Track action is well and truly underway at Sebring today, with the FIA WEC runners heading out for their first practice session of the week.
In LMP1 there were no surprises, the pair of Toyota TS050 Hybrid’s out in front, the #7 car ahead of the #8 by half a second. Jose Maria Lopez’s 1:42.506 was firmly nailed as the overall best until Kazuki Nakajima posted a 1:41.957 to put the #8 car top just before the chequered flag.
Once again, the Japanese marque flexed its muscles on pace. Nakajima wasn’t as fast as Conway in the pre-event test, but a 1:41.957 would be easily good enough to better Sebastian Bourdais’ circuit lap record from 2009.
The Rebellions ran half a second off the Toyotas for third and fourth, Mathias Beche’s 1:43.552 the better by a tenth.
SMP’s pair of BR1’s had a steady and seemingly untroubled opening session behind, in touch with the Rebellions in the 1:43’s, the Dragonspeed BR1 rounding off the class.
LMP2 times traded evenly in the 1:48’s, Racing Team Netherland’s Dallara starting well: Nyck De Vries did the lion’s share of the work, his 1:47.825 the best of the session by half a second from Andre Negrao’s Signatech Alpine A470.
TDS Racing’s ORECA 07 Gibson finished the session third ahead of the Jackie Chan DC Racing pair, the French outfit the best of the Dunlop runners on this occasion.
The #67 Ford GT set the early benchmark in GTE-Pro before the #97 Aston Martin found its feet, Maxime Martin delivering a 1:58.044 to head the session, in which the top 10 covered by just over a second.
The factory Porsche 911 RSR’s were late on track, but soon edged into the top four.
Just hundredths of a second separated the top four in GTE-Am, the #98 Aston Martin settling in its familiar class-leading position, a 2:00.043 fractionally shy of the GTE-Pro times.
The pursuing Dempsey Proton pair and the Clearwater Racing Ferrari were covered by less than a tenth, the entire class occupying a space of less than a second.
The first session of the WEC 1000 Miles of Sebring was mostly clean, but not entirely, halted only by Gianluca Roda’s #88 Dempsey Proton GTE-Am Porsche stopping out on track just shy of the hour mark.
This barely interrupted the session, in which the only non-runner was unsurprisingly the GTE-AM Team Project 1 Porsche, the car still in preparation after the team received it overnight.