The second practice session for the Motul Petit Le Mans got underway under a clear blue sky and breezy conditions at Road Atlanta, with the remnants of Hurricane Michael having blown away earlier in the day. Helio Castroneves — whose No. 7 Acura DP had stopped on course at the end of FP1 — immediately demonstrated there was nothing amiss with that car by planting it at the top of the times — but not for long as first Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 55 Mazda and then Colin Braun in the No. 54 CORE Autosport ORECA LMP2 edged him aside as many teams set quick laps early in the one-hour session.
Indeed, Braun’s 1m11.669s lap would hold up as the fastest overall, the fastest of the weekend so far.
“It’s sort of business as usual for us,” said Braun, who goes into Saturday’s season finale hot on the heels of Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran in the No. 31 Cadillac for the championship. “We were just going through our routine — it doesn’t really matter performance wise, but it’s always nice to be quick!”
Tristan Vautier joined Braun in the 1m11s midway through the one-hour session, the former IndyCar racer getting comfortable in the Mustang Sampling Cadillac he’ll share with Felipe Albuquerque (the FP1 pace-setter) and Christian Fittipaldi. Bomarito’s early lap held up for third until a late flyer from Juan Pablo Montoya put the first of the Acura Team Penske entries in that spot.
Oliver Jarvis underscored the competitive form of the Mazdas thus far by putting the No. 77 fifth, sandwiching Bomarito’s Mazda and Ricky Taylor in sixth with the second Acura.
After Ford Chip Ganassi Racing reigned supreme in the morning session, their GTLM championship rivals Corvette Racing flexed their muscles in Practice 2. Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R topped the No. 67 Ford by 0.037s, this time with Richard Westbrook on point in the Ford GT he’s sharing with Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon.
Marcel Fassler — Corvette’s third driver on the weekend — put in laps in both cars, and set the top lap in the No. 4 to rank third overall amid a diverse group headed by the retro-liveried Porsche of Earl Bamber, John Edwards’ BMW Team RLL, the second Ford and the Risi Ferrari, making a welcome return to the field with Miguel Molina, Toni Vilander and Andrea Bertolini.
Jereoen Bleekemolen led the way in GT Daytona with the Mercedes-AMG Team Riley GT3, while Dillon Machavern made a late flyer in the Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 to take second ahead of first session pace-setter Christopher Mies.
The teams now get a few hours off before their first session in darkness.
UP NEXT: Practice 3 at 7:30 p.m.