Once again, the wait is on for the teams and drivers of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, as the Onroak-designed Ligier JS P2 coupe prototypes ended the Roar Before the Rolex 24 tests at the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday exactly how they started them on Friday, at the top of the speed chart. After Michael Shank Racing’s Oswaldo Negri posted the fastest lap of the weekend on the 3.56 mile high bank oval and infield road course layout on Sunday morning. Tequila Patron ESM’s Pipo Derani bested the effort firing off a one minute, 39.249 second pass to top Negri’s run by one tenth of a second.
Despite the perceived domination by the Honda V-6 powered Ligiers, the Prototype class field is tightly bunched as evidenced by the timing charts from Sunday’s final two testing periods. Eight of the 13 entries in the division posted a lap under one minute and 40 seconds, with MSR and ESM joined upfront by the impressively quick pair of SpeedSource Mazda Lola Prototypes, featuring a brand-new two liter, gasoline powered turbo V-6 power plant. After struggling for pace at the back of the prototype grid for two seasons in IMSA with a diesel-based engine, the new horsepower maker appears to have brought Mazda into the conversation in terms of potential winners in three weeks time.
Russia’s SMP Racing team is also another dark horse, as Kirill Ladygin posted a sub 1:40 pass in the LMP-2 based BR Engineering designed coupe. In the conversation likewise is the unique DeltaWing coupe, which also posted sub 1:40 laps in two different sessions. However, while the P2-based cars have won the battle in testing this weekend, the Daytona Prototype may still be able to win the war in the race itself. The Chevrolet Corvette DPs belonging to Wayne Taylor Racing and Action Express Racing each posted laps in the 1:39 range on Sunday.
In Prototype Challenge, Starworks Motorsport’s Jack Hawksworth finally topped CORE autosport’s Mark Wilkins fast lap that was set in the very first session of the Roar tests on Friday. The IndyCar Series regular for AJ Foyt toured the 3.56 mile course on Sunday afternoon in one minute, 42.112 seconds, three tenths better than the CORE squad who elected to sit out the final session of the weekend. In addition to Daytona rookie Pipo Derani’s success in setting the overall fastest lap, two other newcomers also have emerged this weekend in PC. Starworks’ second car was third fastest in the division with Felix Rosenqvist at the controls, while German DTM regular Lucas Auer was fourth fastest on Sunday in the BAR1 Motorsport lead car.
In the GT Le Mans division, Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin was fastest on Sunday at one minute, 45.106 seconds, but not quite enough to top the 1:45 flat effort set Friday by BMW Team Rahal’s Lucas Luhr. In the final order after three days. BMW’s new M6 GTLM holds the first and third positions on the speed chart, with the Pratt & Miller-designed Corvette C7.R’s in second and fourth. Best of the rest in the division belongs to the all-new Ford GT of Chip Ganassi Racing as Dirk Mueller came within two tenths of the fastest time for the weekend.
Finally in GT Daytona, Porsche’s new 991 GT3-R was the top dog in a Saturday morning session dominated by speed. To put in perspective, the top 12 times on the overall speed list in the lower grand touring division, were all posted on Sunday. With GTD newcomer Lamborghini electing to only sparingly run its quartet of entrants, Alex Job Racing veteran Leh Keen stepped in to take away the best in class honors at one minute, 47.852 seconds. The Paul Miller Lamborghini of Bryan Sellers was second fastest, followed by the Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS of Lawson Aschenbach. Defending Rolex 24 GTD champions Riley Motorsports were fourth quick with their Dodge Viper GT3-R as Damien Faulkner posted the sub 1:48 pass.
Stay tuned to OnPitRoad.com for more coverage of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Final Top Ten Overall Fastest Times
- No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Ligier JS P2-Honda 1:39.249
- No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2-Honda 1:39.422
- No. 70 SpeedSource-Mazda Motorsports Lola B12/80-Mazda 1:39.528
- No. 37 SMP Racing BR01-Nissan LMP 1:39.899
- No. 55 SpeedSource-Mazda Motorsports Lola B12/80-Mazda 1:39.934
- No. 0 Panoz DeltaWing Raceing DeltaWing DWC13-Elan 1:39.955
- No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP 1:39.973
- No. 5 Action Express Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP 1:39.995
- No. 31 Action Express Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP 1:40.014
- No. 90 Visitflorida.com Racing Chevrolet Corvett DP 1:40.415
Prototype Challenge Fast Five
- No. 8 Starworks Motorsport 1:42.112
- No. 54 CORE autosport 1:42.423
- No. 88 Starworks Motorsport 1:42.458
- No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports 1:42.658
- No. 52 PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports 1:42.986
GT Le Mans Fast Five
- No. 100 BMW Team Rahal BMW M6 GTLM 1:45.088
- No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R 1:45.106
- No. 25 BMW Team Rahal BMW M6 GTLM 1:45.120
- No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R 1:45.124
- No. 66 Ford Performance Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT 1:45.248
GT Daytona Fast Five
- No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche GT-3R 1:47.852
- No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 1:47.881
- No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS 1:47.949
- No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R 1:47.960
- No. 30 Frikadelli Racing Porsche GT3-R 1:47.963