Mike Conway is the driver to beat so far this weekend as, once again, he set a lap time that went unrivalled by the rest of the grid. The cooler temperatures of second practice seemed to suit Aston Martin Racing, after seemingly struggling for pace in the first session of the day they were challenging for the fastest lap in class this afternoon.
Two minor delays hit the track during the 90-minute second practice session, but the stops were not long enough to have a major impact on the session. The notable incident was a brief stoppage for the #17 due to an electronic glitch. The SMP Racing LMP1 car got moving again fairly swiftly, not damaging their program too much.
Toyota Gazoo Racing kept up their clean sweep of one-twos this weekend, with Conway making a 1.4-second improvement on his first practice time. This was just over the advantage he held on the sister car at the end of the session.
After Bruno Senna‘s crash at Copse in the first session of the day, only the #3 Rebellion Racing took to the track this afternoon. It quickly became a battle for the best-of-the-rest spot between them and SMP, in which SMP came out on top with nearly a two-second advantage. If the two Privateer teams continue to battle for third on the grid over the duration of the weekend it could lead to a very interesting fight on Sunday.
Jackie Chan DC Racing was on top of the LMP2 class at the chequered flag as the #38 held a 0.44 second advantage over second-placed #36 Signatech Alpine, with a lap time of 1:45.311. It was very tight at the top, with the fastest four cars in class covered by just eight-tenths of a second.
The ORECA chassis still appears to be the best chassis in LMP2, with both the non-ORECA running cars rounding off the bottom of the time sheet.
Anthony Davidson climbed aboard the DragonSpeed car this session to take his first LMP2 laps. Beaten by team mate Pastor Maldonado for the fastest time in the #31 (1:47.069, fast enough for fifth in class), Davidson claimed the second fastest lap time for the team with a 1:47.196.
Surprisingly, the session opened with Aston Martin locking out the top two positions in the GTE Pro class. It would be surprising for them to show any hidden potential their new Vantage has this early on in the weekend, but it was good to see the British team battling at the top after the difficult start to the season they have had. With the new BoP in place this weekend, looking to have helped Aston Martin and Ferrari most, this could be the beginning of the turn around they have been hoping for.
It was Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx who ended the session fastest in class for Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK, but Aston Martin Racing manage to split the USA-based team, claiming second and fourth to Ford‘s first and third. If they can qualify like that tomorrow they will bring a lot of smiles to the British crowds in the grandstands.
Aston Martin were also one of the ones to watch in the Am class, as they hopped up the order from their final position in FP1 to take second with the works #98 car. The #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing retained its position at the top, securing the fastest lap with a 1:59.105, keeping them two tenths ahead of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Matthias Lauda at the chequered flag. The sister #77 Dempsey Porsche rounded off the top three in Am, but the entire class looks set for a close race as all nine cars were covered by just over a second at the end of the session.