Pipo Derani and the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Action Express Racing Cadillac stayed top of the charts in the second practice session for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at the Detroit Grand Prix.
The two-hour session was run in temperatures some 10 degrees warmer than the morning, which — along with the teams focusing more on race setup than outright speed — meant that the times weren’t quite as quick, although sub-track record times were still set early on. And after a brief red flag stoppage to reposition tire barriers shifted by an errant car, times tumbled in the final 20 minutes as front-runners ran simulations for qualifying later this afternoon.
The top spot changed hands a couple of times before Derani re-asserted his mastery of the Detroit circuit with a new unofficial DPi track record of 1m20.387s.
He had plenty of company, though, with the top 10 cars all under the official class record of 1m21.6 set during last year’s race. Jordan Taylor led the charge in Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac, just 0.119s off Derani’s time, while Helio Castroneves took third in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske entry.
His Acura teammate Dane Cameron, who set the early pace in the No. 6 before slipping back to fifth at the end, thought the speed was testament both to the track condition and the 2019 Michelin tires.
“The Grand Prix did a great job getting the track clean to begin with, and obviously a different deal for us now being on Michelin this year,” Cameron told IMSA Radio. “It’s a little bit different — it’s a little bit bumpier into Turn 1 than I remember from last year. But just the construction of the tire is a little different so some stuff feels a littl better and obviously for us, year two on the program so a little bit more of a head start on what we need for ride heights and dampers and things; but the Michelin seems like it has a little softer sidewall than the tire we used to use, so it’s a little bit more forgiving through Turns 1 and 2 over some of the bumpy stuff there. And obviously the lap times are quite a bit quicker, so we’ll see how fast we can go in qualifying and how close we can get to those pesky IndyCar guys.”
The Mazdas shook off their morning maladies to post sixth- and ninth-best laps in the hands of Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito, respectively. Meanwhile, the nose and steering rack damage to the No. 85 Cadillac DPi from its collision with the spinning Compass Racing McLaren GTD in the opening session was also repaired in time for Tristan Vautier and Misha Goikhberg to take part in the session, and post a creditable seventh place.
Zacharie Robichon led GTD in the Park Place Porsche with a 1m30.011s, edging Christina Nielsen in the No. 57 Meyer Shank Acura NSX with a 1m30.024s. Bill Auberlen pushed the No. 96 BMW M3 up to third in the closing minutes.
UP NEXT: Qualifying, 5:20 p.m. ET