The heavens opened and puddles streaked across the sloping moraine hills of Road America Friday during practice for the IMSA Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. Both sessions were considered wet, the second being near monsoon-like.
First practice played host to 24 cars on the rain soaked national landmark. Only four prototype entries were found on track. Ozz Negri Jr, Richard Westbrook, Joey Hand, and Dane Cameron piloted their top tier machines in the wet; rooster tails spiraling upward behind them. The top time of the session, a 2:27.182s, was produced by Conor Daly in his Oreca FLM09 Chevrolet powered LMPC machine fielded by Performance Tech Motorsports.
Negri Jr., the leading prototype of the session managed a 2:31.611s in his Michael Shank Racing Ligier P2. We talked to MSR team owner, Michael Shank, after the practice session. He was pleased with the speed they’ve found at their maiden appearance in the car here at Road America. We also talked about the appearance of his new sponsor on the car, U.S. Auto Force.
Mother Nature wasn’t satisfied with her work on the first practice session of the day; the clouds spewed even more rain during Practice 2. Despite previous remarks from Michael Shank, the second session produced plenty of on-track action, despite the water-logged conditions. The threat of rain for the race may have played a factor in the number of teams (24) willing to risk a practice session in such treacherous conditions.
The top time of the session belonged to Nick Tandy in his GTLM classed Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR at 2:23:218s. The top prototype time of 2:24.480s belonged to the Corvette DP of Richard Westbrook. Renger van der Zande topped the LMPC field with a time of 2:26.556s. And Spencer Pumpelly piloted his Porsche 911 GT America to the top GTLM time of 2:37.533s.
RSR Racing team owner, Paul Gentilozzi, spoke to us after the session. We covered the session, what to expect for the race and the future of the LMPC class. Bruno Junqeira piloted his RSR fielded Oreca to third in class with a time of 2:30.926s.
With the field set for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, the action looks to be grand coming on race day. Click here for the qualifying results.