The first official session for the Rolex 24 at Daytona featured heavy mist and wet conditions with limited running that saw Pato O’Ward in the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA OTRECA LMP2 car set the 1m49.251s fast time at the very end of the session as the track began to dry out a bit. Only 47 of the 61 entries ventured out to test in conditions that are not expected to appear during the race.
Earl Bamber was the fastest of the DPi runners, second overall, in the No. 02 Cadillac Racing Cadillac with a 1m49.267s. The conditions left the GTD runners high up the list of time, with Mathieu Jaminet topping GTD Pro in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R at 1m56.784s, while Luca Stolz was at the head of GTD in the No. 75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes AMG GT3 with a 1m58.419s lap. Matthew Bell was quickest of the LMP3 field with 1m59.223s in the No. 13 AWA Duqueine.
Guy Cosmo is out of the No. 32 Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT, replaced by James Davison.
The teams have two more testing opportunities today, one at 3:20 p.m. Eastern that will feature 15 minutes at either end with less traffic to deal with. The classes with amateur drivers get 15 minutes at the beginning without the pro classes on track, and the pros get theirs at the end. That session could possibly see conditions similar to the first, but the two-hour night practice at 7 p.m. Eastern is expected to be dry.
Speaking of the weather, the word for the weekend is cold. The practice days and BMW M Endurance Challenge for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will see a lot of cool and wet conditions, while Saturday will dawn dry, but downright cold. While the teams may get some dry running this afternoon and evening to prepare for race conditions, nothing will prepare them for the cold they’ll experience during the race. The temperature during the 24 isn’t expected to get above 50 degrees F, and will be below freezing in the middle of the night. With no tire warmers per IMSA rules, the first laps on fresh tires will be challenging.
UP NEXT: Practice 2, 3:20 p.m. ET