Kevin Estre opened the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway with a statement on Friday as he guided the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR to a lap time nearly 0.8s quicker than the pair of Corvette C8.Rs could manage in the first practice session.
Estre returns to the WeatherTech Porsche this weekend after last being in the car for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Porsche factory driver found the groove quickly with an early lap time of 1m41.124s that easily cleared the time of 1m41.921s set by Nick Tandy in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R.
Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R set a time of 1m41.969s that rounded out the GT Le Mans class.
In GT Daytona, Bill Auberlen and the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 topped the charts with a time of 1m44.391s. Auberlen was +0.275s clear of Franck Perera in the No 19 GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan.
Auberlen and Perera were the only two GTD drivers to break into the 1m44s.
The No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage completed the top three with Ross Gunn laying down a time of 1m45.029s.
A mechanical problem for the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan cost the team a significant amount of time. The Lambo completed only nine laps, about 20 less than the average for most cars in the session.
UP NEXT: It’s a busy day for the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship competitors as Free Practice 2 (11:55 a.m. ET) and qualifying (4:35 p.m. ET) are both still to come.