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Shank Quickest at Sebring Test

Olivier Pla takes MSR Ligier JS P2 Honda to top in Sebring test…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Photo: Brian Cleary/

While it was the pair of Action Express Racing Corvette DPs that led the way on Thursday, Michael Shank Racing’s Ligier JS P2 Honda topped the time charts on Friday and ended as the quickest overall of the two-day official IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship test at Sebring.

A 1:51.546 lap time set by Olivier Pla in Friday morning’s session edged out the debuting DragonSpeed Oreca 05 Nissan of Nicolas Lapierre by 0.115 seconds, which ended the test second quickest overall, in a P2 sweep of the top two positions.

Pla and co-drivers Ozz Negri and John Pew head into next month’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring looking to rebound after engine failure took them out of the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona while in the lead.

“We’re making progress and we’re happy with the test,” Pla said. “Yesterday the car was a little hard to drive, so we made it a little bit more comfortable. We still have work to do, but we’re getting there.”

The Elton Julian-led DragonSpeed squad, meanwhile, impressed in its first official outing with its new prototype, with Lapierre, Nic Minassian and Henrik Hedman collecting significant mileage ahead of the car’s WeatherTech Championship race debut next month.

The No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP of Ryan Dalziel and Marc Goossens was third overall with a 1:51.672 lap time, also set Friday morning, followed by the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP in fourth.

Christian Fittipaldi led Friday’s final session with a 1:51.989 lap time, which was two-tenths slower than the best time recorded by the car in the morning.

A late improvement by Ricky Taylor saw the Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP complete the top-five overall on the combined time sheets.

Prototype Challenge was led by CORE autosport in all four sessions, with a 1:53.888 lap set by Colin Braun on Thursday holding as the quickest of the test.

The five-time class champions were among the teams testing an upgraded engine and new ECU package, which will debut on all Oreca FLM09s for the race next month.

Braun’s time was 0.864 seconds quicker than the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports entry of Kenton Koch, which was also running the updates this week.

The No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM was quickest in GT Le Mans in all four sessions, with a 1:58.705 lap set by Dirk Werner on Friday afternoon being the best of the week for the Bobby Rahal-led crew.

Werner edged out the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE of Toni Vilander by just 0.065 seconds, with the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR completing the top-three in class.

Both of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs were unable to match the ultimate pace, ending the test seven-tenths slower than the pace-setting BMW.

In GT Daytona, it was Scuderia Corsa’s brand-new Ferrari 488 GT3 that led the way, thanks to Alessandro Balzan’s 2:01.342 lap time set on Friday morning.

The Italian edged out the No. 73 Park Place Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R by 0.173 seconds, with the No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche completing the top-three in class.

Dream Racing, which suffered a heavy accident on Thursday, returned to action with its spare Lamborghini Huracan GT3, posting the 13th quickest time in GTD.

Two GTLM cars ran into trouble in Friday’s sessions, with Patrick Pilet bringing out a red flag in the morning session in the No. 911 Porsche and Richard Westbrook having an off in the No. 67 Ford in the afternoon.

The Porsche returned to action later in the day, while the Ford sustained more significant damage.

RESULTS: Test Session 3
RESULTS: Test Session 4
RESULTS: Thursday/Friday Combined

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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