Endurance Racing

Back to the Bumps – Toyota top in first WEC free practice

Toyota #8 at WEC Sebring Test Day
Photo Credit: Toyota Motorsport GmbH

Super Sebring kicked off in earnest today as the World Endurance Championship returned to the Bumps for the first time since 2012. Toyota and Aston Martin drew first blood in free practice.

More than 70 cars and over 200 drivers have descended on Florida’s Sebring International Raceway for an endurance racing fiesta as both the World Endurance Championship and IMSA’s Weathertech Sportscar Championship host races this weekend. Starting the action is the WEC, with their 1000 Miles of Sebring on Friday, followed less than 11 hours later by IMSA’s 12 Hours of Sebring – a real treat for any endurance racing fan.

The first free practice session for the WEC has just concluded, and Toyota find themselves at the top of the board, continuing their success at the championship’s test days last week. The #7 was the quickest of the two Japanese entrants during testing, but it was the #8 crew who came out in front for FP1 with a 1:41.957. Behind the Toyotas came the two Rebellions, the two SMP Racing BR1s and finally the #10 Dragonspeed. ByKolles have withdrawn for this round of the championship, but are aiming to be back for the next round at Spa.

Top honours in LMP2 for FP1 went to the #29 Racing Team Nederland crew of Frits van Eerd, Giedo van der Garde and Nyck de Vries. A 1:47.835 put the Dallara ahead of the Orecas of Signatech Alpine Matmut and TDS Racing, both of whom ran quickest in one of the pre-Sebring test sessions. The lone Ligier JSP217 of Larbe Competition found itself at the bottom of the timing sheets.

Ford ran brilliantly during the pre-Sebring test, with the #67 topping the times in three of the four sessions. That form looked set to continue as Harry Tincknell ran quickly early in the session, but the #67 was beaten to the punch by the #97 Aston Martin of Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn. The two factory Porsche 911 RSRs followed in 3rd and 4th ahead of Darren Turner, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen’s sister Aston Martin and the second Ford GT. The BMW M8 GTEs both finished ahead of the two AF Corse Ferraris and the new-for-this-race entry of Corvette Racing.

Before we discuss who was quickest in GTE Am, it’s worth mentioning that Team Project 1 took delivery of a brand new car just hours before scrutineering opened this morning. It’s a mammoth effort from the team to have the car ready for scrutineering, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they progress through the coming sessions. Top of the times in GTE Am, however, went to Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage. The trio finished ahead of both Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsches.

Free Practice Two kicks off at 19.45 Florida time, or 23.45 for those in the UK!

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