Race Weekend Central

Richard Westbrook Quickest in Early Daytona WeatherTech Practices

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Richard Westbrook broke a stranglehold on the top of the speed charts in the dry from Acura Thursday (Jan. 26) by turning in the fastest lap in practice at 134.643 mph in his Cadillac V-LMDh. However, the day was overshadowed by nine red flags, including one for a significant crash.

Session No. 1

The first session ran in a start-stop fashion due to five separate red flags. Some of them were minor, but a couple had implications on the rest of the weekend.

The biggest of the incidents occurred with 25 minutes to go when Winward Racing’s Lucas Auer went wide exiting turn 2, dropped a wheel into the dirt, then spun and hit the wall head-on in his Mercedes. The session was stopped for 20 minutes as the safety crews removed Auer from the car and cleaned up the scene.

Auer was transported to a local hospital after being checked over at the infield care center. There has been no official update given on his condition.

Earlier on, Performance Tech Motorsports’ John DeAngelis spun and hit the wall exiting the Le Mans chicane to bring out a red flag. DeAngelis is ok and the Performance Tech team made repairs to get the car back out.

The other red flags were due to debris and a couple of stalled cars. One was the Kelly-Moss Road & Race No. 92 Porsche for Alec Udell and the other was for the GTD Pro-class Iron Lynx Lamborghini for Andrea Caldarelli.

In addition, Alessio Deledda spun his Lamborghini exiting the International Horseshoe. That did not bring out a red flag, but it did result in a penalty because he rejoined the track directly in front of Wright Motorsports’ Zacharie Robichon.

Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport’s Filipe Albuquerque was fastest overall with a lap at 134.388 mph in his Acura ARX-06. Albuquerque was .266 seconds faster than Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Lynn. Rolex 24 at Daytona pole sitter Tom Blomqvist was third, then Renger van der Zande. Porsche’s Mathieu Jaminet was fifth.

See also
Tom Blomqvist Wins Rolex 24 at Daytona Pole

PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Paul-Loup Chatin was fastest in LMP2 with a lap at 130.730 mph, ninth overall. Chatin was nearly three-tenths of a second faster than Era Motorsport’s Oliver Jarvis. TDS Racing’s Mikkel Jensen was third in the No. 11 entry, followed by Proton Competition’s Gianmaria Bruni. Job van Uitert in the second TDS entry was fifth.

Riley Motorsports’ Felipe Fraga was fastest in LMP3 with a lap at 124.786 mph, 20th overall. The lap was .091 seconds faster than Andretti Autosport’s Gabby Chaves. Sean Creech Motorsports’ Joao Barbosa was third, then Performance Tech Motorsports’ Cameron Shields and JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Tijmen van der Helm.

In Auer’s case, he went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Immediately before his big crash, Auer turned in the fastest lap of all GT drivers with a lap at 120.042 mph, 29th overall. Auer’s lap was .212 seconds faster than VasserSullivan’s Aaron Telitz. Magnus Racing’s Spencer Pumpelly was third in his Aston Martin, then Inception Racing’s Frederic Schandorff. Racers Edge Motorspors with Wayne Taylor Racing’s Kyle Marcelli was fifth.

In GTD Pro, TeamTGM’s Owen Trinkler was fastest with a lap at 119.765 mph, third of all GT teams, a quarter of a second slower than Auer. Trinkler was .164 seconds quicker than VasserSullivan’s Jack Hawksworth. The Heart of Racing’s Ross Gunn was third, then Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia. Prior to stalling on-course, Caldarelli turned in a lap that ended up being fifth in class.


The Kelly-Moss No. 92 Porsche of Udell stalled before ever completing a lap. Since they did not return to the track after bringing out the first red flag, they recorded no time during the session.

Session No. 2

Once the GTP cars were able to get on the 3.56-mile circuit, the Porsches were fast early on before the Cadillacs came to the front. Westbrook set the quick time of the day on his fourth lap on-track.

Westbrook’s lap was .238 seconds faster than Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport’s Louis Deletraz. Van der Zande was third, followed by Pipo Derani in the Action Express Cadillac. Porsche Penske Motorsports’ Felipe Nasr was fifth.

LMP2 saw PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports stay on top, but this time with Nicolas Lapierre setting a lap at 129.960 mph. The lap was .421 seconds quicker than van Uitert, then Era Motorsport’s Christian Rasmussen. TDS Racing’s Scott Huffaker was fourth, with AF Corse’s Matthieu Vaxiviere fifth.

The second session had some more trouble. Proton Competition’s Francesco Pizzi spun exiting the Le Mans chicane and smacked the SAFER Barrier to bring out another red flag. Pizzi was able to get out of the car under his own power, but the team’s ORECA 07-Gibson was significantly damaged.

JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Duqueine M30-D08-Nissan drew another red flag when Till Becholsheimer spun onto the grass in turn 2 of the tri-oval. Later on, Andrew Wojteczko Autosport’s Orey Fidani stalled on the skidpad prior to a bail out to get into the garage.

Finally, the last red flag flew when the Sean Creech Motorsports No. 33 with Nolan Siegel at the wheel stopped at turn 6 after a plume of smoke came out of his LMP3 car.

In LMP3, Fraga was once again fastest with a lap at 125.045 mph in his Ligier JS P320-Nissan, 20th overall. Fraga’s lap was .308 seconds faster than AWA’s No. 17 Duqueine for Nico Varrone. Teammate Matt Bell was third, then FastMD Racing’s Antonio Serravalle. Sean Creech Motorsports’ Nico Pino was fifth before the mechanical failure.

In GTD, Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Mikael Grenier was the fastest GT driver with a lap at 120.585 mph, good for 28th overall. was .136 seconds quicker than the Racers Edge Acura of Ryan Briscoe. SunEnergy1 Racing’s Kenny Habul was third, then NTE/SSR’s Jaden Conwright. Magnus Racing’s Nicki Thiim was fifth.

GTD Pro was led by WeatherTech Racing’s Jules Gounon with a lap at 120.451 mph, good for 29th overall, .118 seconds slower than Grenier. Gounon’s lap was .471 seconds quicker than The Heart of Racing’s Alex Riberas. Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor was third, then TeamTGM’s Matt Plumb. Hawksworth was fifth.


The Winward Racing team did not participate in Practice No. 2 as they continue to try to repair their Mercedes-AMG GT3. We will update this if any news is made available in regards to Auer’s condition.

So far, the debut weekend for the new 992-based Porsche 911 GT3 R has been a nightmare. All of the teams running the car are well off the pace. In the second practice session, the best Porsche 911 was the VOLT Racing No. 77. Kevin Estre was 50th overall, 23rd of all GT cars and 15th in GTD. As a result, some unusual moves, like this one from Pfaff Motorsports, are being taken.

As of now, there have been no Balance of Performance changes made to the Porsche 911 GT3 R. The only change made after the ROAR Before the 24 was to give the BMW M4 GT3 an extra two liters of fuel capacity.

WeatherTech teams have two more practice sessions prior to the Rolex 24 at Daytona. First up is night practice, which is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. ET Thursday and will have teams using the low temperature tire for the first time. The final practice is at 11:20 a.m. ET Friday.

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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