Action Express Racing leapt to the top of IMSA’s first test session of 2021 at its Roar Before The 24 event at Daytona International Speedway, with the No. 48 Cadillac DPi-V.R comfortably ahead of the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05 under warm and overcast conditions.
Kamui Kobayashi’s lap of 1m35.312s was well clear of Ricky Taylor’s time (+0.385s) as WTR started its learning process with a new manufacturer. AXR’s No. 31 Cadillac was third in the one-hour session with Felipe Nasr (+0.530s), and the top five in DPi was rounded out by Renger van der Zande in the new Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing No. 01 DPi-V.R (+0.651s) and Mazda’s Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 55 RT24-P (+0.866s).
In LMP2, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports found itself in a familiar place with the No. 52 ORECA 07-Gibson recording a 1m37.741s with Nicolas Lapierre onboard. Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen followed in the No. 20 High Class Racing ORECA (+0.555s), and Gabriel Aubrey completed the top three in the No. 8 Tower Motorsports by Starworks ORECA (0+638s).
Making its WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut, the first session for LMP3 finished with the No. 6 Muehlner Motorsports America Duqueine M30-308 VK atop the category with a 1m43.655s turned by Laurents Horr. Riley Motorsports’ Scott Andrews was second in the No. 74 JS P320 (+0.087s) and Sean Creech Motorsports’ Wayne Boyd was third in the No. 33 Ligier (+0.183s).
GT Le Mans opened its year with an independent team leading the factory entries as Risi Competizione’s No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE driven by James Calado was comfortably fastest thanks to his lap of 1m43.680s. He was chased by Jordan Taylor in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R (+0.387s) and BMW Team RLL’s Philipp Eng in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (+0.503s). After BMW’s Augusto Farfus in fourth, the other independent team in GTLM, the new Proton Competition-led No. 79 Porsche 911 RSR, completed the runners with Richard Lietz’s best (+1.635s).
IMSA’s most populated class, GT Daytona, featured the returning Christina Nielsen in the No. 88 Team Hardpoint EBM Porsche 911 GT3R as its standard bearer with her lap of 1m46.194s. AF Corse’s Matteo Cressoni was second in the No. 21 Ferrari 488 GT3 (+0.311s), and Maro Engel welcomed Winward Racing to GTD by placing the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3 (+0.331s) in third.
No incidents were reported.
UP NEXT: Session 2, 4:15-5:15 p.m. ET
Editor’s note: Official timing credits Simon Pagenaud with the fastest lap in the No.48, however AXR contacted RACER after this story was published to say that Kobayashi was in the car.