Taylor Brings Penske Back to the Front in Practice Four at Sebring

by Paul Hensby
BMW were fastest in the GT Le Mans class

For the third time in four sessions, the #7 Acura Team Penske team set the pace in practice for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, with Ricky Taylor setting the fastest time of the event so far.

Taylor, who shares the car with Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal, set the a best lap of 1:47.076s during Friday mornings session, with his time 0.436 seconds clear of the second placed Nissan Onroak DPi from Tequila Patron ESM, driven by Luis Felipe Derani.

Patricio O’Ward continued to impress for Performance Tech Motorsports, with the young Mexican ending the session third, 0.785 seconds off the pace, while the Mazda Team Joest RT24-P of Jonathan Bomarito was fourth ahead of the second ESM Nissan of Olivier Pla.

Felipe Nasr was the fastest of the Cadillac DPi runners in sixth, with the Action Express Racing machine ending ahead of the #54 CORE Autosport Oreca and the #99 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca, while the top ten was completed by the #6 Acura Penske and the #77 Mazda RT24-P.

BMW Team RLL ended Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s domination of the GT Le Mans class, with the #25 of Connor de Phillippi leading a team one-two ahead of the #24 of Jesse Krohn, with the best lap of 1:56.566s significantly quicker than anything they achieved on Thursday.

The two Porsche 911 RSR’s also found themselves ahead of the Fords, with the #912 of Laurens Vanthoor ahead of the #911 of Nick Tandy, with the #66 Ford of Sebastien Bourdais fifth.

Christopher Mies ensured the #29 Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi topped the GT Daytona class, with his best lap of 1:59.130s enough to beat the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari by more than four-tenths of a second, with the #86 Michael Shank Racing Acura was third, a further three-tenths of a second back.

The sister Acura of Lawson Aschenbach, Mario Farnbacher and Justin Marks continued to miss track action following its heavy crash on Thursday afternoon, with the car also set to miss qualifying as the mechanics work hard to fix the significant front-end damage the NSX GT3 suffered.

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