The cars and stars of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship took to a dark and soggy track on Friday night for some night practice ahead of the 2015 running of Petit Le Mans.The session began wet, but only got worse as the night went on, with the very end drying out just a bit.
There were three red flags during the session. Two of which involved single car incidents from Jeff Segal’s spun No. 63 Ferrari. Another red flag came from Sylvain Tremblay in the No. 70 Skyactive Mazda Prototype. The scariest crash of the night belonged to John Pew in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier Prototype. Pew hydroplaned coming out of Turn 12 and smashed the wall on driver’s right with every corner of his car. The damage was significant enough that it is unsure if the care will return to competition this weekend.
The top time in the Prototype category when to Jordan Taylor in the #10 Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype for Wayne Taylor Racing, coming across the stripe in 1:29.369. Christian Fittipaldi was half a tenth off Taylor in the #5 Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype for Action Express Racing, and Joey Hand rounded out the Top 3 two seconds adrift of Fittipaldi in the #01 Ford EcoBoost Riley Daytona Prototype for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
Renger van der Zande was the fastest LMPC driver in the #8 Starworks Motorsport machine, setting a time of 1:32.963. Next was Mike Guasch in the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports machine, three seconds off the pace of the #8. Rounding out the top 3 was Bruno Junqueira in the #11 RSR Racing prototype, another five seconds adrift of Guasch.
The fastest driver in GT Le Mans was fourth quickest overall, with Bryan Sellers setting a time of 1:31.573 in the #17 Porsche 911 RSR for Team Falken Tire. The Porsche North America duo of Joerg Bergmeister and Nick Tandy in the #912 and #911 (respectively) Porsche 911 RSRs rounded out the top 3, with Bergmeister two seconds behind Sellers, and Tandy another tenth behind.
Finally, the fastest GT Daytona driver was Ben Keating in the #33 Dodge Viper GT3-R for Riley Motorsports, setting a time of 1:37.627. Teammate Al Carter was second quick in the #93, one and a half seconds off Keating’s pace. Christina Nielsen rounded out the top 3 for GTD in the #007 Aston Marting V12 Vantage for TRG-AMR, a half second behind the Viper of Al Carter.
Such disparity was seen throughout the field due to the track conditions, which culminated when John Pew lost control of his #60 Prototype machine coming on to the main straight. Many teams called it a night at that point. However, with around 30 minutes left in the session, the rain lightened up, with many cars and drivers returning to the track to get some last minute night preparation in.