Porsche made an early statement ahead of the Austin round of the FIA World Endurance Championship by setting the two fastest times in first practice.
Romain Dumas (#18) took the top spot with a 1:47.231s effort in the final 10 minutes, almost three tenths ahead of Mark Webber in the sister #17 car.
Porsche set the pace throughout the session, with Audi’s R18 etron-quattros clearly playing second fiddle.
The #8 Audi of Oliver Jarvis was just over one and a half seconds off the pace by the end of the session, while the #7 car only completed four laps as mechanical issues prevented the team from gaining a significant amount of track time. André Lotterer did eventually give the car an on-track appearance, but could only set the seventh fastest time overall.
Toyota occupied fourth and fifth, with the #1 TS040 Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi leading the pair on a 1:51.279s. Mike Conway, fresh from his one-off appearance aboard a Ford Anglia at the Goodwood Revival, clocked the #2 car’s best lap at 1:52.180s.
The privateer LMP1 teams were, as expected, behind the manufacturers, but both Rebellion Raing and Team ByKolles had solid runs with their AER-powered machines. The #12 Rebellion led the way – Nicolas Prost setting a fastest lap of 1:55.844s.
The KCMG squad continued its impressive run of form in LMP2 as former Toyota driver Nicolas Lapierre topped the category timesheets with a 1:57.764s lap.
Lapierre’s effort was seven tenths quicker than Johannes van Overbeek in the #31 Extreme Speed Motorsport Ligier, while Ryan Dalziel followed closely in the sister ESM car.
GTE-Pro first practice was dictated by Ferrari, most notably the #71 458 Italia of James Calado that currently leads the championship. Calado’s 2:6.753s best was exactly six tenths faster than Gianmaria Bruni in the other AF Corse entry. Third in GTE-Pro went to Patrick Pilet of Porsche Team Manthey, who narrowly missed splitting the Ferraris at the end of the session.
American driver Patrick Long took the Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche to the top of the GTE-Am order with a 2:07.487s time that would have placed him amongst the Pro entries.
Second quickest in class was the Larbre Compétition Corvette C7.R, while third went to the title challenging #83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia.