The action on track at Circuit of the Americas mirrored the numbers on the thermometer during the second practice session of the weekend for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, ramping up to more aggressive levels. The session went green all except for a mishap when the No. 8 Starworks PC entry driven by Mike Hedlund had an off, resulting in front end damage and a short red flag period.
The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley DP was perched on top of the time-charts at the end of the session. The Joey Hand/Scott Pruett duo drove to a time of 1:57.639, just breaching last year’s Yacaman/Brundle-set track record by 0.17s. At almost three-quarters of a second back, John Pew and Ozz Negri Jr. piloted their No. 50 Michael Shank Racing Honda powered Ligier JS P2 to second place in the times at 1:58.388. Fortunately for the Taylor brothers, they were able to improve on their time quite greatly from the first practice session. Jordan and Ricky piloted the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP entry to third place at the end of the session, a whopping 1.486s from the leader. Two more familiar entries filled out the top five with Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante earning a time of 1:59.125 in their No. 90 Corvette DP and Dan Cameron and Eric Curran earning a 1:59.412 in their No. 31 Corvette DP.
The PC class began to spread out just a bit as Colin Braun and Ed Bennett garnered the top spot with a time of 2:00.610 in their No. 54 Starwork Entry, just missing the lap record of 2:00.528. This time was not far off from the fast time in the first session, which was set by the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport, the first car in chase of the leaders in this session. Renger van der Zande and Mike Hedlund, despite having to retire from the session, salvaged a time of 2:01.050. The No. 11 RSR Racing entry of Bruno Junqueira and Chris Cumming managed third place, three and a half second off the pace. The familiar face of Sean Rayhall and Alex Popow in the sister Starworks No. 88 ended the session in fourth with a time of 2:02.138, chased by Mike Guasch and Tom Kimber-Smith’s PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports No. 52 in fifth.
The whole top five of the GTLM class were separated by less than a second with Bill Auberlen and Dirk Werner finishing the session with the fastest time of 2:04.256. Their BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE No. 25 machine was just about a second from last year’s GTLM qualifying record. The first class car in chase was the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy, cranking out a lap just 0.167s back from the leaders. The No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia slotted into third place at the end of the session with a time of 2:04.613. The sister Porsche No. 912 of Joerg Bergmeister and Earl Bamber earned fourth place with a time of 2:04.937. Just 0.953s back from the leader in class, Pierre Kaffer and Giancarlo Fisichella piloted their No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia to fifth place.
The GTD class was also extremely close with John Potter and Andy Lally bringing their No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America to the front of the field with a time of 2:09.914. In a close second by 0.22s, Michael Marsal and Markus Palttala sat second in their No. 97 BMW Z4. The hometown heroes of the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT slid their way to a time of 2:10.488 in third place. Christopher Haase and Dion von Moltke earned a time of 2:10.539 in their NO. 48 Audi R8 LMS followed by an entry that’s new to the class this year. Dan Knox and Marc Goossens, their first time out in the No 80 Dodge Viper GT3R are showing pace for their hometown crowd as well. They finished the session in fifth, just 0.752s off the pace.
The TUDOR Championship will continue its attack on the stars and stripes of Circuit of the Americas tomorrow morning, Friday, September 18 at 9:10 AM local time with the third practice session. Qualifying begins on Friday at 3:45 local time with each class having the track to themselves. Keep it tuned to @IMSAOnTrack and Next Gen Indy through the week for the Lone Star Le Mans.