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Vanthoor Quickest in VIR Opening Practice

Championship-leading Porsche sets initial pace at VIR; Keating paces GTD in Mercedes…

Photo: Porsche

Laurens Vanthoor set Porsche on top of the timesheets in the opening practice session for this weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round at VIR.

The Belgian driver posted a time of 1:41.296 behind the wheel of the GT Le Mans points-leading No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR to beat his teammate Nick Tandy by 0.139 seconds.

This came despite Vanthoor having a brief trip through the grass after going off-track at the final right-hander.

The field of eight GTLM cars could be grouped into two-car blocks for each team, with the Chip Ganassi-run Ford GTs in third and fourth, ahead of the pairs of Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs and BMW M8 GTEs.

Third-quickest was Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford which took victory in the two most recent races at Lime Rock Park and Road America, while Dirk Mueller placed fourth.

Briscoe’s best time was 0.182 seconds off Vanthoor’s outright pace, while the best of the Corvette Racing drivers was Jan Magnussen, 0.366 seconds down in fifth position.

John Edwards, in the fastest Team RLL BMW, ended up nine-tenths shy of the top spot.

In GT Daytona, Ben Keating led the way in the No. 33 Riley-entered Mercedes-AMG GT3 with a time of 1:44.336 right at the end of the category’s 45-minute session.

This put the Road America pole-sitter three-tenths ahead of Patrick Long in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R in second.

Andy Lally came through third-quickest in the Magnus Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, while Jack Hawksworth placed fourth in the best of the two AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3s.

 A second Friday practice session lasting 60 minutes is set to take place at 4:30 p.m. eastern.

RESULTS: Practice 1

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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