The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06 spent most of the first hour of the first practice session for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring sitting in the pits with an electric issue. But when the car finally turned some real laps, Filipe Albuquerque immediately put it on the top of the time sheet, posting a 1m48.303s, good for a 124.32mph average around the 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway.
Cadillac spent most of the time at the top as teams prepared for the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Renger van der Zande the best of the two in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R at 1m48.436s, only 0.098s ahed of Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac.
BMW looked much stronger than it did at Daytona, the two BMW M Team RLL M Hybrid V8s finishing the session fourth and fifth, Connor De Phillippi leading the squad in the No. 25, 0.432s off Albuquerque’s best. Mathieu Jaminet was the quickest of the Porsche Penske Motorsports team in the No. 6 963, while the No. 7 963 emerged only briefly before Matt Campbell spun in Turn 3 and hit the tire barrier, damaging the rear wing. The back end of the car was quickly changed, but Campbell never really set a representative time.
Like the No. 10, the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura spent most of the time sitting in the pits, due to a problem with the steering wheel electronics. Tom Blomqvist did a few off-pace laps before coasting to a stop in Turn 16, bringing out the second red flag of the session with about 15 minutes left.
Tight turns on the backstretch. #IMSA | @sebringraceway pic.twitter.com/7t2rXXRq6e
— #IMSA (@IMSA) March 16, 2023
The adjusted Balance of Performance equation for the Porsche 911 GT3 R seems to have leveled things out, as Trent Hindman set the quick time for all the GT cars, a 2m1.092s lap (111.19mph) in the GTD-class No. 77 Volt Racing 911. Five different makes made up the top five in GTD, Kyle Marcelli second in the No. 93 Racers Edge with WTR Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, 0.102s off Hindman. Aaron Telitz was third in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 at 2m1.350s. Mikael Grenier (No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) and Andy Lally (No. 44 Magnus Racing Aston Martin Vantage) completed the top five.
Telitz’s teammate Kyle Kirkwood led GTD PRO in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F with a 2m1.156s time, second overall in the GT field. The Risi Racing Ferrari 296 GT3 had good pace, Daniel Serra turning a top time of 2m1.394s for second in GTD PRO, sixth within the GTD field overall, followed by Ross Gunn in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage at 2m1.450s. Rounding out the top five in GTD PRO were Maro Engel in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG and Jordan Pepper in the No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo2.
Christian Rasmussen topped LMP2 for Era Motorsport in the No. 18 ORECA with a 1m50.926s lap, followed by Giedo van der Garde in the No. 35 TDS Racing car (1m51.140) and George Kurtz in the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing ORECA another 0.026s back.
Dakota Dickerson led the LMP3 field in the No. 30 JR III Racing Ligier with a 1m56.349 on his last lap. Gar Robinson was second, 0.068s off Dickerson’s best, in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier, with Gabby Chaves third for Andretti Autosport in the No. 36 Ligier at 1m56.349s.
The session was interrupted by two red flags in addition to the one to retrieve the No. 60. One was for the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports LMP3 off course at Turn 17, and the sesssion was ended under red after Sheldon van der Linde stuffed the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M Hybrid V8 into the tires, also in 17.
UP NEXT: The second practice session for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring starts at 3:50pm ET. It will be a 90-minute split session with the Pro-Am classes having their own 15 minutes at the front and the GTP and GTD PRO classes having the track to themselves for the final 15 minutes.