Derani tops first Long Beach IMSA practice for AXR

Chris duMond/Lumen

Derani tops first Long Beach IMSA practice for AXR


Derani tops first Long Beach IMSA practice for AXR


Pipo Derani started cranking out fast laps with 10 minutes left in the first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach and continued to better his time, ultimately ending up with a 1m12.337s time to head the chart for the session. Derani’s time in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac was 0.942s quicker than Richard Westbrook in the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac

Tom Blomqvist was third in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura with a 1m13.364s lap, followed by Sebastian Bourdais (No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac), Ricky Taylor (No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura) and Alex Lynn, turning his first laps at Long Beach in the No. 02 CGR Cadillac.

Being the second group on track after the Porsche Carrera Cup, the drivers faced a still-green street circuit, and several ended up in runoff areas or in the tire barriers, bringing out red flags four separate times, The longest period of green-flag running was 14 minutes near the end of the session, which was ultimately halted by a red for Ben Barnicoat in the runoff are at Turn 1 in the No. 14 GTD PRO Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. Other stoppages were for Connor De Phillipi sliding the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M4 GT3 into the runoff, Jon Miller nosing the No. 58 Crucial Motorsports McLaren 720S GT3 into the tires at Turn 1, and Westbrook stopping on course.

GTD drivers topped the overall GTD times, led by Bill Auberlen in the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M4 GT3 with a 1m19.891s lap, the only driver under 1m20s. Marc Miller was 0.405s back in the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX, with Frankie Montecalvo third at 1m20.373s in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F.

Ross Gunn in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage was the first GTD Pro entry, fourth overall at 1m20.401s. Raffaele Marciello was second with a 1m20.448s lap in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG followed by Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R, another 0.011s back.


UP NEXT: The second practice at 1:15 p.m. Pacific time will be a 1h45m session, with the first 15 minutes reserved for GTD, and the final 15 minutes limited to DPi and GTD Pro. Qualifying for tomorrow’s 1h40m race will take place at 5:10 p.m., and can be seen on