Sebastien Bourdais set the fastest lap in the first two sessions of Thursday practice at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. (IMSA photo)
BRASELTON, Ga. – The fastest lap of the first three hours of practice before the championship-deciding race went to a team that is not involved in the battle, but still has a point.
Sebastien Bourdais’ late lap was fastest on Thursday in the second of two day practice sessions in preparation for the 25th Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. A third 90-minute session was scheduled for Thursday evening.
In the #1 Cadillac Racing Cadillac DPi-VR shared with Renger van der Zande and Scott Dixon this weekend, Bourdais was clocked at 1 minute, 9.040 seconds around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit.
That sparked a discussion in the pits between the three drivers about how their Cadillac handled as Bourdais prepares to qualify the car on Friday and Van der Zande gears up for the final stint of Saturday’s 10-hour race. The No. 01 Cadillac won this season at Long Beach, Detroit and the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, but enters Petit 152 points behind the leaders.
“We wanted to go for the championship, but we had too many problems and took ourselves out of the chase for the championship, which is a real shame,” said Bourdais. “This car was fast and should have been a contender for the championship.”
Instead, the championship is on two Acuras.
The #10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 co-driven by Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley leads the #60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 shared by Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves by 19 points.
In all likelihood, the Acura, which finishes best in the season finale of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday, will claim the last title for the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class before being replaced by the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) in 2023. class.
Blomqvist had the number 60 seconds of fastest during the first two practices, while the number 10 finished seventh with Taylor behind the wheel.
Meanwhile, Louis Deletraz had the fastest lap (1:11.320) in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA LMP2 07, he drives with John Farano and Rui Pinto de Andrade. Farano is the LMP2 points leader with 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel in the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA.
Kay van Berlo was fastest (1:15.569) in Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 P320 which he drives with Gar Robinson and Felipe Fraga. Jack Hawksworth was fastest in the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 (1:18.912) he drives Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood.
Bryan Sellers set the fastest lap (1:19.500) in Grand Touring Daytona (GTD), in the Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 which he shares with Madison Snow and Erik Johansson.
Qualifying starts on Friday at 3:35 PM ET. Forty-three cars are entered in the five classes competing.