Italy’s Daniel Mancinelli recorded the quickest lap time Friday in the opening practice for the Pirelli World Challenge Round 3 GT Sprint event in the 44th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach at the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit along the picturesque Long Beach Harbor.
Mancinelli, a three-time 2017 GT SprintX race winner, drove the No. 31 TR3 Racing/Ferrari of Vancouver Ferrari 488 GT3 to a best lap of 1m19.262s (89.41moh) on his final lap of the one-hour practice session at the legendary Long Beach track. Alvaro Parente set the PWC GT track record last year in qualifying at 1m18.883s (89.94mph).
“The car was prepared very well today for the Long Beach track,” said Mancinelli, who placed fourth in last year’s 50-minute GT Sprint at Long Beach. “I liked the track from last year and it made it easier for me to know the corners and the braking zones. I had a good pace at the beginning of the session and improved more as the session went on. I finally got a clear lap late and I set my fast lap on the final lap. It was difficult to get a clean lap, but I got one at the end and it gave me the fast lap. I have a lot of confidence in the car for Saturday’s qualifying.”
Taking second in the PWC GT class Friday was Canadian Daniel Morad in the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 sports car with a 1m19.519s (89.12mph) followed by COTA GT SprintX double winner Toni Vilander of Finland in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 488 GT3 at 1m19.849s (88.75mph), college student Alec Udell in the No. 41 LOCI/HKG Racing/GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1m19.863s (88.73mph) and Michael Christensen in the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1m19.904s (88.69mph)
Martin Fuentes, the 2016 GTA series champion, was the quickest driver in the GTA division with the No. 07 Hublot/Squadra Corse Garage Ferrari 488 GT3 at 1m20.528 (88.00mph) over Japan’s Yuki Harata in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3 at 1m20.599s (87.92mph).
In the GT4 Invitational class, young Paul Holton, the 2017 PWC TC champion, paced the practice times with a 1m27.141s (81.32mph) in the No. 78 Compass360 Racing McLaren 570S. Second was Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 66 TRG Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR at 1m27.356s (81.12mph) and local driver Bob Michaelian of Seal Beach, Calif., in the No. 45 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN 1 GT4 at 1m28.366s (80.20mph).
Qualifying for the Pirelli World Challenge 21-car field is set for Saturday (April 14) at 9:20 a.m. PT with the 50-minute PWC GT/GTA/GT4 feature race scheduled for Sunday at 10:00 a.m. PT.