Photo: Michael Shank Racing,

Michael Shank Racing Tops Practice 1 at COTA

September 17, 2015

The Tudor United SportsCar Championship took to the colorful tarmac of Circuit of the Americas Thursday morning for first practice. The session was the first of the week for the Lone Star Le Mans,  the endurance super-event featuring fields from Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, Tudor Championship, and the FIA World Endurance Championship. The Texas heat provided for a hot and humid session, starting off at 84 degrees Fahrenheit. With 2014 being the first year of the series, this is only the second outing at the FIA approved track for the premier North American endurance series.

In the top Prototype category, The No. 60 Honda HPD powered Ligier JS P2 Michael Shank racing entry topped the charts after the session, but not after having to fight for it. The entry was piloted to the top by John Pew and Ozz Negri Jr with a time of 2:00.205. The No. 31 Dane Cameron, Eric Curran Action Express Corvette DP led the first half of the session, but came up short with a 2:00.294 at the end. Filling out the rest of the top 5 were Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP, Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiente in the No. 90 Racing Corvett DP, and Joey Hand with Scott Pruett in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Ecoboost DP.

As always, the LMPC category proved very close and competitive in the Texas September Sizzle. The No 8 Starworks Motorsport entry topped the charts with Mike Hedlund and Renger van der Zande managing a 2:00.914. Jon Bennett and Colin Braun piloted their No. 54 CORE Autosport machine to second with a time of 2:01.520. Interesting to note, these LMPC entries were faster than the Prototypes of Wayne Taylor Racing, DeltaWing Racing, and Mazda Motorsports. The rest of the top five included Bruno Junqueira and Chris Cumming in the No. 11 RSR Racing Entry, Mike Guasch and Tom Kimber-Smith in the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports No. 52 entry, and finally James French and Conor Daly in the

Performance Tech Motorsports No. 38 entry. Earl Bamber and Joerg Bergmeister continued Porsches strong run by leading the session with a time of 2:05.231 in the GTLM category in their No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR for Porsche North America. Porsche North AMerica also filled the second position with Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet in the No. 912 entry. They managed a time of 2:05.484. Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner managed third place with at time of 2:05.765 in their No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE. John Edwards and Lucas Luhr in the sister BMW managed fourth place with a 2:05.885. Rounding out the top five in the GTLM category was

Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R with a time of 2:06.237. Putting on a good show for their home crowd Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating were at the top of the charts in their No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT. Christopher Haase and Dion Von Moltke found themselves only 0.122s behind the leader in their No 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS. Fastest in the session for only a moment Patrick Lindsey and Spencer Pumpelly found themselves in third place at the end of the session with a 2:10.459 in their No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America. Michael Marsal and Markus Palttala brought their Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 to fourth with Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell finishing out the top five in their NO. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia.

This weekend promises to bring a variety of action to the track with three major series competing together. Practice 2 for the Tudor Championship will occur later today at 4:35 PM ET. Keep it tuned to @SlipstreamNET and for the Lone Star Le Mans.

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