John Edwards, driving the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL M4 GT3, ended up with the quickest time in the first practice at Lime Rock Park for Saturday’s GT-only FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Edwards was the fastest of the GTD PRO cars, while Robert Megennis was second overall and first in GTD in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracán, less than a tenth of a second off Edwards.
Both cars turned their best times late in the session to jump to the top of the charts. Edwards’ 51.735s time around the 1.474-mile, seven-turn circuit was an average of 102.57mph. Jack Hawksworth, returning to the seat of the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 after missing the last two races due to a motocross injury, was second quickest in GTD PRO at 51.820s.
The championship-leading No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R was at the top of the time sheets for most of the session, but ended up third in PRO and fifth overall, Matt Campbell posting a 51.901s time. Antonio Garcia was seventh overall and fourth in GTD PRO in the No. 3 Corvette Racing machine, with Ross Gunn completing the GTD PRO field in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage.
Meginnis set the fast GTD time of 51.814s in a Lamborghini rented from TR3 Racing after CarBahn with Peregrine Racing’s car was smashed up at Watkins Glen in the Six Hour when Jeff Westphal got caught up in an incident between two LMP3 cars. With a new Evo 2 version of the Huracan coming for next year, the team didn’t want to buy another car right now.
Mike Skeen, whose teammate Stevan McAleer leads the GTD points, was second quickest in the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, 0.063s off of Megennis. Tomorrow will be McAleer’s first start at Lime Rock in a GT3 car.
“Another new track for me in the GTD car, still learning this thing,” McAleer said. “I think we’re going to be strong. It’s going to be all about track position — qualifying and being in a good position.”
It was Mercedes-AMGs in second through fourth in GTD, with Philip Ellis taking third in the No. 57 Winward Racing car with a 52.004s lap, followed by Lime Rock first-timer Jules Gounon in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG. WeatherTech Racing had been running in GTD PRO, but has elected to run GTD for the remainder of the season. Frankie Montecalvo rounded out the top five in GTD with a 52.156s lap in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
There were no stoppages during the session, the only incident of note being Aidan Read missing the chicane in the No. 51 Rick Ware Racing Acura NSX, and damaging the nose after hitting a tire bundle.
Lime Rock Park is unique in that the WeatherTech Championship and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge use two different configurations. At Lime Rock’s uphill, the IMPC competitors stay left and run the traditional circuit; the GTD PRO and GTD cars go right and take the chicane that slows the cars so they don’t get airborne at the crest of the hill. That creates a challenging situation for the four drivers who are running both series, Robby Foley, running GT3 and GT4 versions of the BMW M4 for Turner Motorsport, among them.
“Luckily the seating position in the two cars is very different for me,” he said, adding that it makes it easier for him to remember which car he’s in. “It’s got to be the only track in the world that you run in different configurations in each session, so it makes it interesting.”
UP NEXT: The 1h20m Practice 2 at 3:05 p.m. Eastern, followed by a single session of qualifying at 5:40, giving the teams only a little over an hour to prep the cars in between.