Saturday brought changeable conditions to Daytona International Speedway. Rains made the second session dicey at times, but Oliver Jarvis kept Mazda Team Joest’s No. 77 Mazda RT24-P on top of the pylon with a lap at 135.257 mph.
Session No. 3
In the morning session, Mazda picked up where they left off on Friday. Harry Tincknell was fastest once again with a lap at 133.948 mph. That lap was nearly a half-second faster than Olivier Pla in the No. 77 Mazda. JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Tristan Vautier was third in the quickest of the Cadillacs, followed by Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr. Wayne Taylor Racing’s Renger van der Zande was fifth.
DragonSpeed continued to show their pace by once again leading the LMP2 class. This time, it was Colin Braun that was fastest with a lap at 130.503 mph, good for ninth overall.
Braun’s lap was nearly a second and a quarter faster than PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Gabriel Aubry. Tower Motorsport by Starworks’ David Heinemeier Hansson was third quickest, followed by Performance Tech Motorsports’ Kyle Masson.
BMW continued to show off their quick pace, topping the session once again with their No. 25 BMW M8 GTE. Connor de Phillippi was quickest with a lap at 123.063 mph, good for 14th overall. De Phillippi’s lap was six-hundredths of a second faster than Porsche GT Team’s Mathieu Jaminet. Teammate Nick Tandy was third, less than a tenth of a second off of de Phillippi. Risi Competizione’s James Calado was fourth, followed by BMW Team RLL’s John Edwards.
GRT Grasser Racing Team’s Albert Costa was fastest in GT Daytona with a lap at 119.682 mph, good for 21st overall. Costa’s lap was a tenth of a second faster than Heinricher Racing with MSR Curb-Agajanian’s Trent Hindman in the No. 57 Acura. GRT Magnus’ Spencer Pumpelly was third, while Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers was fourth. AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Townsend Bell was fifth quickest in his Lexus. The top five cars in GT Daytona were separated by just over a quarter of a second while the top 15 were within one second of Costa.
There were no red flags during the session. However, PFAFF Motorsports’ Dennis Olsen did spin and hit the tire barriers during the session. The PFAFF Motorsports Porsche, back in the red-and-black flannel colors for 2020, was not seriously damaged. Olsen ended up seventh in class.
Session No. 4
The rest of the field was able to break Mazda Team Joest’s occupation of the top of the charts during the changeable conditions of Session No. 4. Held on a track that was drying out after earlier rains, Action Express Racing’s Filipe Albuquerque was fastest overall in his Cadillac DPi-V.R. with a lap at 132.890 mph. Due to the somewhat damp conditions, Albuquerque’s lap is the slowest lap to top a session during the ROAR Before the 24 to this point.
Albuquerque’s lap was one-seventh of a second faster than Mazda Team Joest’s Ryan Hunter-Reay, who has struggled with comfort in the car this weekend. Graham Rahal has had similar issues with the Acura ARX-05 in the past.
PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Simon Trummer was fastest in LMP2 with a lap at 129.764 mph, good for ninth overall. Trummer’s time was a full second and a half faster than Heinemeier Hansson. DragonSpeed’s Harrison Newey was third, followed by Rick Ware Racing’s James Davison.
While RWR did show some improvement early Saturday, Session No. 4 saw some serious problems for the team. Shortly after Davison set his best time, he spun the No. 2 Riley Mk. 30-Gibson and hit the tires in the Bus Stop chicane. Davison is ok, but the Riley Mk. 30 was damaged. The team sat out the rest of Saturday’s action repairing the car.
Porsche GT Team’s Mathieu Jaminet was fastest in GT Le Mans with a lap at 122.592 mph. Jaminet’s lap was one-third of a second faster than Calado’s Ferrari. Corvette Racing’s Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs did not lose as much time in the conditions as the others, allowing them to move up the order. Oliver Gavin was third quickest in the silver No. 4, while Jordan Taylor was fourth in the yellow No. 3. Matt Campbell was fifth in the second Porsche.
AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Frankie Montecalvo was fastest in GT Daytona in the No. 12 Lexus with a lap at 119.497 mph. Montecalvo’s lap was three-tenths of a second faster than PFAFF Motorsports’ Patrick Pilet. Pumpelly was third, followed by the Audi of WRT Speedstar’s Daniel Morad. Scuderia Corsa’s Jeff Westphal was fifth.
Session No. 5
Saturday’s third practice session is the only session this weekend that is being held under the lights. With that brings lower temperatures and higher speeds. It was under these conditions that Jarvis was able to put down the quickest lap of the ROAR to date.
Jarvis’ lap was nearly a half a second faster than Hunter-Reay. Hunter-Reay’s best lap came in the closing minutes of the session. Previous to that, Jarvis’ lap was nearly nine-tenths of a second faster than anyone else.
DragonSpeed’s Newey clocked the fastest LMP2 lap of the ROAR at 131.619 mph, good for ninth overall. Newey’s lap was four-tenths of a second faster than Tower Motorsport by Starworks’ Nicolas Lapierre. Trummer was third quickest, followed by Era Motorsport’s Nicolas Minassian.
Porsche GT Team’s Laurens Vanthoor was fastest in GT Le Mans with a lap at 123.811 mph, 14th overall. Vanthoor’s time was eight-hundredths of a second faster than teammate Frederic Makowiecki. Risi Competizione’s Daniel Serra was third quickest, while Jordan Taylor and BMW Team RLL’s Augusto Farfus were close behind.
Franck Perera was fastest in GT Daytona with a lap at 120.098 mph, good for 21st overall. Andy Lally, who is driving more or less a team car to Perera’s Lamborghini, was three-hundredths of a second back in second. Paul Miller Racing’s Andrea Caldarelli was third, followed by the Porsche of Wright Motorsports’ Patrick Long and Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s Jules Gounon.
The session also saw Aston Martin Racing’s No. 98 venture onto the track for the first time all weekend. This particular effort (even though it is from Aston Martin’s factory team) is spearheaded by Canadian racer Paul Dalla Lana. However, Aston Martin Racing released a statement Saturday that indicates that Dalla Lana has been ruled out of the Rolex 24 at Daytona due to injuries suffered in a recent skiing accident. Rules require any car planning on competing in the Rolex 24 to participate in the ROAR. To that end, the team went out there and put up the eighth-best time with Ross Gunn at the wheel. Aston Martin Racing is currently trying to recruit a replacement driver for the race.
Things weren’t all good for the MSR No. 86 Acura in the session. Later on, Shinya Michimi spun in turn 7 and stalled, bringing out a red flag. The Acura was retrieved, allowing for the session to continue.
There are two more test sessions scheduled for Sunday in Daytona, both of which will be 60 minutes in length. The first of these sessions will be at 10:35 a.m. In addition, there is a qualifying session for DPi and GT Le Mans class teams after the first practice. This will determine their pit and garage stall assignments. Unlike NASCAR races at Daytona, the best pit stall to have in Daytona is at the entrance to the pits instead of the exit This is because the garage is right near the pit entrance. If you were fastest in qualifying, then had a problem in the race, then you could pull into the garage and go into the first stall, saving some time in the process.
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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