With nearly four of the 10 hours in Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans set to run in darkness, all 31 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entries took advantage of Friday’s 90-minute night practice at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Pipo Derani led the session with a lap of 1m10.175s in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, putting the Action Express Racing entry atop the chart for the second-consecutive session.
Renger van der Zande was second, +0.040s in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac, with the two cars trading the lead early in the evening.
Dane Cameron took third in the final five minutes, +0.087s in the No. 6 Team Penske Acura DPi. Teammate Ricky Taylor – who led the morning session – was fourth, +0.070s in the No. 7 Acura, followed by Harry Tincknell, +0.129 in the No. 55 Mazda DPi.
Mikkel Jensen led the LMP2 contingent, with his lap of 1m11.195 in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA LMP2 07-Gibson, .308s ahead of Colin Braun in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA.
The Porsche GT Team went 1-2 in GTLM. Laurens VanThoor was fastest, 1m17.252s in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19, +0.229s over teammate Fred Makowiecki in the No. 911. Third was Nicky Catsburg, +0.0260s in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R, followed by the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE of Augusto Farfus.
Different marques took the top five positions in GTD. Aaron Telitz was fastest, 1m20.501s in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, +0.046s over the Porsche of Jan Helen; +0.159s over the Audi of Andrew Davis; +0.252s over the Ferrari of Alessandro Balzan; and +0.360s over the Aston Martin of Roman De Angeles. The top 12 of the 13 GTD cars were separated by 0.766s.
The first incident came at the 55-minute mark when Jakub Smiechowski went into the gravel in Turn 10 in the No. 51 Inter Europol Competition ORECA, bringing out a five-minute red flag stoppage.
Only four minutes later, the red flag returned following an incident in Turn 2 between Chris Miller in the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac and the No. 74 Mercedes-AMG of Ken Keating. The Cadillac sustained right-front damage and lost its wing, while the Mercedes had minor right-front damage.
UP NEXT: The WeatherTech Championship has only one session scheduled for Friday. Qualifying begins with a 15-minute session for the GTD competitors at 12:30 p.m. ET, followed by GTLM at 12:55 p.m. and DPi/LMP2 at 1:20 p.m.