The Rolex 24 at Daytona winning #5 Action Express Racing team started the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s test at Sebring International Raceway with the fastest time on the first day of the two days of running for next month’s 12 Hours of Sebring (March 12-15).
The Chevrolet Corvette DP team – the car again shared by Daytona victors Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais – easily led the second of the day’s session with a lap around the 3.74 track that stopped the clock at 1:52.480.
OAK Racing were second fastest in the afternoon session, the best effort 0.787 seconds slower than the Action Express Racing crew. The Morgan-Nissan, tested by Gustavo Yacaman, Olivier Pla and Ho–Pin Tung at Sebring had set the standard in the opening session with a best time of 1:53.204, nearly eight tenths faster than Wayne Taylor Racing’s Corvette DP with Muscle Milk Pickett Racing third fastest.
The Muscle Milk team were a comparatively lowly eighth fastest in the afternoon session. However, both of the day’s sessions suggested a more even balance between the Daytona Prototype and LMP2 machinery, with each of the camps having four representatives inside the top eight in the faster session.
8Star Motorsports topped the PC class in both sessions, their best time (1:55.940) coming in the morning despite Roberto LaRocca crashing the #25 late in the session.
Just as in the P class it was the Daytona results were reflected in the pace setters in GTLM as Porsche North America led both sessions. The Daytona class winners in the #911 were fastest in the afternoon session but their best lap of 2:00.364 was unable to surpass that put on the board by the Joerg Bergmeister of the #912 team in the morning (2:00.048) which remained the best time in class.
The second fastest times in the morning and afternoon session went of the #56 BMW Team RLL and #93 SRT Motorsports Viper respectively, with the sister Porsche to the class leader third fastest in each of the sessions.
The sessions were also notable for the first appearance of the Team Falken Tire Porsche, the team having missed the Rolex 24. The team – with an all new car for 2014 – was fifth fastest in class in the afternoon, their time just a half second down on the session leader’s.
Turner Motorsports were the fastest GTD team of the day as the BMW outfit topped the class in the afternoon session on a time of 2:04.487.
The team had been fifth fastest in the morning session that was led by James Davison for TRG–AMR. Those positions were reversed in the afternoon session, the Aston team fifth in class rounding out a top five of Turner, Park Place Motorsports, Riley Motorsports and Spirit of Race that put five different marques in the top five.
There are two further TUDOR Championship test sessions planned for Friday at Sebring.