Watkins Glen IMSA: Blomqvist puts MSR Acura on top in FP1

First practice for IMSA’s illustrious Sahlen’s 6 Hours of The Glen ended with Tom Blomqvist topping the times around the gorgeous 3.4-mile Watkins Glen road course.

Watkins Glen IMSA: Blomqvist puts MSR Acura on top in FP1
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There was a red flag within three minutes of the start of the session when the Winward Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 stopped at Turn 3 before continuing under its own power, and during the brief stoppage it was extended as a result of Ryan Dalziel’s Era Motorsport LMP2 car stopping at Turn 4.

Just past the quarter-hour mark, the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.Rs of Sebastien Bourdais and Alex Lynn sat 1-2 at the top of the times, on 1min32.4sec laps, just 0.004sec apart, despite Lynn having a lap invalidated for a track limits violation. Then Bourdais trimmed a further three tenths off his lap. While the CGR cars sat in the pits, Pipo Derani moved the Action Express Racing #31 Whelen Engineering Caddy to the top of the pile, one tenth faster than Bourdais andwell over half a second faster than the quickest Acura ARX-05 at this stage, the Wayne Taylor Racing machine of Ricky Taylor.

Tom Blomqvist then put everyone into perspective with a remarkable 1min32.217sec to go quickest by almost 0.8sec in the Meyer Shank Racing Acura, before Taylor made it an Acura 1-2, albeit seven tenths off Blomqvist’s best. That left a gap that Bourdais plugged in the #01 Cadillac, 0.49sec from top spot.

The red flag had to fly again with 37mins to go when Wayne Boyd, late third man for the Forty7 Motorsports team, had his LMP3 car die on him and needed rescuing. Five minutes after the green flag flew, there was another red when Performance Tech Motorsports’ LMP3 car driven by Dan Goldburg stopped at Turn 10.

Some 44 of the 48 entries then left the pits with 22mins remaining, but somehow Bourdais’ co-driver Renger van der Zande found enough space to trim the deficit to the MSR Acura down to 0.322sec and pull over 0.35sec clear of WTR’s Acura.

However, with 5 minutes remaining, the MLT Motorsports LMP3 car driven by Tyler Maxson went straight on at Turn 7 and into the tires, ending the 90min session slightly early.

Behind the top three, Derani was fourth in the AXR #31 he’ll share with Olivier Pla and Mike Conway this weekend, while Earl Bamber in the #02 Cadillac was fifth ahead of Tristan Vautier’s JDC Miller Motorsports Cadillac. The second AXR car being shared by Jimmie Johnson, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike ROckenfeller ended up with a best time that left it behind five LMP2 cars.

The LMP2 class saw PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports shining as ever, Mikkel Jensen and Jonathan Bomarito separated by 0.7sec and the Tower Motorsports car of Louis Deletraz. DragonSpeed’s first IMSA session since Sebring saw the Henrik Hedman/Juan Pablo Montoya/Sebastian Montoya-shared car end the day fifth in class, 1.2sec off the best in class.

Colin Braun drove the CORE autosport car to the top of LMP3, 0.7sec faster than Garett Grist of Jr III Racing’s similar Ligier JS P320 and Dakota Dickerson in the now-crunched MLT machine.

Dirk Muller in the Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 led the GTD class by a mere 0.028sec in front of the highly impressive Andy Lally in Magnus Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage, and only 0.073sec ahead of Frankie Montecalvo’s #12 Lexus RC F run by Vasser Sullivan Racing.

Luis Perez Companc in the AF Corse Ferrari 488 was fourth, and this quartet was quicker than the top GTD Pro class car, the Aston Martin of Heart of Racing, driven to its quickest lap by Alex Riberas. Daniel Serra was only 0.046sec in arrears, a strong return by Risi Competizione’s Ferrari 488.

Whatever the model of BMW down the years, they tend to go well at The Glen, so it was no surprise to see Bill Auberlen in the Turner Motorsports BMW M4 slot into fifth in GTD, ahead of the Cetilar Racing Ferrari of Antonio Fuoco, and Jan Heylen in the Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Augusto Farfus claimed third in GTD Pro driving the works BMW M4 run by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, ahead of Ben Barnicoat in the second Lexus and the WeatherTech Racing Mercedes of Maro Engel.

If Corvette Racing is to avenge its bitter luck at the 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago, there is some work to do, judging by the #3 C8.R’s pace around The Glen in this session. The car to be shared by Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor was seventh and last of the GTD Pro cars, ahead of only five of the 16 GTD cars, and 0.75sec behind Riberas’ Aston.

Second practice begins at 8.00am local (Eastern) time on Saturday.

