LMP2 Tops First WEC Prologue Test Day

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Prema Orlen in the garage at sunset, WEC Prologue 2022
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

The end of the first day of pre-season testing for the FIA World Endurance Chamionship saw LMP2 team Prema ORLEN as the ones to beat, with Hypercar favourites Toyota Gazoo Racing finishing seventh and tenth fastest.

The morning session was disrupted as a storm blew over the Sebring International Raceway, bringing high winds, heavy rain and the threat of lightning. Once the intermitent weather had blown over, however, the teams were left with a cool, dry and sunny track to get testing underway.

Although they were fastest in what was left of the morning session before the grid broke for lunch, Toyota fell down the timing board in the afternoon, leaving the way for LMP2 cars and the other Hypercar entries to set faster lap times.

Robert Kubica was the one to set the benchmark for the day, circulating the American track with a 1:49.084. If there was ever a sign of competition ahead of this season, the fact that the top 11 cars on the timing board were covered by a second should be proof enough that not one team, especially in the LMP2 class, has emerged as a clear favourite for this year’s title.

Teams to watch include last year’s winners Team WRT, who on day one also showed a strong performance on track, fighting with Toyota for the fastest lap of the morning. The Alpine Elf Matmut LMP1 car also still looks like a strong contender, finishing the day second fastest and only one tenth off the pace of Kubica. Whether they can take the fight to Toyota this year remains to be seen, but it was a good opening day for the French outfit.

Fifth-placed Scuderia Cameron Glickenhas were only 0.3s off the leading pace, split from the Alpine by LMP2 entries Richard Mille Racing and AF Corse, in their first season appearing in LMP2 in the WEC.

Porsche look to have the early advantage in the LM GTE class, with Porsche GT Team locking out a one-two in the Pro class. Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen led the sister car with a fastest lap of 1:56.494, the only GTE car to break into the 1m56s. The sister Porsche was half a second down, with full time WEC returnees Corvette Racing third. Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy missed out on second by merely 20 thousandths of a second.

Iron Lynx were the ones to watch today in GTE Am, taking first and third in class on the timing screens. The #60 set the pace with a 1:58.227 in the hands of Claudio Schiavoni, Matteo Cressoni and Giancarlo Fisichella, 0.014s faster than the sole Team Project 1 Porsche. The all-female line up of the Iron Dames (Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy) took third just under two tenths off the sister car.

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The Checkered Flag’s correspondent for the FIA World Endurance Championship. Working in motorsport as a hobby and as a professional, Alice is a freelance digital communications manager, video editor and graphic designer at OrbitSphere. She also runs and manages her own YouTube channel - Circuit The World - with videos on gaming, travel, motorsports and reviews.
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