FERNANDEZ FASTEST FOR ASTON MARTIN AT LONG BEACH Defending P2 race-winner quickest among combined LMP runners The confines of the historic Long Beach circuit proved friendly again for Adrian Fernandez. The Mexican star and veteran of 16...
FERNANDEZ FASTEST FOR ASTON MARTIN AT LONG BEACH
Defending P2 race-winner quickest among combined LMP runners
The confines of the historic Long Beach circuit proved friendly again for Adrian Fernandez. The Mexican star and veteran of 16 open-wheel and sports car races turned the fastest time in Friday morning's opening practice for the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. He drove the Aston Martin Racing Lola-Aston Martin prototype coupe to a quick lap of 1:15.112 (94.323 mph) around the 1.968-mile, 11-turn circuit.
Fernandez, last year's LMP2 race-winner, is driving with Harold Primat in the first Long Beach race for the Lola-Aston Martin. Coming into the weekend, the team was unsure how the big prototype would handle the tight turns; the answer was to run as much downforce as possible.
Fernandez finished 1.082 seconds quicker than Simon Pagenaud in Patrón Highcroft Racing's HPD ARX-01c. The young Frenchman won last year's race with Gil de Ferran, who beat David Brabham - now Pagenaud's teammate.
Guy Smith finished third in the combined LMP class for Dyson Racing in the Mazda-powered Lola that he will drive with Chris Dyson. Smith's best time was a 1:16.482 (92.634 mph).
Gunnar Jeannette threw down a quick last lap of the session to go fastest in LMPC for G-Oil's Green Earth Team Gunnar. Jeannette, second in class at Sebring with teammate Elton Julian and Christian Zugel, went around in 1:18.333 (90.445 mph). His fastest lap was 0.294 seconds better than Johnny Mowlem, who briefly had the class' fastest time in the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry before Jeannette's late flyer.
Level 5 Motorsports' Christophe Bouchut was third in class at 1:19.100 (89.568 mph).
Corvette Racing's Jan Magnussen was fastest in GT with a lap of 1:21.895 (86.511 mph) in the Corvette C6.R that he will share with Johnny O'Connell. The top eight cars in class were within 0.59 seconds with Gimmi Bruni only 0.008 seconds back in Risi Competizione's Ferrari F430 GT that he'll drive with Jaime Melo.
Scott Sharp sat third in Extreme Speed Motorsports' Ferrari that he is sharing with Johannes van Overbeek. Sharp's best lap was a 1:22.074 (86.322 mph) in the car's first session following a late-race fire at Sebring that destroyed the rear bodywork and a few minor components at the rear of the car.
Former LMP2 Le Mans winner Jeroen Bleekemolen went quickest in GT Challenge for Black Swan Racing, making its return to the Series albeit in a new class with a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Bleekemolen's best lap of 1:24.207 (84.136 mph) was good enough for a 0.847-second gap back to the first of Alex Job Racing's three GTC entries of Romeo Kapudija and Bill Sweedler.
The day's second practice session is set for 5 p.m. PT.