Luhr, Magnussen top ultra-close first practice.
LAKEVILLE, Conn. (July 6, 2012) – Lap times were incredibly close in the first practice session for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. The race is Round Four of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. Muscle Milk Pickett Racing’s Lucas Luhr set the quickest time overall and in P1, while Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen set the fastest GT lap.
Beautiful weather, and the short and quick Lime Rock circuit created conditions for ultra-close lap Friday morning. This included the P1 class where Muscle Milk Pickett Racing and Dyson Racing pilots swapped fast laps over the course of the category’s 90 minutes of track time. Luhr came out on top of the battle with a lap of 45.689 (116.142 mph) in the No. 6 Honda Performance Development ARX-03a. Guy Smith’s best effort for Dyson Racing was only 0.04 seconds off; the Brit clocked a 45.724 (116.053 mph) in the Mazda-powered No. 16 Lola B12/60. Eric Lux was third in Dyson’s second car. Lux turned a 47.847 (110.904 mph) in the No. 20 Lola B11/66 Mazda.
The P2 category is shaping up to be quite the showdown. Conquest Endurance matched and even exceeded the pace of defending champion and current points leader Level 5 Motorsports. Martin Plowman entered the quickest time in the category, a 47.711 (111.220 mph) in the No. 37 Morgan-Nissan. The time was quick enough for third overall on the practice sheet. Level 5’s Christophe Bouchut was second in the order with a 47.890 (110.804 mph) in the No. 055 HPD ARX-03b. The team’s sister car, the No. 95 HPD ARX-03b, with Scott Tucker behind the wheel, was third quickest in class. Tucker’s time was a 48.851 (108.624 mph).
Less than a half- second separated the top six cars in the GT field, and the top 10 were within a full second. Corvette Racing led the way with Magnussen turning a 51.430 (103.177 mph) in the No. 3 Corvette C6 ZR1. Magnussen will make his 100th ALMS start on Saturday. He was followed by BMW Team RLL’s Bill Auberlen – another driver making his 100th start – who entered a 51.698 (102.642 mph) in the No. 55 BMW M3 GT. BMW’s sister car, the No. 56 driven by Dirk Mueller was third after turning a 51.740 (102.559 mph).
Current Prototype Challenge point leader CORE autosport topped the category in practice. Tom Kimber-Smith clocked a 48.131 (110.249 mph) in the No.06 ORECA FLM09. He was followed in the practice order by Merchant Service’s Kyle Marcelli, who turned a 48.519 (109.367 mph) in the No. 8 ORECA FLM09. Butch Leitzinger was third; the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports pilot entered a 48.950 (108.404 mph) in the team’s No. 52 ORECA FLM09.
Michael Valiente scored the fastest GT Challenge lap of the day for JDX Racing, a 55.294 (95.967 mph). Unfortunately for the team, a mechanical issue on the No. 11 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup sent co-driver Chris Cumming into the guardrail in Turn Eight before the session ended. Damien Faulkner set the second fastest GTC time of the session, a 55.397 (95.789 mph), in the Green Hornet Racing No. 34 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup . Leh Keen completed the top three in Alex Job Racing’s No. 22 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Keen’s quick lap was a 55.477 (95.650 mph).