After posting the second-best lap in daytime preparation for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Mazda went to the top of the speed chart in Thursday evening’s 90-minute night practice. Rene Rast turned a lap of 1m48.233s in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P, followed by teammate Harry Tincknell, 1m48.690 in the No. 55 Mazda.
“Getting a clean lap with all of the traffic was not that easy,” Rast said. “It’s not very easy but we managed to get one clean lap. The Mazda felt good. It was the first time on a new set of tires and I am pretty happy, I think we made decent progress over the day – and from Daytona to here. The car got a complete new build up and we improved many things. We are moving in the right direction.”
Felipe Nasr placed third in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R with a lap at 1m48.799s. Team Penske – fastest in both daytime sessions – was 12th in night practice.
Chip Ganassi Racing led GTLM for the third consecutive session. Dirk Mueller turned in the fastest lap of the day – 1m57.371s in the No. 66 Ford GT, followed by Alexander Sims in the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTLM with a 1m57.673s, and Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR, setting a time of 1m57.843s.
Turner Motorsport paced GTD, with Markus Palttla turning a lap of 2m00.970s in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3. Second was Daniel Serra at 2m01.052s in the No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3, followed by Sheldon van der Linde’s 2m01.065s lap in the No. 29 Montaplast Audi R8 LMS GT3.
The lone incident of the session occurred when Marcel Fassler came to stop in Turn 6 in the No. 4 Corvette Racing C7.R, bringing out a brief red flag stoppage.
IMSA required that 31 drivers participate in night practice in order to be cleared to compete during periods of darkness during Saturday’s race.
Only one of the 43 entries missed the session: the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 that sustained major front-end damage after the rear brakes failed late in the second practice session. The team is working to have the car on track in time for Friday qualifying.
NEXT UP: FP4, 8-9 a.m. ET.