Porsche, Audi Show Speed in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Practice at VIR
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge got its first look at VIRginia International Raceway on Friday ahead of Round 4, the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix, on Sunday. While at one point during the session seven different manufacturers comprised the top seven positions, that number wound down to four in what was still an impressive leaderboard.
Jan Heylen put the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport first overall in the Grand Sport (GS) class with a fastest lap time of one minute, 53.751 seconds (103.488 mph). Heylen and co-driver Thomas Collingwood have yet to finish in the top 10 this year but could be headed in the right direction after Friday’s result.
The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 followed suit with Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley. Third quickest was Indy Dontje in the No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4 he shares with Russell Ward and fourth quickest was the No. 71 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R of Robin Liddell and Frank DePew for Rebel Rock Racing.
In the TCR class, it was a last-lap zinger from James Vance that sent the No. 23 FAST MD Racing with Speed Syndicate Audi RS3 LMS to the top of the charts. One race after co-driver Max Faulkner earned his first Motul Pole Award at Road America, Vance led the charge this time with a lap of 1:58.243 (99.557 mph).
After some difficult runs the last few races, the No. 37 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic TCR of Chris Miller and Shelby Blackstock was second quickest in Friday’s practice in the hands of Blackstock. He was a narrow .085 seconds quicker than Michael Johnson in the No. 54 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi that he shares with Stephen Simpson.
A second practice session and qualifying are on deck for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge on Saturday. The series closes out the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR weekend on Sunday with the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix set for Sunday at 2:55 p.m. ET. The race can be streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
JDC Motorsports Leads Way in Wet Prototype Challenge Opening Practice
Even with the shaky weather Friday at VIR, the status remained pretty much quo through opening practice for the IMSA Prototype Challenge. The No. 9 JDC MotorSports Norma M30 LMP3 5.0L V8, winner of the last two races this season, set the pace in what became an abbreviated session due to heavy rain.
The 45-minute practice began with a wet track following a rain shower prior to the session’s start, but VIRginia International Raceway showed signs of drying as some cars tested the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit. Scott Andrews was the first driver to tour the course in less than two minutes, posting a lap of 1:59.776 (98.283 mph) in the No. 9 he shares with Gerry Kraut.
Soon after, the skies opened again and the cars sat idle for the last half of the soggy session. Only nine entries turned laps at speed, with Andrews more than four seconds quicker than the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Norma piloted by Kyle Kirkwood (2:03.780).
Prototype Challenge competitors will have a final, 30-minute practice session starting at 8:50 a.m. ET Saturday, ahead of qualifying at 11:20 a.m. Sunday’s race, timed at one hour, 45 minutes, streams live at 9:35 a.m. ET on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
The VIR round is the fourth of six on the 2020 Prototype Challenge schedule. Naveen Rao and Matthew Bell, drivers of the No. 64 K2R Motorsports Norma, lead the standings by two points over Dakota Dickerson, who rides in the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P3 with co-driver Dom Cicero.
Dickinson Paces Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Field in VIR Practice
The momentum continued for Riley Dickinson in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama on Friday when he posted the quickest lap at VIRginia International Raceway ahead of Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2020 season.
In the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup Porsche 991, Dickinson’s time of 1 minute, 48.228 seconds (108.770 mph) came in the morning practice, which ultimately became a critical session for teams. The afternoon practice was plagued by rain, with most teams choosing not to turn laps.
After winning the second race of the Road America doubleheader three weeks ago, Dickinson – the 2020 Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship recipient – is tied atop the point standings with Jeff Kingsley. Driving the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche, Kingsley clocked in second on the charts Friday just 0.28 seconds behind Dickinson. They both compete in the Platinum Cup class, for current-generation 911 GT3 Cup race cars.
After sweeping the Road America races in the Platinum Masters class, Alan Metni leads the way again at VIR among drivers 45 years and older, driving the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche. Metni was one of just two drivers to run in Practice 2 at VIR, along with Kenny Murillo, making his series debut this weekend in the No. 56 Topp Racing Porsche.
In the Gold Cup class for cars built between 2014 and 2016, Curt Swearingin was fastest with a time of 1:52.325 (104.802 mph) in the No. 17 Porsche for ACI Motorsports, also following up a strong performance at Road America that included a Round 2 victory.
The first race of the weekend for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama concludes on-track activity on Saturday, with a green-flag time of 5:10 p.m. ET and a checkered flag 45 minutes later. On Sunday, the race is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. Both races stream live on IMSA.com with IMSA Radio commentary.
Gdovic, Lamelas Top Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Practice Chart
Brandon Gdovic and Leo Lamelas are focused on moving to the top of the podium in their respective classes of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America championship this weekend at VIRginia International Raceway. Both drivers took a step in that direction during practice on Friday.
The VIR doubleheader constitutes the second of five rounds on the 2020 calendar. In the opening round three weeks ago at Road America in Wisconsin, Gdovic collected a pair of third-place finishes overall in the Pro class. Lamelas registered results of third and second in ProAm.
On Friday at VIR, Gdovic was fastest overall in the morning practice with a lap of one minute, 46.533 seconds (110.500 mph) in the No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO. Lamelas, in the No. 24 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Westlake Huracán, led his class and was second overall at 1:46.672 (110.356 mph).
The afternoon practice was hindered by wet conditions around the 3.27-mile natural-terrain circuit. Only four cars logged timed laps. The best, by Sergio Jimenez in the No. 13 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward entry, was 19 seconds slower than Gdovic’s morning pacesetter in dry conditions.
Sydney McKee impressed in the opening practice, leading LB Cup and landing eighth overall of the 16 competitors with a lap of 1:53.400 (103.809 mph) in the No. 87 Prestige Performance with Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus Huracán. Making his season debut, Lance Willsey led the Am class at 1:53.509 (103.709 mph) driving the No. 53 Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Greenwich car.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America action continues with back-to-back qualifying sessions at 8 and 8:20 a.m. ET Saturday. Race 1 rolls off at 11:50 a.m. Saturday, with Race 2 at 12:55 p.m. Sunday. Both races stream live on IMSA.tv accompanied by IMSA Radio commentary.