Mazda Team Joest opened its account for 2020 at the Roar Before The 24 in a familiar place as the pace-setting program from the 2019 event went to the top of the chart in the first practice session.
On a track in need of Michelin rubber to generate peak speeds, the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P turned a 1m36.027s lap around the 3.56-mile roval with Harry Tincknell on board. Wayne Taylor Racing’s Renger van der Zande was well behind in second with the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R (+0.716s) and defending DPi champion Juan Pablo Montoya was third in the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 (+0.720s)
DragonSpeed, winners of the Rolex 24 At Daytona LMP2 class last January, was comfortably fastest with a lap of 1m38.402s produced by Ben Hanley in the No. 81 ORECA 07-Gibson. PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Simon Trummer was second in the No. 52 ORECA (+0.962s) and Nicolas Lapierre was third in the Tower Events by Starworks Motorsport ORECA (+2.161s).
The Porsche GT Team demonstrated the potential of its new 911 RSRs with Nick Tandy leading the GT Le Mans class in the No. 911 entry (1m44.271s) and reigning class champion Earl Bamber claiming third in the No. 912 (+0.608s) as they sandwiched IndyCar star and 2019 Rolex 24 GTLM winner Colton Herta in the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE (+0.509s).
The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s largest class, GT Daytona, featured AIM Vasser Sullivan’s No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 driven by Jack Hawksworth in the top spot (1m47.031s). The Grasser Racing Team’s No. 11 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was second with Franck Perera onboard (+0.322s), and he was shadowed by the second AVS Lexus piloted by Townsend Bell (+0.453s).
Of the 40 cars entered, 36 turned meaningful laps during the session. Two red flags were required as Magnus Racing’s No. 44 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was stranded on course with a stuck air jack. The second involved IMSA newcomer and former A.J. Foyt Racing IndyCar driver Matheus Leist, who went into the barriers at Turn 6. The No. 11 GRT Lamborghini was also stopped on the circuit during the same pause in action.