BMW Team RLL leads the way in opening Charlotte Roval practice

Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

BMW Team RLL leads the way in opening Charlotte Roval practice


BMW Team RLL leads the way in opening Charlotte Roval practice


BMW Team RLL turned up the heat in the closing moments of IMSA’s lone practice session on Friday its GT-only event on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. Corvette Racing held a 1-2 for the majority of the night session run with light rain falling that was originally scheduled for 60 minutes, but that didn’t stop Jesse Krohn in the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (1m15.482s) and teammate Bruno Spengler in the No. 25 BMW (+0.069s) from knocking their rivals from atop the speed chart as the rain slowed and track conditions improved.

Getting in on the late fun was Nick Tandy from the Porsche GT Team, who wedged the No. 911 RSR (+0.124s) between Spengler’s BMW and Tommy Milner’s No. 4 Corvette C8.R to take third on the German brand’s return to the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after skipping Mid-Ohio due to a small COVID-19 outbreak. Milner’s teammate Antonio Garcia and Tandy’s teammate Earl Bamber rounded out the six-car GT Le Mans field. For the sake of comparison, last year’s pole for NASCAR’s Cup race on the Roval was 1m20.932s, nearly 5.5 seconds adrift from the leading IMSA GT Le Mans lap.

“First of all, thank you to IMSA for listening to our feedback from the test because the infield was super-dark in the test and that was we felt like might be dangerous for the drivers who didn’t drive at the test and would jumping straight into free practice here,” Krohn said.
“So great job bringing the lights, that really made a difference and I think it made the session safer and more comfortable for every one. The track is still as difficult as it was at the test even with some extra light. It’s super high commitment so you have to go close to the wall in many places and a little mistake is gonna have a big effect. You can destroy the whole car with just a little tap because the concrete walls are not flexing at all. The car is going to be the one giving up. So it’s very very difficult, very high commitment. I like the track. It’s nice and flowy.”

The session was extended by 10 minutes to a total of 70 from start to finish in an effort to compensate for the time lost to the red flag caused by Michael De Quesada’s No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, which stopped on track halfway through the outing.

Outside of the red flag, the 12-car GT Daytona grid was led by the championship-leading No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 driven by Mario Farnbacher (1m17.682s). Behind the MSR Acura, the No. 14 AVS Lexus driven by Jack Hawksworth, its closest title rival, nearly matched its pace (0.046s). Capping the top three in GTD, MSR’s second Acura, co-entered with Jackie Heinricher, bookended the Lexus with Alvaro Parente onboard the No. 57 NSX GT3.

UP NEXT: FP2, Saturday, 9:45 a.m. ET