The second test session for IMSA’s Roar Before the 24 produced four different marques in the top four GTP cars, led by Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing V-Series.R as WeatherTech SportsCar Championship drivers set their cars up for the Rolex 24 at Daytona next weekend. Derani’s 1m35.217s lap (134.6mph) in the Cadillac he’s sharing with Jack Aitken and Tom Blomqvist was the quickest of both sessions, topping Nick Tandy’s time Friday morning in the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963.
“It’s just getting back to the rhythm,” said Derani. “Everyone has been on holidays, but not really on holidays — everyone was trying to prepare for the comeback. You’ve got to be on your toes; it was a good day, but you’ve got to keep digging. It’s great to be back. I think the three of us are running fairly similar and we want the same thing from the car. Still, we’ve got our program to go through and we are ticking those boxes and hopefully we’ll be as ready as we can for race week.”
Connor De Phillippi was 0.377s off Derani’s best time in the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL M Hybrid V8, with Tandy next at 1m35.721s – about 0.1s off the time he ran earlier. Filipe Albuquerque was the top Acura runner for WTRAndretti, turning a 1m35.945s lap. Jesse Krohn competed the top five, posting the fast time for he No. 24 BMW M Team RLL squad on his final flying lap.
Christian Rasmussen was quickest in LMP2 for Era Motorsport, posting a 1m39.674s in the No. 18 ORECA. He was followed by Nolan Siegel in the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsport Ligier, 0.253s slower. Nicklas Nielsen ran the third-fast time at 1m40.027s in the No. 88 AF Corse ORECA.
Rasmussen’s time in the No. 18 was the quickest of any LMP2 runner in the two sessions.
“We were struggling a little bit in the first session as we knew we had a few things to work on,” explained Rasmussen. “It seemed like it worked when we tried it, so we were happy to start off the week like this. That’s always what you want, so yeah, I think we have a good team. I think we have a good car. We’ll just keep on working at it and see what we can do for the race.”
Christopher Mies put the new Ford Mustang on top of the GT charts with a 1m46.494s (120.34mph) in the No. 64 Ford Multimatic Motorsports Mustang GT3 to lead GTD PRO, besting the time Matteo Cressoni posted earlier in the day in the No. 60 Iron Lynx Lamborghini. From there, the time sheet alternated between GTD and GTD PRO, with Jan Heylen leading GTD in the No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with a 1m46.741s lap. His lap wasn’t quick enough to top Katherine Legge’s morning time in the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura, a fact that she put down to conditions being perfect for the twin-turbo machine.
“In all honesty, I also think that it was out there bedding brakes and scrubbing new tires when the track was fastest, and we weren’t, so that gap is probably not realistic,” Legge explained. “I would love to think that it was realistic, and I would be very positive going into next week, but I think we were just out there going as fast as we could when everybody else was doing the procedural fundamentals, which we then did in session.”
James Calado was second as the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 maintained its form from the earlier session, posting a 1m46.76s lap that was 0.211s better than Alexander Sims could muster in the No. 3 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Z06 GT3.R. Earl Bamber was next in GTD Pro in the No. 4 Corvette, with Seb Priaulx in the No. 77 AO Racing Porsche completing the top five.
Manny Franco put Conquest Racing’s No. 34 Ferrari 296 GT3 in second in GTD, 0.153s shy of Heylen’s best, followed by Trent Hindman in the No. 92 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 911 GT3 R. Rounding out the top five were Kei Cozzolino (No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3) and Eddie Cheever III (No. 47 Ferrari 296 GT3).
The session was interrupted by a single red flag for the for a spin by the No. 8 Tower Motorsports car.
Up next: The third session begins at 11:15 a.m. Saturday for another 90-minutes of testing.