Warmup

Only about half the field completed a full lap of the damp Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for the 20-minute morning warmup for Motul Petit Le Mans, although quite a few more did some out-and-in laps of the circuit.

It was all Porsche 963s at the top with Felipe Nasr turning a 1m20.007s lap in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport entry ahead of Harry Tincknell in Proton Competition’s No. 59 and teammate Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 6. Anders Fjordbach led LMP2 for High Class Racing and Rasmus Lindh was quickest in LMP3 in the JDC-Miller Motorsports Duqueine.

Danny Formal topped GTD in the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, just ahead of GTD PRO leader Daniel Serra in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3.

GTP points after qualifying

After yesterday’s qualifying session, which awards 10 percent of race points, Filipe Albuquerque/Ricky Taylor and Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport lead with 2492 points.

Alexander Sims/Pipo Derani for Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing have 2483, followed by Nick Tandy/Mathieu Jaminet in the Porsche Penske Motorsport No. 6 with 2481.

For those top three, the situation is still whichever team finishes ahead of the others wins the championship. BMW M Team RLL’s Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly have 2447 points, a 45-point difference to Albuquerque and Taylor. If De Phillippi and Yelloly win and none of the top three finish better than third, the No. 25 BMW squad wins the championship. If the No. 25 is second or third, they have to have at least two cars between them and the other three behind them to win.

Button “trying to stay out of trouble”

Former Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button is competing in his first Petit Le Mans, joining Mike Rockenfeller and Tijmen van der Helm in the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Porsche 963. No stranger to endurance racing, having participated in the NASCAR Garage 56 project at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, he will nevertheless experience some new challenges in the race.

“This place is a bit crazy with traffic,” Button said after two of Thursday’s practice sessions. “Today was the first time I’ve had that. Running second practice, trying to get a feel for the car or a lap time … you just forget about that. You’re just driving around, trying to stay out of trouble.

“There’s still a lot to learn in traffic. I’ve raced in other series in traffic, but this circuit is something very different. So, stay out of trouble, try and be a bit more aggressive in traffic, look after the tires, and we’ll see….”

New race control software

IMSA is testing out a new system this weekend to try to aid race control and stewards in making quick decisions. SBG Sports Software is already providing services to other series, including IMSA parent NASCAR, and their product is being trialed at Petit Le Mans in parallel with the legacy system used to review incidents.

“SBG, great partner. They actually are doing the same for NASCAR, they do a bunch of other top level series around the world,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “Highly detailed tracking of all the cars, integrated with the onboard marshaling system of the cars. Much quicker incident review, replay system. We’re running in parallel this weekend, and excited to see what it brings.”

Dead heat for Jim Trueman award

The top three drivers vying for the Jim Trueman Award, given to the highest-placing Bronze-rated driver in LMP2, are in a dead heat at 1170 points for Ben Keating, Steven Thomas and George Kurtz.

The points for that award are calculated using only race finishes, which is why it differs from the championship points. The winner of the award each year receives an automatic entry for the 24 Hours of Le Mans the following year. The same reward is given to the Bob Akin Award winner for the highest-placed Bronze driver in GTD, where Brendan Iribe has a 160-point lead over Alan Brynjolfsson.

A different kind of autograph session

During the driver autograph session in the paddock Friday afternoon, fans were able to do some signing themselves. Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian, running their last WeatherTech Championship race for the foreseeable future, had the nose of its No. 60 Acura ARX-06 next to the drivers, and markers available for fans to sign it. The car will race today with the autographed nose.

Moving to the back

Two cars were moved to the back of their respective fields for qualifying session violations yesterday.

The No. 59 Proton Competition Porsche 963 lost its qualifying times for working on the car during qualifying. The team had adjusted tire pressure during the session, and while GTP teams are allowed to change tires during qualifying, no other work may be done on the car.

The No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo2, which would have started second in GTD PRO, lost its time for driver Mirko Bortolotti getting out of the car before the session ended.

Tire Allocations

GTP and LMP2 have nine sets of tires to use between qualifying and race. Since GTP teams had a wet qualifying, most have all nine sets with one set slightly scrubbed for the race. LMP3, GTD PRO and GTD have an allocation of 17 sets of tires for the weekend.

Drive Time

Minimum drive time for all the pro-am classes is 2h30m; the minimum for pro classes is 45m. Maximum drive time is six hours for all classes, and no more than four hours in any six-hour period.

Weather

Although periods of light rain have marked the previous days of Petit Le Mans, including overnight last night, the forecast calls for a minimal chance of rain at green flag time. Most of the day is expected to be partly cloudy with a high of 77 F / 25 C. Temperature at race finish is predicted to be mid-60s.

How to watch

The 10-hour race in its entirety will be streamed on Peacock. USA Network will carry the final three hours and post-race, beginning at 6:30 ET. IMSA Radio will be available at IMSA.com as well as SiriusXM 207 and the SiriusXM Web/App 992.