Porsche Leads COTA FP2 Despite Audi Improvements


A late lap from Timo Bernhard ensured a second Porsche-led free practice session at the Circuit of the Americas.

Second practice for the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship was held in darkness, and was initially controlled by the #8 Audi of Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis until Bernhard stormed to the top of the order with a 1:47.442s effort that surpassed Di Grassi’s time by 0.2 seconds.

Third overall was the second of the Porsche 919 Hybrids, driven by Romain Dumas. The Frenchman’s 1:48.268s lap was 0.8s off the pace, but still quick enough to eclipse the second Audi by half a second.

Toyota ended the session fifth and sixth overall, with the #1 TS040 once again leading the pair. As was the case in first practice, Sebastien Buemi and Mike Conway set each car’s quickest times, with Buemi recording a 1:50.132s and Conway registering a marginally slower 1:50.224s.

Rebellion Racing topped the LMP1 privateers for the second session in a row, but Nick Heidfeld’s 1:54.418s marker was only three tenths ahead of Simon Trummer in the Team ByKolles CLM.

In LMP2, G-Drive Racing led the way thanks to a 1:55.874s fastest lap by Sam Bird in the #26 Ligier JS P2. KCMG’s ORECA 05 was also in the mix, though Nicolas Lapierre finished the session four tenths down on his team’s rival.

Signatech Alpine’s A450b was third quickest, 1.6s down on the G-Drive Ligier, while Danny Watts placed Strakka Racing in the top four with a 1:57.877s aboard the team’s Gibson 015S Nissan.

Porsche’s factory GT team mirrored the LMP1 squad’s FP2 performance as Fred Makowiecki took the #92 911 RSR to the top of the GTE-Pro timesheets. Makowiecki was just 0.1s quicker than the #71 Ferrari of Davide Rigon, while Patrick Pilet also finished the session within two tenths of the benchmark, driving the sister Porsche.

GTE-Am championship leaders SMP Racing recorded the quickest class lap of the night time session. Victor Shaytar’s 2:06.547s once again placed the highest Am runner within the Pro field. Behind him was Patrick Long, 0.6s in arrears, while Emmanuel Collard completed the top three in the #83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia.