After some early afternoon rain showers took some of the rubber off the track, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship ventured out onto the 3.4-mile long course at Watkins Glen for one more hour of practice.
Unlike the first session, this one was not clean. Just past the halfway point of the session, Dream Racing‘s Larry DeGeorge appeared to break something on his GT Daytona-class Lamborghini. The car spun and hit the wall 100 feet short of the entrance to the Inner Loop. The session was stopped for 16 minutes to facilitate track cleanup. After the racing finished up Friday, track crews spent roughly three hours working on the Armco barrier that DeGeorge hit.
DeGeorge got out of the car under his own power and walked to the ambulance. He has since been treated and released from the Infield Care Center. The Lamborghini Huracan was not ok. It was heavily damaged, including the loss of one wheel and one door. The team has pulled out a backup car. Unlike the rules in the former Grand-Am, the team does not have to withdraw their No. 27 in order to do this. Once the prep work is done on that car, the No. 27 Lamborghini will start at the rear of the grid on Sunday.
In the Prototype class, it was Michael Shank Racing once again on top of the standings. Olivier Pla, who is making his Watkins Glen debut, turned the fastest lap of the weekend at 96.155 seconds (127.294 mph). Jonathan Bomarito, driving a special paint scheme commemorating Mazda’s 1991 overall win at Le Mans, was second quickest. Unfortunately for the competition, Bomarito was a full three-quarters of a second slower than Pla.
Johannes van Overbeek was third fastest in the Tequila Patron ESM Ligier JS P2, while Christian Fittipaldi was the fastest of the Daytona Prototypes in fourth. Ben Devlin in the second Mazda Motorsports entry was fifth.
Prototype Challenge saw CORE autosport‘s Colin Braun set the pace early, but Starworks Motorsport‘s Renger van der Zande went to the top of the charts one-third of the way through the session and was not usurped. Van der Zande’s time of 98.582 seconds (124.161 mph) was just four-hundredths of a second faster than Braun in the No. 54 and good for ninth overall.
In the end, it was Joey Hand in the Ganassi No. 66 Ford GT, fresh off class victory at Le Mans that was fastest with a lap of 103.309 seconds (118.480 mph). That lap was seven-hundredths of a second faster than Richard Westbrook in the No. 67 Ford. John Edwards was third in the No. 100 BMW, while Alessandro Pier Guidi was fourth in the No. 68 Ferrari 488 GTE for Scuderia Corsa. Bill Auberlen rounded out the top 5 in the No. 25 BMW. The top 5 were separated by less than three-tenths of a second.
In GT Daytona, the multi-cylinder cars were once again the class of the field. In the first session, Robin Liddell was fastest in the No. 6 Audi for Stevenson Motorsports. This time around, teammate Lawson Aschenbach in the No. 9 Stevenson Audi was quickest with a lap of 106.259 seconds (115.190 mph). That lap was eight-hundredths of a second faster than Jens Klingmann in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 for Turner Motorsport. Spencer Pumpelly was third in class in his Lamborghini, despite an early spin in the session. Markus Palttala was fourth quickest in the No. 97 BMW, while Andrew Davis was fifth in the No. 6 Audi.
There is one more practice session for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams prior to qualifying. That 60 minute session will be held at 10:15 a.m. Saturday.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.