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Mazda Quickest in Opening Practice at Long Beach

Jonathan Bomarito paces Friday’s opening practice at Long Beach…

Photo: Brian Cleary

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Jonathan Bomarito and Mazda paced Friday’s opening practice session for tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race on the streets of Long Beach, setting the tone for a hopeful breakthrough weekend.

Bomarito turned a top lap time of 1:15.917 halfway through the two-hour session in the No. 55 Mazda Prototype he co-drives with Tristan Nunez.

Defending Long Beach race winners, Ricky and Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP, were second fastest in the Prototype class.

Jordan Taylor was the only other driver to lap in the one-minute and 15-second range, clocking in at 1:15.956, a scant .039 of a second behind Bomarito.

The similar No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP was third fastest in the P class with Ryan Hunter-Reay lapping at 1:16.228.

Hunter-Reay is pulling double duty this weekend, filling in for Ryan Dalziel in the No. 90 in addition to wheeling his IndyCar in Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Joel Miller was fourth quickest in the No. 70 Mazda Prototype, putting a pair of the SpeedSource-prepared machines in the top-five.

Dane Cameron, who was quickest for the majority of the session’s first hour, completed the top five in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.

Colin Braun was quickest in PC in the No. 54 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM09, out-pacing the field by half a second with a top time of 1:17.185.

Renger van der Zande was second fastest in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport entry and Tom Kimber-Smith was third in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen car.

Oliver Gavin, meanwhile, was fastest in GTLM in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R with a lap time of 1:18.553.

He was joined in the GTLM top three by Lucas Luhr in the No. 100 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R.

The session was cut short eight minutes early when the No. 67 Ford GT, which had run as high as third in GTLM, caught fire.

Richard Westbrook pulled the car to a stop on course and, after exiting unscathed, extinguished the engine compartment blaze himself after grabbing an extinguisher from a corner station.

Practice 2 is set for 5 p.m. PT, followed immediately by qualifying.

RESULTS: Practice 1

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