Acura Team Penske topped the times to kick off track action for the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 6 Acura DPi was quickest of the team’s squad of drivers in Free Practice 1 for the Rolex 24 At Daytona, with a 1m49.917s.
The Colombian’s time was set towards the end of the session, which was held in greasy, damp conditions caused by light rain through the morning. Times tumbled throughout but with the weather expected to pick up for the race, the teams didn’t push too hard for times.
Some cars didn’t head out at all, as only 33 of the 38 entries turned laps. Included in the list of cars that didn’t turn laps was the Heart of Racing Aston Martin, and the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac, members of the AXR crew telling RACER that it wouldn’t risk its car in the weather conditions.
Behind Montoya, the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest slotted in second, after a 1m49.956s flying lap from Olivier Pla at the very end of the session, just 39 thousandths of a second off the best Penske Acura.
The No. 85 JDC Miller Cadillac was pushed down to third as a result of Pla’s late lap, with a best time four tenths off the leading Penske Acura. The No. 5 JDC-run Mustang Sampling Cadillac made it two JDC entries in the top four, after Sebastien Bourdias set a 1m51.054s.
In the LMP2 class the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA topped the times after Nicolas Lapierre set a 1m52.193s, 1.3 seconds clear of the other runners in the five-car class.
There were multiple red flags in the session, both caused by GT cars. The first was for the No. 4 Corvette Racing. C8.R stopping at Turn 4 with Marcel Fassler at the wheel, although it did fire up again and make its way back to the garage. It was later revealed that the Corvette stopped as a precaution because the car’s power controller was overheating. But it was fixed in the pits.
The second, late in the session, was for an off by the Black Swan Racing Porsche, which sustained damage from hitting the tires at Turn 6, leaving a stream of debris on the circuit. Trenton Estep was aboard when the car had its off, and climbed out of the car under his own power.
Porsche, which is debuting its 911 RSR 19 in IMSA this week, finished 1-2 in the GTLM category, with the No. 912 the quicker of the two after Laurens Vanthoor’s late 1m57.031s which pushed the No. 912 to second.
Best of the rest was the No. 3 Corvette Racing C8.R, with the No. 4 Vette fourth, making it a 1-2-3-4 for the debuting cars. The No. 3 came within a second of Vanthoor’s time after Antonio Garcia’s best effort.
GTD Daytona saw the No. 88 WRT Audi R8 LMS on top, former Lamborghini factory driver and reigning Rolex 24 GTD champion Mirko Bortolotti setting the benchmark, a 1m58.763s. The No. 9 Pfaff Porsche finished the session second ahead of the No. 11 Grasser Racing Lamborghini third.
UP NEXT: Practice 2 at 12:45 p.m. ET