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Sebring 12h: JDC-Miller Oreca tops first practice

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Sebring 12h: JDC-Miller Oreca tops first practice
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Mar 16, 2017, 4:58 PM

Stephen Simpson nailed fastest time in this morning’s opening practice for the 2017 Sebring 12 Hours, lapping the 3.74-mile course just 0.041sec than the fastest of the Cadillacs.

#70 Mazda Motorsports Mazda Prototype: Joel Miller, Tom Long, Marino Franchitti
#67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT: Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Scott Dixon
#31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi: Eric Curran, Dane Cameron, Mike Conway
#912 Porsche Team North America Porsche 911 RSR: Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor, Richard Lietz
#5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi: Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Filipe Albuquerque
#31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi: Eric Curran, Dane Cameron, Mike Conway
#62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE: Toni Vilander, James Calado, Juan Pablo Montoya
#3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R: Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller

Joel Miller in the Mazda DPi-RT24P set fastest time on his fifth lap before ducking into the pits with his brakes on fire, before teammate Jonathan Bomarito went to P1 with a 1min50.417sec lap to make a Mazda 1-2.

This situation lasted only briefly before Jose Gutierrez in the #52 Ligier of PR1/Mathiasen Motorsport split the Mazdas with a time just 0.003sec slower than Bomarito’s best, then improved upon it.

However, Christian Fittipaldi then clocked a 1min50.027 lap on his 10th tour of the track in the #5 Action Express Cadillac DPi-V.R, but Stephen Simpson took P1 nudged the bar still higher in the JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA, clipping 0.041sec from Fittipaldi’s best. Right after, a red flag flew for Robert Alon stranded out on circuit in one of the 3GT Racing Lexus RC Fs from the GT Daytona category.

A late surge from Mike Conway put the #31 Action Express Cadillac in third, just 0.092sec off the sister Cadillac, bumping Gutierrez down to fourth, and Bomarito and Miller down to fifth and sixth in the Mazdas.

Alex Lynn was seventh, 1.5sec off the top spot, in his first official practice session with the Rolex 24-winning Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac, with Renger Van der Zande eighth in the Visit Florida Racing Multimatic Riley XXX and Neel Jani ninth in Rebellion Racing’s Oreca.

In GT Le Mans, the three Ford GTs of Ryan Briscoe, Joey Hand and Billy Johnson ran 1-2-3 in the first half of the one-hour session, but although Scott Dixon and Stefan Mucke would improve the times of the #67 and #68 cars respectively, they couldn’t prevent Frederic Makowiecki narrowly edging top spot in the Porsche 911 RSR with a 1min57.109sec lap. Dixon held onto second, 0.15sec faster than Hand’s #66 Ford, with fourth going to the second Porsche, piloted by Laurens Vanthoor. Mucke wound up fifth for Ford, while Toni Vilander’s best in the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 was sixth but a full second away from top spot. Next up were the two Corvette C7.Rs of Antonio Garcia and Tommy Milner.

In GT Daytona, Bryan Sellers produced his customarily excellent job to put the Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan top… albeit by less than 0.01sec! Second fastest was Lawson Aschenbach in the Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS, ahead of the similar car of Land-Motorsport, driven by Connor De Phillippi.

Despite its earlier stoppage the handsome #15 Lexus, piloted by ex-IndyCar driver Jack Hawksworth, was fourth fastest, with Jens Klingmann fifth in the Turner Motorsports #96 BMW M6, and Jeroen Bleekemolen sixth in Riley Motorsports’ Mercedes AMG GT3.

Prototype Challenge was led by rising Mazda Road To Indy ace, Pato O’Ward, wheeling the Performance Tech Motorsports machine to a 1min55.172sec lap, 2.6sec quicker than Chapman Ducote in the BAR1 Motorsports entry.

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Sebring 12h: Cadillac 1-2-3 in second practice

Sebring 12h: Cadillac 1-2-3 in second practice
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