SEBRING, Fla.—Open-wheel drivers are schooling the sports car pilots at Sebring—IndyCar stars were quickest in both Thursday practice sessions for the Tudor United Sportscar Championship 62nd Mobil 1 Sebing 12 Hours.
IndyCar champion Scott Dixon was quickest in the first practice session, and Justin Wilson, or CART and IndyCar fame, topped the timesheets in the afternoon.
Wilson, driving the #60 Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford, completed the 17-turn lap of the 3.74-mile course in 1:53.621—not quite as quick as Dixon’s time of 1:52.357, but the warmer af contestternoon temperatures probably robbed the engines of a few horsepower.
Max Angelelli in the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Dallara-Corvette was second in the session, three-tenths behind Wilson, while Klaus Graf in the #6 Muscle Milk/Pickett Racing Oreca-Nissan was third quickest (and the quickest P2) another three-tenths back.
GT Le Mans was a Ferrari-Corvette in the morning; in the afternoon session, the battle was between Corvette and Porsche. Porsche came out on top: Michael Christensen in the #912 Porsche North America RSR lapped at 2:00.289—again, slower than the morning’s times by about a second.
Corvette came within 0.06 of winning the fight: Oliver Gavin in the #4 Corvette was second quickest with a lap at 2:00.349.
BMW made it a three-way fight: Joey Hand hustled the # 55 BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE around the course in 2:00.544, three -tenths behind the leader.
Another IndyCar driver, though in this case an ex- IndyCar driver, was quickest in Prototype Challenge. Raphael Matos turned in a lp of 1:58.239 in the #38 Performance Tech Oreca-Chevrolet, nine-tenths of a second quicker than Duncan Ende in the #09 RSR Racing Oreca, who was barely ahead—by only 0.047 seconds—or former PC champ Gunnar Jeannette in the #51 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car.
Porsche dominated GT-Daytona, with Hugh Plumb in the #13 Rum Bum/Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America. Plumb’s lap of 2:04.307 was two-tenths quicker than Andy Lallty’s best effort of 2:04.497 in the #44 Magnus Racing Porsche. Ben Keating and the Bleekemolen brothers kept Porsche from sweeping the top six by powering their V10-engined #33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R around the track in 2:04.733, a quarter of a second slower than the Magnus Porsche.
The TUSC cars have one more practice session Friday morning before qualifying Friday afternoon. The TUSC 62nd Sebring 12 Hours starts at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, March 15.