Porsche Penske Motorsport posted the top time in the first practice session for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday. Matt Campbell turned a 1m15.184s lap in the No. 7 Porsche 963, an average of 116.79mph around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.
“It’s the boss’s race rack, so high expectation this weekend to be able to perform very well and try and get a good result here, especially going on from our recent race in Road America,” Campbell said. “But generally, our car was quite good; we struggled a little bit at the start of the session but then towards the end we were reasonably happy, or somewhere close to it. Track is difficult – traffic is very busy out there as expected, but just goes to show, I think, how much more difficult it will be to be able to manage it in the race.”
Campbell’s best was just a tick ahead of Filipe Albuquerque, who was only 0.022s off that top time in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06. Sebastien Bourdais was third in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R with a 1m15.4s lap. To make it all four marques in the top four, the BMWs occupied the next two spots, with Connor De Phillippi in the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL M Hybrid V8 besting teammate Philipp Eng in the No. 24.
Mikkel Jensen was quickest in LMP2, posting a 1m17.231s lap in the No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA, with Ryan Dalziel 0.055s off in the No. 18 Era Motorsport entry. Dalziel’s best lap was just enough to claim second in the session – Ben Hanley’s best in the No. 01 Crowdstrike Racing by APR was only 0.001s slower.
Garett Grist, sharing the No. 30 Jr III Racing this weekend with Nolan Siegel instead of Ari Balogh, was quickest in LMP3 with a 1m20.737s lap. Matthew Campbell was second-quickest at 1m20.799s in the No. 13 AWA Duqueine, followed by Guilherme de Olivera in the No. 29 Jr III Racing Ligier, 0.437s back.
Jack Hawksworth, leading the GTD PRO points with Ben Barnicoat, topped the session for both GTD PRO and GTD overall, turning a 1m23.636 lap (104.98mph) in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
Hawksworth and the No.14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus team set the early weekend benchmark in GTD PRO. Michael Levitt/Motorsport Images
“Towards the end there we put some new tires on and tried to get a feel and understanding of where the car’s at going into tomorrow,” explained Hawksworth.
“It’s really difficult to read too much into any of the lap times from anybody in that session. But it was more to get an idea of where the balance is at and then any adjustments we need to make for tomorrow afternoon. Tomorrow’s practice session is pretty early in the morning, so what we had just there is probably a little bit more representative of what we’re going to have in qualifying and in the race. So it was an important session and I felt like we were in reasonable shape.”
Klaus Bachler was second in GTD PRO in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with a 1m24.221s lap, fourth GT driver overall as the rest of the GTD PRO cars were sprinkled through the field. Jules Gounon was third, nearly a second off Hawksworth’s time in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG.
Patrick Gallagher led GTD in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3, posting a 1m24.019s lap. Loris Spinelli was 0.123s off Gallagher in the No. 78 Forte Racing Powered by US RaceTronics Lamborghini Huracan, with Russell Ward third at 1m24.235s in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes AMG. Mikael Grenier (No. 32 Korthoff/Preston Motorsports Mercedes AMG) and Trent Hindman (No. 77 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R) completed the top five in GTD.
The 90-minute session was interrupted by two red flags, the first for Alan Brynjolfsson getting stuck in the gravel in the No. 77 Porsche, and another for Jarett Andretti’s No. 94 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, which slowed on the front straight, spitting flames out the right-side exhaust before coming to a stop at Turn 7.
UP NEXT: A 1h45m split practice session beginning at 8:55am ET on Saturday.