The first practice session of the WEC Six Hours of Fuji finished with hometown OEM Toyota on top. The Japanese marque topped the times with the No. 8 TS050 HYBRID atop the screens with a 1m27.373s from Sebastien Buemi.
Rebellion Racing was able to split the Toyotas at this stage though with its single Gibson-powered R-13. Frenchman Norman Nato put the No. 1 second with a 1m27.659s, four tenths faster from the No. 7 Toyota that slotted in third.
Behind, completing the top five overall were the two Team LNT Ginettas, 1.076s and 1.3s off the best time of the session respectively. The team’s G60-LT-P1s only completed 15 laps combined during the running, after brake cooling issues required a change in set up in the garage that cost the crew valuable track time. Only two of the team’s six drivers took part too, with Ben Hanley and Charlie Robertson the only drivers to set times.
In LMP2, High Class Racing driver Kenta Yamashita flexed his muscles. The current Super GT points leader, who is fresh from his first Super Formula win, put the Danish team’s Goodyear-shod ORECA 07 Gibson on top by a considerable margin. His best time was a 1m29.624s, almost eight tenths faster than the other runners in the class.
The top three was completed by the first of the Michelin teams, the No. 29 Racing Team Nederland ORECA, and the No. 42 Cool Racing ORECA.
Frenchman Alexandre Coigny made his return to the track with the Cool Racing team for the first time since his incident at the ELMS race at Silverstone, which ruled him out of the season opener. The Swiss team, which went on to win the first race of the season, took third after Nicolas Lapierre’s 1m30.814s.
Porsche, meanwhile, found early pace in GTE Pro, its No. 91 and No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR 19s ending up 1-2 at the head of the class. Italian Gianmaria Bruni was the pace setter for the German brand, with a 1m38.419s.
Best of the rest in the three-brand class was the quickest of the two AF Corse Ferraris, the No. 71. Davide Rigon toured the circuit in 1m38.707s, putting him third and less than a tenth up on the fastest of the two Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMRs, the No. 95.
Aston’s headlines came from GTE Am. TF Sport’s Vantage AMR set the fastest time in the class with a 1m39.010s from Aston factory driver Jonny Adam. Local team MR Racing’s Ferrari ended up second less than a tenth back, with the newly-liveried black Gulf Racing Porsche making it three brands in the top three.
UP NEXT: Free Practice 2 at 3:30 p.m. local time.