Friday practice completed at the Roar with Mikaël Grenier’s SunEnergy1 team fourth in GTD

IT IS ONLY THE FIRST DAY OF TESTING AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY BUT ALREADY THE LAP TIMES ARE AS COMPETITIVE AS EVER

With a short winter break, teams and drivers were surely anxious to get going around the famous Daytona Speedway. 49 cars took to the track in IMSA WeatherTech Championship and 37 in Michelin Pilot Challenge.

These two Championships are where we can find our Canadian representatives.

Two practice sessions on the agenda today for each class. Everyone’s working on their own programs when it comes to these practice sessions. The time of day and track condition, as we know, play a factor as well in terms of lap time. Since we have had requests into posting comparative lap times within teammates, here is what Friday gave us.

In the GTD class, the quickest time of the day went to Christina Neilsen driving the Porsche 911 GT3 R for Team Hardpoint EBM, with a time of 1:46.194.

As Pfaff Motorsports is making a comeback, the Motul plaid Porsche team did split seat time between drivers Zach Robichon (1:47.224) and Laurens Vanthoor (1:47.316) sharing driving duties this morning where Lars Kern (1:47.518) and Matt Campbell (1:46.976) did the same in the afternoon.

Mikaël Grenier was at the wheel of SunEnegy1 Mclaren AMG GT3 this afternoon and clocked the third fastest time of the session with a 1:46.919. His teammates Kenny Habul (1:48.157), Raffaele Marciello (1:47.180) drove in both sessions and Luca Stolz (1:46.575) drove in the morning session.

Daniel Morad also took too the track this afternoon. Daniel is making a comeback with 2017 Rolex 24 GTD winners Alegra Motorsports. The team switched from Porsche 911 GT3 R to Mercedes AMG GT3. Daniel’s time was a 1:47.446, Michael De Quesada 1:47.737 , Billy Johnson 1:48.022 and Maxi Buhk a 1:46.833.

Roman De Angelis, who is starting his second year with The Heart of Racing at the wheel of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3, took part in both sessions today. His best time of the day was 1:48.587 while teammates Ian James clocked a 1:49.049, Darren Turner (1:50.484) and Ross Gunn (1:49.583). They are a team to keep an eye on as they finished 2020 with several podiums.

Certainly a good base to start from for some as others will clearly make their way up the timesheet as the weekend progresses.

GTD classification

  • 1- R. Ferriol / E. Bamber / K. Legge / C. Neilson Team Hardpoint EBM 1:46.194
  • 2- S. Mann / N. Nielsen / D. Serra / M. Cressoni Af Corse 1:46.505
  • 3- R. Ward / P. Ellis / I. Dontje / M. Engel Winward Racing 1:46.525
  • 4- K. Habul / R. Marciello / M. Grenier / L. Stolz SunEnergy1 1:46.575
  • 7- D. Morad / M. de Quesada / B. Johnson / M. Buhk Alegra Motorsports 1:46.833
  • 9- Z. Robichon / L. Vanthoor / L. Kern / M. Campbell Pfaff Motorsports 1:46.976
  • 19- I. James / R. De Angelis / D. Turner / R. Gunn Heart Of Racing Team 1:48.587

In IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, we also have several Canadian drivers and teams present at Daytona.

Two Canadian teams are returning to the races in the GS class. AWA Racing and Motorsports In Action have both entered a McLaren 570S GT4.

The fastest GS time today was #38 BGB Motorsports of T. Collingwood / J. Tecce and S. Pumpelly with a 1:54.130.

Kuno Wittmer (1:55.421) and Orey Fidani (1:56.564) are sharing driving duties at AWA Racing where at Motorsports In Action Spencer Pigot (1:54.959) share the drive with Sheena Monk 1:55.471.

Kyle Marcelli (1:54.961) and teammate Dean Martin (1:55.742) are back with the #59 KohR Motorsports but traded the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 they drove last year for a Ford Mustang GT4. A third teammate took the wheel of the Ford Mustang, Chuck Cassaro, only completed 3 laps in the afternoon.

James Vance, driving for FAST MD RACING and whose team traded their Audi RS3 TCR for an Audi R8 GT4 is then making a debut in the GS Class. Vance ended the day with a fastest lap of 1:57.054 while teammate Alex Papadopulos’s time was 1:55.893.

Then, debuting the Hyundai Elantra N TCR, Mark Wilkins and his teammate Harry Gottsacker completed only a handful of laps with their new car surely sorting out the gremlins. Mark drove only 4 laps in the afternoon with a time of 2:04.334 and Gottsacker six laps for a best time of 2:03.775. When looking at the fastest TCR time by 61 Road Shagger Racing’s Audi RS3 LMS DSG of G. Ernstone / J. Morley of 2:00.194, we can definitely see that Bryan Herta Autosport is working through their program and we will surely see the speed coming up in the next couple of days.

GS Classification

  • 1- T. Collingwood / J. Tecce / S. Pumpelly. BGB Motorsports 1:54.130
  • 2- B. Auberlen / D. Machavern Turner Motorsport 1:54.467
  • 3- S. Quinlan / G. Liefooghe Stephen Cameron Racing LLC 1:54.625
  • 6- S. Monk / S. Pigot Motorsports In Action 1:54.959
  • 8- K. Marcelli / D. Martin / C. Cassaro KohR Motorsports 1:54.961
  • 16- K. Wittmer / O. Fidani AWA 1:55.421
  • 20- A. Papadopulos / J. Vance FAST MD RACING 1:55.893

TCR Classification

  • 1- G. Ernstone / J. Morley Road Shagger Racing 2:00.194
  • 2- T. Lewis / R. Block KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering 2:00.217
  • 3- M. LaMarra / M. Pombo LA Honda World Racing 2:00.275
  • 12- H. Gottsacker / M. Wilkins Bryan Herta Autosport w/ Curb-Agajanian 2:03.775

More to come tomorrow as the third and fourth one hour session for IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge is scheduled for 9:15am and 4:20pm.

Images: Courtesy IMSA

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