MSR Acura Edges Ganassi Cadillac In Sebring Practice 2
The #60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 of Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, and Hélio Castroneves set the fastest time in Practice 2 ahead of this weekend’s 71st annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.
MSR’s pink, purple, and white Acura finished just milliseconds ahead of the #01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R of Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande, and Scott Dixon at the conclusion of this afternoon’s 90-minute practice session.
For Practice 2, the first 15 minutes were reserved for the Pro-Am classes – LMP2, LMP3, and GTD. The final 15 minutes were exclusive to the all-pro GTP and GTD Pro classes and acted as a mock qualifying session.
At the 40-minute mark, Josh Burdon went off at Tower Turn (13), and he couldn’t get his #74 Riley Ligier JS P320 out of the grass and dirt. The red flag waved and was withdrawn once the #74 Ligier was recovered.
But just minutes after the restart, Jack Aitken got aboard the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac, locked his wheels up going into turn three, and came to a stop in the tyre barriers. The red flag came out once again, and the fastest car of the session had been immobilized for a few minutes. Eventually, Aitken and the #31 Cadillac were back on track.
With 15 minutes left, the #10 Konica Minolta Acura (Ricky Taylor/Filipe Albuquerque/Louis Delétraz) had the best time of the session, 1’47.378 from the youngest of the Taylor brothers.
The #60 Meyer Shank Acura, which had persistent electrical issues in Practice 1 earlier in the day, roared back to the top of the timing sheets as Blomqvist set a 1’47.049 to take first place. Three minutes later, Bourdais in the gold and black #01 Cadillac set a 1’47.075, just 0.026 seconds back of Blomqvist’s best time that went on to stand as the best time of Practice 2.
At the chequered flag, the #10 Konica Minolta Acura snatched third place as Delétraz set a 1’47.197. The top three cars in GTP were covered by less than two-tenths of a second. In fourth was the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac (Pipo Derani/Alexander Sims/Jack Aitken), which recovered from its earlier incident – Derani’s best time was less than three-tenths back of Blomqvist’s.
The two Porsche Penske Motorsport 963s finished fifth and sixth in tandem, the #7 (Matt Campbell/Felipe Nasr/Michael Christensen) ahead of the #6 (Nick Tandy/Mathieu Jaminet/Dane Cameron).
This left the two BMW M Team RLL Hybrid V8s down in seventh and eighth, at the bottom of the GTP running order. The #25 BMW (Connor de Philippi/Nick Yelloly/Sheldon van der Linde) spent all but the final 15 minutes of Practice 2 in the garage, not because of the crash Van der Linde suffered at the end of Practice 1, but to change a faulty torque converter sensor. Van der Linde’s best time was a second and a half slower than the #60 Acura, but quicker than the sister #24 (Philipp Eng/Augusto Farfus/Marco Wittmann).
For the second consecutive session, the #18 Era Motorsport Oreca 07 (Dwight Merriman/Ryan Dalziel/Christian Rasmussen) led the LMP2 class in Practice.
Rasmussen set his benchmark time early, putting up a best time of 1’50.506. He gained four-tenths on his best lap in Practice 1, and was three-quarters of a second ahead of the LMP2 field.
In second was the #04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR Oreca (George Kurtz/Ben Hanley/Nolan Siegel), its best time recorded by the sensational young California-born driver Siegel, who joined the team this weekend.
And the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca (Ben Keating/Paul-Loup Chatin/Alex Quinn), finished third. Keating and PR1/Mathiasen enter as the two-time defending LMP2 winners of the Sebring 12 Hours.
LMP3 produced a fun scrap for the top spot between Dakota Dickerson of Jr III Motorsports and the aforementioned Burdon with the Riley team. Dickerson set a 1’56.608 with just under 25 minutes left, then Burdon responded with a 1’56.564. That looked like it would stand as the top time in LMP3, until Dickerson set a 1’56.382 right at the chequered flag.
That ensured the #30 Jr III Motorsports Ligier (Ari Balogh/Garret Grist/Dakota Dickerson) would finish on top for the second consecutive Practice, followed by the #74 Riley Ligier (Gar Robinson/Felipe Fraga/Josh Burdon).
Best of the Duquiene D08’s was the green and black #17 AWA Duquiene (Lance Willsey/Wayne Boyd/Nico Varrone) in third, the car that won at Daytona less than two months ago.
The GTD classes appear evenly matched after two Practices, and a familiar front-runner from Daytona set the fastest time across them all.
That was the #57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Russell Ward/Philip Ellis/Indy Dontje), still sporting the black and blue livery which never meant to race this year until Lucas Auer’s practice accident at Daytona. After 25 minutes, Ward set a best time of 2’01.218, and that stood as the best time in GTD.
But not too far behind is the car that’s instantly become a fan-favourite, “Rexy the GT3Rawr” – or as it’s officially titled, the #80 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (PJ Hyett/Seb Priaulx/Gunnar Jeannette). The second-generation Priaulx set a 2’01.252, just 34 milliseconds adrift of Ward’s best time.
Once again, it was a sign that the new 992-generation Porsches are responding well to the latest BoP updates.
The #12 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT3 (Frankie Montecalvo/Aaron Telitz/Parker Thompson) finished a close third, Telitz’s best time just two-tenths shy of Ward’s best lap.
And another, very familiar front-runner around this bumpy old airfield, led the way in GTD Pro: The #3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD (Antonio Garcia/Jordan Taylor/Tommy Milner) was quickest in the “All-Pro” GT category.
Last year’s winning entry in GTD Pro, the #3 Corvette’s best time was a 2’01.260 from their lead development driver Milner. Milner’s best lap was only 0.042 seconds away from the top time across all of GTD.
Second in class was the #23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 (Ross Gunn/Alex Riberas/David Pittard), and the gap from Gunn to Milner was only 0.053 seconds.
And another strong practice from the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 296 GT3 (Daniel Serra/Davide Rigon/Gabriel Casagrande) put them third in GTD Pro at the end of Practice 2.
But one car missing from the time sheets was the #47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari (Roberto Lacorte/Giorgio Sernagiotto/Antonio Fuoco), which did not set a lap time in this session. It was a legacy of an incident Lacorte suffered late in Practice 1, where he spun and made contact with the tyre barriers and broke something inside the front of the car. A representative of Cetilar Racing said they’re hopeful they can return to the track for Practice 3.
After the sun sets, Practice 3 will begin at 7:45 PM EDT (local time).The post MSR Acura Edges Ganassi Cadillac In Sebring Practice 2 first appeared on dailysportscar.com.