Acura Team Penske prevailed in a back-and-forth battle with the CORE autosport Nissan to lead Saturday morning’s final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Helio Castroneves ended up on top with the best lap of the weekend, 1m05.632s, in the No. 7 Acura ARX-05. Colin Braun — who paced both of Friday’s sessions in the No. 54 Nissan Ligier JS P217 — had his best lap of the weekend, 1m05.784s.
“Knowing where I’m going — especially in the corners — has definitely helped me a lot,” said Castroneves, racing at CTMP for the second time. “This is an amazing track, very fast. I did my homework and watched a lot of video, and now I’m definitely better, especially in Turns 1 and 2. Also, running back-to-back weekends [following Watkins Glen] helps tremendously. You understand the car a little more. No question, everyone at Acura Team Penske is pushing, and let’s see what happens.”
Jonathan Bomarito led the Mazdas, third best at 1m5.947s on his checkered flag lap in the No. 55 Team Joest RT-24P. Felipe Nasr recorded the best Cadillac lap of the weekend, 1m6.001 in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, which was fourth fastest..
Ryan Briscoe led GTLM with a lap of 1m13.739 late in the session in the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT.
“[Winning here] is going to be very tough,” said Briscoe’s co-driver, Richard Westbrook. “We’ve won here a couple of times in the past three years, but that was purely on strategy and taking our chances. We’ve never really had a lot of pace here. It’s looking really encouraging in practice — we didn’t expect to be this far up here. The team’s been working their asses off to get some pace out of the car, and it seems like we’ve unlocked something.”
Jesse Krohn was second, 0.089s back in the No. 24 Team RLL BMW M8 GTLM. He was followed by Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.
In GTD, Robby Foley bettered co-driver Bill Auberlen’s best lap from Friday, running 1m16.229s in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. He was followed by Ben Keating in the No. 33 Wynn’s Mercedes-AMG, Jack Hawksworth in the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 and Andy Lally in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Kyle Masson was fastest in LMP2, running 1m09.472s in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA Gibson, edging Dalton Kellett in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA Gibson.
The session was red flagged for 14 minutes at the 11-minute mark when Ryan Hardwick lost control of the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and hit a barrier in Turn 2. Hardwick quickly got out of the car, which needed a flat-bed tow back to the paddock for evaluation by the team.
UP NEXT (all times ET): Qualifying begins today at 11:35 a.m., with a 15-minute session for GTD. GTLM starts at noon, with DPi/LMP2 set for 12:25 p.m.
Sunday’s race takes the green flag at 1:05 p.m. for two hours, 40 minutes of racing.