Ganassi Duo Lead First Practice at Laguna Seca


The Ganassi pairing topped a close opening practice (Courtesy of IMSA)

Long Beach winners Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas set the fastest lap of the first free practice session for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

It was Pruett who set the time of 1:20.243 in Chip Ganassi Racing’s #01 Ford Ecoboost powered Riley Daytona Prototye to lead the hour long session which saw 55 cars from four classes set times. The TUDOR Championship field will be split in half for the races, the Prototype class racing – as they did at Long Beach – with the GT Le Mans (GTLM) teams, while the Prototype Challenge (PC) teams will share the track with the GT Daytona (GTD) class competitors.

Pruett’s lap topped the timesheets, but eight teams set best laps within a second of Pruett’s benchmark.

Joao Barbosa was second fastest in the Action Express Racing Chevrolet Corvette he shares with Christian Fittipaldi. On its return after missing the Long Beach race the DeltaWing was third fastest in the session, Andy Meyrick at the wheel of the Elan engined machine set to be co-driven by Katherine Legge.

Johannes van Overbeek was fourth fastest in the #2 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD. The sister car was also inside the bracket within a second of Pruett, as was the Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP and the OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan.

Splitting the P class front runners was Colin Braun who put the CORE Autosport PC sixth overall, half a second faster than the Starworks Motorsport entry to be shared between Mirco Schultis and Renger van der Zande which ended the session 10th fastest overall.

BMW Team RLL and Corvette Racing continued their battle from the streets of Long Beach. Dirk Mueller was fastest of the GTLM runners in the #56 Z4 GTE he shares with John Edwards. He was three tenths faster than Tommy Milner in the #4 Corvette with Team Falken Tire’s Porsche third quickest in class. The #93 SRT Motorsports Viper of Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer made it four manufacturers in the top four in class, the second Team RLL BMW in fifth place.

The GTD class went one better with different cars filling each of the top five spots in the class, lead by the WeatherTech backed Alex Job Racing Porsche of Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil. Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating put the Riley Motorsports Viper second fastest in the team’s first race since Keating and team watched their machine burn to the ground early in the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The exotic combination of Stefan Johansson and Kyle Marcelli were third fastest in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari ahead of Paul Miller Racing’s Audi and Turner Motorsports’ BMW Z4.

The TUDOR Championship schedule at Laguna Seca continues with a second practice at 11:45pm UK time before qualifying from 00:55am UK time.

The first race – for the PC and GTD classes – is scheduled for 6:15pm UK time on Sunday the Prototypes and GTLM cars bringing the weekend to a close with their two hour race starting at 10:45pm UK time.