Spirit Of Daytona Fastest Again In Second Rolex 24 Practice


Westbrook, Spirit of Daytona and DP Corvette were quickest (Courtesy of IMSA)

Maintaining their pace from the morning Richard Westbrook and Spirit of Daytona Racing were again the class of the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the second practice at Daytona International Speedway.

Like the first session the battle for the best time was a duel between Action Express Racing’s Christian Fittipaldi and Westbrook, though Eric Curran led the session briefly in the early laps for Marsh Racing, the team making their first start with a Daytona Prototype after stepping within the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship from the Rolex Series GT ranks over the winter.

However, unlike the first session it was Westbrook who led for a majority of the half hour of running, setting his best lap of 1:39.279 shortly before the half way point in the session. Fittipaldi was again second in the #5 entry he shares with Joao Barbosa, Sebastien Bourdais and Burt Frisselle, with the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing entry third fastest – less than three tenths slower than Westbrook – completing an all Corvette DP top three.

There was better news, however, for the LMP2 teams as OAK Racing’s Morgan-Nissan was fourth fastest overall, just over a second off the ultimate pace. Michael Shank Racing, as they did in the earlier session, completed the top five.

Colin Braun was the best of the PC class drivers, though after the gargantuan margin he enjoyed in the morning session the 0.206 seconds that divided his best – 1:42.724 – and that of Sam Bird in the #8 Starworks Motorsport entry made the class look as close as is expected throughout the 24 hours itself.

The pair of SRT Motorsports Vipers ended the session first and second in GT Le Mans, Jonathan Bomarito in the #93 deposing Marc Goossens in the sister #91 in the closing minutes with a time of 1:45.016, the best cars in the class now more than half a second under the best times set in the Roar Before the 24.

Oliver Gavin was third fastest in class in the #4 Corvette, four tenths slower than Goossens. Risi Competizione’s Ferrari and the second C7.R completed the top, all within a second of Bomarito’s benchmark.

Elsewhere in the class the problems continued for the #55 BMW following Bill Auberlen’s off in the first session. Andy Priaulx stopped the car on the infield, prompting the only red flag of the session. There were also problems for the 8Star Motorsports PC entry, Tom KimberSmith bringing the car to a smoky halt out of the International Horseshoe in the final second of the session, the team diagnosing, potentially, a blown gearbox as the car returned to the paddock on a flatbed.

Brazilian Daniel Serra, driving for Scuderia Corsa, was the fastest man in GTD ahead of the Porsches of Leh Keen (Alex Job Racing) and Norbert Siedler (Park Place Motorsports).

The next task for the TUDOR Championship teams is qualifying, beginning at 3:45pm local time (8:45 UK).

  • Vince Pettit

    Good to see the LMP2’s closing the gap a little!