After frigid conditions at Fuji Speedway yesterday culminating in thick fog just before nightfall, Friday dawned with blue skies and just a little high cloud, temperatures almost spring-like and Mount Fuji showing her snow-capped best.
Friday Morning Testing
All 20 cars were out on track for a private test session on Friday morning with few dramas on track and Phil Hanson topping the times in the #22 United Autosports Ligier JS P2 Nissan with a 1:33.053, a full second clear of the best effort from the #24 Algarve Pro Ligier Judd.
Fastest in LMP3 was the #2 United Autosports Ligier, Wayne Boyd with a 1:36.987 edging Colin Noble off the top spot though the young Scot would hit trouble, literally, the #79 Ecurie Ecosse/ Nielsen Ligier running wide over a kerb and damaging the underfloor plank (pictured top).
In GT it was the Ferrari pair at the top, Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Spirit of Race 488 GT3 ahead of the re-liveried #11 Car Guy car of James Calado, the World Champions both know this track well, and it shows! Pier Guidi’s 1:39.530 three tenths quicker than his WEC team-mate.
Free Practice 1
Friday afternoon free practice saw the cars on track until just about sunset, again all 20 cars were on track and in (almost) neat and tidy class order with only the #50 R24 Ligier sitting below the GTs in the overall order after some mild woes for the Japanese pairing.
Fastest in the session was Pipo Derani, the wee Brazilian putting the #8 Spirit of Race Ligier on top with a 1:33.182, well clear of the best effort in the session from Paul di Resta, that pair the only two under 1:34.
In LMP3 it was Shanghai winner Kuba Smiechowski fastest, 1:36.985 almost a second up on Nigel Moore’s best shot in the #65 Vipe Niza Ligier.
GT again saw a battle of the World Champions, Pier Guidi posting a 1:39.839 in the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari, a tenth and a half clear of Calado in the #11 Car Guy 488 GT3 with Dries Vanthoor four tenths back in the #88 TianShi Racing Audi.