hourlong session, Van der Zande lapped the 2.238-mile road course in 1:16.882. After at least 20 more laps for most cars, no driver had seriously challenged Van der Zande’s time.

Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya came closest, driving the No. 6 Acura ARX-05, but was 0.651 seconds off the pace turned in by the Konica Minolta-branded Cadillac DPi. Montoya was the only driver to lap within a second of Van der Zande as Pipo Derani in third was 1.093 seconds back.

Van der Zande’s co-driver Jordan Taylor set a circuit lap record in Practice 1 last year. The Dutch driver was 1.58 seconds quicker than that session-topping lap from Taylor which was improved upon during both qualifying and the race in 2017.

Ryan Dalziel added the second Nissan Onroak DPi to the top five with the fourth-fastest lap, 0.157 seconds slower than his Tequila Patron ESM stablemate Derani. Helio Castroneves rounded out the top five in the second Acura DPi, 0.017 seconds back from Derani but 1.167 seconds in arrears of the session’s top time.

Beyond Wayne Taylor’s entry, the next-best Cadillac was the No. 5 from Action Express Racing, pedaled to the sixth position by Filipe Albuquerque. Colin Braun was 0.112 seconds behind Albuquerque to make CORE autosport’s ORECA 07 the quickest LMP2 car.

While the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P completed 25 laps and placed 10th, Mazda Team Joest’s No. 55 machine didn’t set a time during this first session after heading back to its garage early.

Fords Ahead in GTLM

Both Ford GT cars from Chip Ganassi Racing were clear of the six other GT Le Mans entrants to open the Laguna Seca weekend.

Richard Westbrook put the No. 67 Ford atop the class with a 1:23.644. Joey Hand was 0.219 seconds back in the No. 66 and more than half a second clear of the third-fastest car: the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.

Behind Earl Bamber in that Porsche, Jan Magnussen and Bamber’s teammate Nick Tandy completed the top five in the quickest Corvette C7.R and second Porsche.

Championship Leaders Pace First Session

Paul Miller Racing’s championship-leading Lamborghini Huracan GT3 set the fastest GT Daytona lap to open the weekend with Bryan Sellers at the wheel.

At 1:25.403, Sellers’ best lap put the car nearly two-tenths of a second ahead of Jeroen Bleekemolen’s best effort in the Mercedes-AMG GT3 from Riley Motorsports. Andy Lally was third for Magnus Racing while Ozz Negri and Patrick Long comprised the remainder of the top five in Ferrari and Porsche machinery, respectively.

The second of three 60-minute practice outings for the WeatherTech Championship at Laguna Seca is scheduled to go green at 3:15 p.m. PDT Friday.

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