While Ricky Taylor earned honors as the fastest competitor in Thursday morning’s opening IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, it was not by much, with the top seven DPi competitors separated by a scant 0.443s.
Taylor’s best lap of 1m10.086s in the No. 7 Acura DPi came just before the halfway mark in the one-hour session, after Cadillac and Mazda shared time at the top in the session, run under cloudy skies with 69-degree temperatures.
Mazdas were second and third, with Oliver Jarvis (+0.068s) in the No. 77 and Jonathan Bomarito (+0.157s) in the No. 55. Then came early session leader Felipe Nasr (+0.240s) in the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac, followed by Sebastien Bourdais (+312s) in the No. 5 JDC-Miller Cadillac; Gabriel Aubrey (+0.419s) in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Cadillac); and Juan Pablo Montoya (+0.443s) in the No. 6 Acura. The only other car in the class was Renger van der Zande, another +0.343s in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac.
Mikkel Jensen paced LMP2, at 1m11.078s in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA KMP2 07-Gibson, +0.475s over Scott Huffaker in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA, and +0.491s ahead of Colin Braun in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA.
The Porsche GT Team went 1-2 in GTLM, with Lance Vanthoor’s best of 1m17.008s in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19 edging teammate Nick Tandy by +0.486s in the No. 911. Connor De Phillippi was +0.599s in the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE, followed by the No. 3 Corvette C8.R of Antonio Garcia, +0.747s.
A pair of Atlanta drivers paced GTD. Bryan Sellers ran 1m19.946s in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 0.173s better than Andy Lally in the No. 44 GRT Magnus Lambo. Darren Turner was third, +0.469s in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
There was only one brief four-minute red flag stoppage, when the Chris Miller spun in the No. 85 Cadillac and got backwards at Turn 5, facing heavy traffic. After the flag, he was able to proceed back to the pits.
All 31 entries participated in the session.
UP NEXT: P2, a 1h15m session including track time for Pro-Am drivers, begins at 3:45 p.m. ET. Thursday’s on-track activity concludes with a 90-minute night practice, starting at 7:30 p.m.