After a tough start to the season, the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05c finally got the good start they needed with Olivier Pla laying down a 1m31.056s to top the first practice session of the weekend at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of Watkins Glen.
Pla was 0.591s quicker than the next best time in the session, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. That car’s best time was a 1m31.647s from Mike Conway, who rejoins the team for the third of four races in the Michelin Endurance Cup this season.
The No. 01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing DPi-V.R. was third-fastest after a 1m31.949s from Renger van der Zande. The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura ARX-05c of Alexander Rossi was fourth with a 1m31.987s.
Mazda was sixth in DPi with a 1m32.438s from Harry Tincknell in the No. 55 Mazda RT-24P.
The session was red-flagged on two occasions. Once as the result of contact between the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA 07 of Kyle Tilley who turned in on Simon Pagenaud in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac Racing DPi-V.R. The No. 18 ORECA needed to be recovered. That incident occurred just seven minutes into the session.
In LMP2, Tristan Nunez put the No. 11 WIN Autosport ORECA 07 on top of the timing screens with a time of 1m33.836s. That lap bested John Farano in the No. 8 Tower Motorsports ORECA 07 by just 0.045s.
Scott Huffaker in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07 rounded out the top three in LMP2 with a time of 1m34.397s.
— Watkins Glen International (@WGI) June 25, 2021
Corvette led a 1-2 in GT Le Mans with the No. 4 Corvette C8.R getting the better of its teammates in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R. Nick Tandy set a 1m42.517s in the No. 4 Corvette while Antonio Garcia was quickest in the No. 3 Corvette with a time of 1m42.674s.
Three-tenths of a second off of the Corvettes were the two BMW entries from BMW Team RLL. The No. 24 BMW M8 GTE was third-fastest with Jesse Krohn setting a time of 1m42.852s. The No. 25 BMW was a further 0.210s behind its teammate.
Rounding out GTLM was the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR. The No. 79 Porsche suffered a broken right rear suspension. Matt Campbell nursed the car back to the pits. Replays seemed to suggest that the suspension gave way on one of the curbs in the bus stop chicane.
Oliver Askew topped the charts in LMP3 with a time of 1m40.812 in the Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320. Jonathan Bennett in the No. 54 CORE autosport Ligier JS P320 was just 0.083s behind Askew. Rounding out the top three in LMP3 was Felipe Fraga in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320, his best time was a 1m41.517s.
In GT Daytona, Jack Hawksworth in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3 was the quickest in the opening practice session. His best time was a 1m46.673s. Patrick Long in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R set a time of 1m46.861 that was good enough for second quickest in the class.
Jaden Conwright in the No. 42 NTE Sport Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo rounded out the top three with a time of 1m47.085. It was a strong lap from Conwright to move the No. 42 into the conversation as the new team continues to find their footing in the series.
The normally scheduled hour-long session was extended by thirty minutes for Bronze-rated drivers on account of potential weather that could limit the amount of dry running on Saturday.