Race Weekend Central

Jani Fastest Again at Night, 7/8ths of a Second Separates GT Le Mans

Once the sun went down in Daytona on Saturday night, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams went back on track for one more 90 minute session.  The chilly temperatures (by Central Florida standards) forced most present to bundle themselves up.  However, cool temperatures often mean that there is speed to be had.

In the Prototypes, it was once again REBELLION Racing’s Neel Jani on top of the sheet, but the times dropped even more.  Jani’s lap of 98.944 seconds (129.528 mph), the fastest lap of the weekend to this point.  The lap was over a half a second faster than DragonSpeed’s Nicolas Lapierre in a similar ORECA 07-Gibson.  Mazda Motorsports’ Tristan Nunez turned in the fastest lap for a DPi chassis in third, two-thirds of a second off of Jani.

Visit Florida Racing’s René Rast was fourth quickest in the Riley Mk. 30-Gibson, hampered by the fact that teammate Renger van der Zande is sick and was not able to drive in the session.  Toyota factory racer Mike Conway was fifth quickest in Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R.

In Prototype Challenge, Patricio O’Ward continued to show good form, topping the charts for the second session in a row.  O’Ward’s lap of 103.119 seconds (124.284 mph) was 1.377 seconds faster than Ben Keating in Starworks Motorsport’s No. 8.  BAR1 Motorsports’ Nick Boulle was another seven-eights of a second back in third.

The featured picture above seems like an appropriate look at what the GT Le Mans class may look like during the Rolex 24 at Daytona.  During the night session, the entire 11-car class was separated by only seven-eighths of a second.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing UK’s Andy Priaulx was quickest in the No. 69 Ford GT with a lap of 104.785 seconds (122.308 mph).  That lap was half a tenth of a second faster than teammate Olivier Pla in the No. 68.  Richard Westbrook completed a Ford 1-2-3 in the No. 67.  Corvette Racing’s Tommy Milner and Mike Rockenfeller rounded out the top 5.

In GT Daytona, Montaplast by Land-Motorsport was once again on top.  Christopher Mies turned in a lap at 107.723 seconds (118.972 mph) to lead the pack.  The lap was a quarter of a second faster than 3GT Racing’s Jack Hawksworth in the No. 15 Lexus.  Stevenson Motorsports’ Andrew Davis was third fastest in the No. 57 Audi, followed by the Alex Job Racing Audi for Frankie Montecalvo.  Dream Racing’s Raffaele Giammaria was fifth fastest.

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams have two more practice sessions on Sunday, starting bright and early.  However, the cold weather may keep some teams off the track.

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.

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Philip Alderson

The GT made a name for itself in the 1960s, and the nameplate returned to Ford for the 2005 and 2006 models. Since then, the vehicle has truly evolved into a supercar, evident by it’s $100,000+ price tag.
The company has made some changes to the third-generation GT, prioritizing handling and track capabilities in their 2017 model. The result? Not only one of Ford’s most impressive cars ever, but perhaps one of the most innovative cars to ever be released. For more information about the 2017 Ford GT Car checkout.

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