Cla Driver Class Chassis Laps Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
DPi Acura DPi 28 1'31.217  
2 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
France Sébastien Bourdais
DPi Cadillac DPi 31 1'31.539 0.322
3 United States Ricky Taylor
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
DPi Acura DPi 37 1'31.918 0.701
4 France Olivier Pla
Brazil Pipo Derani
United Kingdom Mike Conway
DPi Cadillac DPi 34 1'32.006 0.789
5 New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
DPi Cadillac DPi 31 1'32.209 0.992
6 France Tristan Vautier
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
France Loic Duval
DPi Cadillac DPi 35 1'32.529 1.312
7 United States Ben Keating
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
United States Scott Huffaker
LMP2 ORECA LMP2 07 39 1'32.629 1.412
8 Canada John Farano
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Portugal Rui Andrade
LMP2 ORECA LMP2 07 36 1'33.072 1.855
9 United States Steven Thomas
United States Josh Pierson
United States Jonathan Bomarito
LMP2 ORECA LMP2 07 39 1'33.364 2.147
10 Denmark Dennis Andersen
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Switzerland Fabio Scherer
LMP2 ORECA LMP2 07 36 1'33.510 2.293
11 Sweden Henrik Hedman
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
Colombia Sebastian Montoya
LMP2 ORECA LMP2 07 36 1'33.824 2.607
12 Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
United States Jimmie Johnson
DPi Cadillac DPi 35 1'33.998 2.781
13 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
United States Dylan Murry
LMP2 ORECA LMP2 07 39 1'34.310 3.093
14 United States Jon Bennett
United States Colin Braun
United States George Kurtz
LMP3 Ligier JS P320 36 1'39.789 8.572
15 United States Ari Balogh
Canada Garett Grist
Nolan Siegel
LMP3 Ligier JS P320 32 1'40.489 9.272
16 United States Dakota Dickerson
Josh Sarchet
Tyler Maxson
LMP3 Ligier JS P320 31 1'40.618 9.401
17 Nico Varrone
United States Max Hanratty
Canada James Vance
LMP3 Duqueine D08 24 1'40.821 9.604
18 United States Jarett Andretti
Josh Burdon
Colombia Gabby Chaves
LMP3 Ligier JS P320 29 1'41.014 9.797
19 United States Dwight Merriman
United Kingdom Kyle Tilley
United Kingdom Ryan Dalziel
LMP2 ORECA LMP2 07 11 1'41.116 9.899
20 Portugal Joao Barbosa
Malthe Jakobsen
United States Lance Willsey
LMP3 Ligier JS P320 35 1'41.166 9.949
21 United States Gar Robinson
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Netherlands Kay van Berlo
LMP3 Ligier JS P320 29 1'41.610 10.393
22 Canada Orey Fidani
Canada Kyle Marcelli
Germany Lars Kern
LMP3 Duqueine D08 38 1'42.221 11.004
23 Canada Anthony Mantella
United Kingdom Matthew Bell
United Kingdom Wayne Boyd
LMP3 Duqueine D08 31 1'42.594 11.377
24 Daniel Goldburg
Sweden Rasmus Lindh
Australia Cameron Shields
LMP3 Ligier JS P320 33 1'42.775 11.558
25 Ugo De
Danny Formal
United States Dillon Machavern
LMP3 Duqueine D08 32 1'43.450 12.233
26 United States Mike Skeen
United Kingdom Stevan McAleer
Germany Dirk Muller
GTD Mercedes AMG GT3 35 1'46.197 14.980
27 United States John Potter
United States Andy Lally
United States Spencer Pumpelly
GTD Aston Martin Vantage GT3 8 1'46.225 15.008
28 United States Frankie Montecalvo
United States Aaron Telitz
United States Richard Heistand
GTD Lexus RC F GT3 31 1'46.270 15.053
29 France Simon Mann
Argentina Luis Perez Companc
Finland Toni Vilander
GTD Ferrari 488 GT3 33 1'46.335 15.118
30 United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Spain Alex Riberas
GTD PRO Aston Martin Vantage GT3 31 1'46.356 15.139
31 Brazil Daniel Serra
Italy Davide Rigon
GTD PRO Ferrari 488 GT3 31 1'46.402 15.185
32 United States Robby Foley
United States Bill Auberlen
Michael Dinan
GTD BMW M4 GT3 29 1'46.450 15.233
33 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Antonio Fuoco
GTD Ferrari 488 GT3 34 1'46.460 15.243
34 United States Ryan Hardwick
Canada Zacharie Robichon
Belgium Jan Heylen
GTD Porsche 911 GT3 R 33 1'46.478 15.261
35 United States Russell Ward
Switzerland Philip Ellis
Germany Marvin Dienst
GTD Mercedes AMG GT3 37 1'46.495 15.278
36 United States Bryan Sellers
United States Madison Snow
Sweden Erik Johansson
GTD BMW M4 GT3 29 1'46.527 15.310
37 Kyffin Simpson
United States Till Bechtolsheimer
Germany Mario Farnbacher
GTD Acura NSX GT3 31 1'46.588 15.371
38 United States Connor de Phillippi
United States John Edwards
Brazil Augusto Farfus
GTD PRO BMW M4 GT3 22 1'46.658 15.441
39 United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
United States Kyle Kirkwood
GTD PRO Lexus RC F GT3 19 1'46.810 15.593
40 United States Cooper MacNeil
Germany Maro Engel
Canada Mikael Grenier
GTD PRO Mercedes AMG GT3 34 1'46.872 15.655
41 Canada Roman De Angelis
Belgium Maxime Martin
United Kingdom Ian James
GTD Aston Martin Vantage GT3 35 1'46.885 15.668
42 Australia Matt Campbell
France Mathieu Jaminet
GTD PRO Porsche 911 GT3 R 28 1'47.055 15.838
43 Spain Antonio Garcia
United States Jordan Taylor
GTD PRO Corvette C8.R GTD 25 1'47.104 15.887
44 United States Robert Megennis
United States Corey Lewis
United States Jeff Westphal
GTD Lamborghini Huracan GT3 27 1'47.490 16.273
45 United States Jaden Conwright
Marco Holzer
United States Don Yount
GTD Lamborghini Huracan GT3 28 1'47.633 16.416
46 United States Brendan Iribe
United Kingdom Ollie Millroy
South Africa Jordan Lee Pepper
GTD McLaren 720S GT3 35 1'47.719 16.502
47 United States Rob Ferriol
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
United Kingdom Stefan Wilson
GTD Porsche 911 GT3 R 32 1'48.151 16.934
48 Jon Miller
United States Paul Holton
United States Patrick Gallagher
GTD McLaren 720S GT3 31 1'48.746 17.529
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