Three weekends ago, Mazda Team Joest’s No. 77 Mazda RT-24P missed the opening day of practice during the Roar Before the Rolex 24. Today, that car led the opening one-hour round of official practice for the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona, with Rene Rast turning a fastest lap of 1m37.428s to lead preparation for the opening race of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
“For us, obviously, it’s a good start to Daytona for Mazda Team Joest,” Rast said. “We had no issues and a good feeling for the overall balance. We are much better than compared to the Roar, but let’s see in a couple of hours – or when the race starts – where we are. We didn’t see the picture of everyone today, so it’s hard to judge. But I’m positive I think we made the right adjustments and obviously we got a bit of help, we lost some weight from the BoP side, but not too bad.”
Cadillacs – fastest in all eight sessions in the Roar – took the next three positions in the 20-car Prototype field. Tristan Vautier led the GM contingent, 1m37.435s in the No.90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R, followed by Jordan Taylor in the No.10 Konica Minolta entry, 1m37.452s, and Filipe Albuquerque in the No.5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac, 1m37.519s.
ORECAs took the next four places, led by Alex Brundle in the No.78 Jackie Chan DCR Jota ORECA 07-Gibson, 1m37.530s. The top 13 Prototypes were within one second.
Joey Hand paced the GTLM contingent, 1m44.062s in the No.66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, followed by Alessandro Pier Guidi, 1m44.544s in the No.62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE, and Vaurens Vanthoor, 1m44.571s in the No.912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR.
Risi Competizione was fastest in GTD, with Miguel Molina’s lap of 1m47.223s in the No.82 Ferrari 488 GT3. He was followed by Pedro Lamy, 1m47.283s in the No.51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3, and AJ Allmendinger, 1m47.507s in the No.86 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3.
The session was red-flagged for 8m49s when Phil Hanson sustained front-end damage following contact with the tire barrier in Turn 5 in the No.23 United Autosports Ligier JSP217. The car is expected to be ready for the afternoon practice. The lone car of the 50 entries not to participate was the No. 24 BMW M8 GTLM, with that car expected to be ready for the next session.
NEXT UP: FP2, 1:40-2:40 p.m. ET.