Muscle Milk Pickett Racing teammates Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf led a practice session apiece as running began for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in the final American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race before the beginning of the re-combined sportscar era in America next season.
The first two practice sessions for the 1,000 mile/10 hour race were both conducted in wet conditions, with several team deciding not to take to the track before tonight’s (Thursday October 17) night session on the 2.54 mile Braselton track.
Of the pair it was Graf’s second practice pace setter that was by far the faster, his 1:23.336 easily eclipsing his co-driver’s 1:26.407 from the opening session. The pair, who have won eight consecutive races in the ALMS will be joined by Romain Dumas for Saturday’s race.
This weekend’s race brings Rebellion Racing back to the championship after an abortive full season campaign, However, neither the Swiss team’s line-up of Nicolas Prost, Neel Jani and Nick Heidfeld not ALMS regulars Dyson Racing provided the closest opposition to the Muscle Milk squad in the two sessions.
Instead, it was the DeltaWing that was second fastest in both sessions, albeit so distance back from the times of the HPD atop the times. Andy Meyrick, sharing the Elan powered coupe with Katherine Legge, ran a best time of 1:28.531 in the opening session, shaving four tenths off that time in the later session.
The wet conditions and the teams missing from the running meant that the best GT team in both sessions was third fastest overall. Corvette Racing title hopefuls Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, joined by newly crowned Rolex Series champion Jordan Taylor for the longer race were fastest in first session, the spot in the second session taken by the Team Falken Tire Porsche of Bryan Sellers, Wolf Henzler and Nick Tandy.
As was the case in GT the best time from the Prototype Challenge runners was set in the first session as Tristan Nunez lapped the track in 1:31.422 in the #18 entry. Ozz Negri was unable to top that effort in the second session, though the Brazilian was fastest in class – and seventh overall – for 8Star Motorsports.
Flying Lizard Motorsports and NGT Motorsport split GTC leading honours in the two sessions between them.
Only a single P2 car completed any laps, Ed Brown running two shakedown laps in Extreme Speed Motorsports’ #02 in the second session.