It may have been a somewhat discouraging week of news for Acura Team Penske in terms of the squad’s long-term future, but that didn’t show on the track as practice began under blue skies and cool conditions for Sunday’s IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America.
Ricky Taylor topped the hour-long session in the Daytona Prototype international class, with his No. 7 Acura posting a 1m50.654s just over two minutes from the end of the session. That eclipsed the best lap of teammate Dane Cameron, whose No. 6 had set the pace most of the way at 1m50.929s. Renger van der Zande put the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac in third, another 0.285s behind. The DPi lap record at Road America stands at 1m48.7s, set last year by Cameron for Acura.
“The car feels really good,” Taylor said. “Hopefully as the track starts to rubber up, those little balance issues will come to us. But so far, we’re pretty happy.
“It’s nice to get a result in practice. We always seem to show good speed here at Road America. We just need to translate it to a race win, hopefully. … The (No.) 7 car really needs to get back to winning. I think all the pieces are in place. We just need to do it on track. I think it’s one of those cases where once we get that breakthrough and get the monkey off our back and we’ll be in a good place.”
In GT Le Mans, it was Porsche No. 911 over Porsche No. 912. Fred Makowiecki led the way at 2m01.492s compared to Lauren Vanthoor’s 2m01.583s. BMW Team RLL’s M8 GTE was third with Jesse Krohn, but nearly a full second back.
It was a troubled start for the No. 25 BMW Team RLL entry, which stopped on course halfway through the session during Connor De Philippi’s out lap after a lengthy (and smoky) pit stop, triggering a red flag.
Bill Auberlen led the way in GT Daytona, with a 2m06.822s in his Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3. That was a comfortable 0.82s up on Patrick Long in Wright Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3.
Effective this weekend, all GTLM and GTD cars have had 5 liters added to their fuel capacity, ensuring all cars can make it through 2h40m races like this weekend’s with two fuel stops. In GTD, the Audi and Lamborghini both gained a slight larger air restrictor, while the restrictor on the Lexus was reduced, costing an estimated 8-9hp.
Other than De Phillippi’s problem, the only other incident involved Cameron Cassels, who lost the rear of his No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA LMP2 at the exit of Turn 5 on his out lap and clipped the barrier. Damage was minor, though, and Cassels was able to return to the pits, with teammate James French getting it back on course and up to speed at the end of the session. Quickest in the LMP2 category was Simon Trummer in the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA, at 1m53.381s.
UP NEXT: Practice 2, Saturday, 9:55 a.m. ET