It was first blood to Toyota ahead of the 6 Hours of Fuji, with the #8 TS030 setting the fastest time in a sun-baked first practice session, before having its best time deleted for speeding in the pits.
The top time came courtesy of Anthony Davidson, who will drive alongside Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastien Buemi for the race, setting a time of 1:28.325 seconds, just 0.1 seconds faster than the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro and 0.3 ahead of the #2 Audi.
However, Davidson’s fastest time was removed from the session after the #8 Toyota was found speeding in pit lane, moving the #1 and #2 Audis up to first and second respectively. The #45 OAK Racing car in LMP2 was also caught out by pit speed limits.
There was limited track time for the championship leading #2 Audi, however. Contact with Kristian Poulsen in the #95 Aston Martin left Loic Duval stranded in a dangerous position, prompting the red flags to halt the session. Once the Audi was returned to the pits the session resumed and the times continued to tumble, with Davidson putting in his chart-topping time in this period.
Nissan powered cars dominated the LMP2 class, with Mike Conway taking the fastest time in the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca-Nissan, setting a time of 1:33.639, beating the #47 KCMG Morgan-Nissan of Richard Bradley by half a second, with Nicolas Minassian‘s #49 Pecom Racing Oreca-Nissan a further 0.4 of a second back.
In the GT classes it was the Aston Martin of Fred Makowiecki who set the pace with a time of 1:39.548 seconds, not only out-pacing his two new team-mates, Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke, but setting a dominating time which saw the second placed Porsche 911 of AG Team Manthey a full 0.7 seconds behind. Richie Stanaway set the third fastest time in his Aston Martin, 1.2 seconds off of Makowiecki’s time.
The #76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 of Jean-Karl Vernay set a 1:41.902 second lap time to top LMGTE Am, beating the #95 Aston Martin of Bruno Senna by just 0.037, despite the Aston’s altercation with the #2 Audi.