Entering the IMSA season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans in contention for two championships, Felipe Nasr led Thursday’s opening practice in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Running in perfect 64-degree temperatures under overcast skies at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Nasr turned a fast lap of 1m09.093s, edging out the two Acura Team Penske cars in the one-hour, five-minute session. The red-and-white Cadillac enters the finale a close second in the Michelin Endurance Cup while remaining mathematically eligible for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi crown. Nasr turned only nine laps in the session, with Action Express Racing among the teams opting to save tires for Saturday’s finale.
Ricky Taylor turned the second-fastest lap, +0.642s in the No. 7 Acura ARX-05, besting teammate Dane Cameron in the No. 6 by 0.238s. Colin Braun was fourth in the final scheduled run for the No. 54 CORE autosport Nissan, +0.929s.
Timo Bernhardt led the Mazda Team Joest contingent, sixth overall at +1.076s in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P.
GTLM was incredibly close, with the top five cars separated by 0.221s.
Richard Westbrook was fastest in the No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, at 1m16.810s. James Calado was second in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE, +0.092s, followed by Dirk Mueller, +0.172s in the No. 66 Ford; Nick Tandy, +0.182s in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR; and John Edwards, +0.221s in the No. 24 Team RLL BMW GTLM.
Bill Auberlen led the GTD contingent, with a 1m19.306s in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. He was followed by Jack Hawksworth, +0.290s in the No. 14 Lexus, and Bryan Sellers, +0.364s in the No. 48 Lamborghini.
Both Corvette Racing GLTM entries – plus the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R – were among the cars turning minimal laps in order to save tires for Saturday’s 10-hour race.
Marco Seefried brought out the red flag at the 42-minute mark following contact involving the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing 1st Phorm/Total Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the Esses that resulted in suspension damage. Action was stopped for 11 minutes – followed by a five-minute extension to the session.
The session was also red-flagged briefly at the six-minute mark to retrieve the stopped No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus of Hawksworth, which punctured a tire.
UP NEXT: Practice two is set for 2:50 p.m. Theone-hour, 15-minute session includes additional track time for Silver and Bronze rated drivers competing in the LMP2 and GTD classes. This evening includes a 90-minute night session beginning at 7:30 p.m.