On a damp and drying track, under cloudy, overcast skies, neither the prototypes nor GT cars reached their potential in the opening practice of both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season and the Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend.
Times were not entirely representative with GT cars 10 to 15 seconds roughly off their projected pace, and prototypes similarly 15 to 18 seconds off their pace.
GT Le Mans cars led the way for most of the session, before Ozz Negri restored a bit of order with a 1:54.807 in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda.
GTLM cars were next up in the timesheets, from second through ninth overall.
One of the new Ferrari 488 GTEs was fastest, with Risi Competizione’s Toni Vilander putting the just-assembled No. 62 car to second on the overall timesheets at 1:55.078.
Porsche, with its revised and updated No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, was second in class at 1:55.267 driven by Fred Makowiecki.
The No. 72 SMP Racing Ferrari was third, in the hands of James Calado, at 1:55.428.
The No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, No. 4 Corvette C7.R and No. 911 Porsche completed the top six.
The first of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs and the second Corvette were seventh and eighth.
SMP Racing was second in the Prototype class with its No. 37 BR Engineering BR01 Nissan, with Mikhail Aleshin setting the car’s best time of 1:56.333.
Mazda was third with its No. 55 Mazda Prototype at 1:56.691, and the fastest of the Daytona Prototype-spec cars was the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP at 1:56.726 with Ryan Dalziel driving.
BAR1 Motorsports was first and second in Prototype Challenge, with Ryan Lewis best at 2:00.221 in the No. 26 Oreca FLM09. Only four of the eight cars took times.
In GT Daytona, several cars alternated atop the timesheets before Matt McMurry set the ultimate best time of the session at 2:02.249 in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R and No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 were second and third, at 2:02.281 and 2:03.078, respectively.
The No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 and No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS completed the top five.
An accident for the No. 16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 brought the session to a premature end about five minutes before the scheduled checkered flag of 10:25 a.m.
A number of teams passed up the opportunity to run in this session, citing the poor track conditions.
Second practice runs from 1:20 to 1:50 p.m. ET and local time.
RESULTS: Practice 1