Gabriele Piana of Italy, winner of the 24 hours of Nurburgring in GT4, continued his impressive performances Friday in the second-round practice for the Pirelli World Challenge GTS class by taking his No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR sports car to the top spot in the 28-car field.
Piana, 31, drove his mount to a time of 1m19.099, some two-tenths off the qualifying track record of 1m18.855s set last year by Lawson Aschenbach. The Italian must now be listed as the favorite for the GTS pole position after leading both practice rounds Friday with qualifying schedule for 9:40 a.m. EST at the 14-turn, 1.8-mile temporary street circuit.
Second Friday afternoon in GTS practice was Jade Buford of Nashville, Tenn., in the No. 55 PF Racing Ford Mustang GT4 with a clocking of 1m19.362s followed by Aschenbach, the defending GTS champion in the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, at 1m19.648s.
Rounding out the top five overall positions were Drew Staveley of Salt Lake Lake, Utah, the GTSA driver from Salt Lake City, Utah, in the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55 at 1m20.038s and last year’s GTA and SprintX Pro-Am champion James Sofronas of Villa Park, Calif., in the No. 14 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS at 1m20.231s.
After Stavely in the GTSA Friday at St. Petersburg was former TC champion Toby Grahovec of Celina, Tex., in the Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW M4 GT4 at 1m20.959s. Grahovec is making his GTS debut in the Pirelli World Challenge this weekend in the new BMW.
Third in GTSA practice was the 2017 GTSA series champion George Kurtz in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/GMG Audi R8 at a lap of 1m12.138s.
On Saturday, the GTS/GTSA Round 1 50-minute sprint race is set for 5:05 p.m. ET with Sunday’s Round 2 GTS/GTSA event to drop the green flag at 9:30 a.m. ET.