Porsche led the way Friday at Fuji Speedway, following the first day of track activity for this weekend’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Fuji.
The No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid ended up on the top of the time sheets of the day, thanks to a 1:24.460 lap set by Brendon Hartley in Free Practice 2.
Hartley’s time narrowly edged out Andre Lotterer’s pace-setting time from the FP1, which held as the second quickest of the day with a 1:24.497 in the No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
Porsche’s sister No. 18 entry of Neel Jani was third quickest, four-tenths behind, with the No. 8 Audi completing the top-four overall and in LMP1.
Local favorites Toyota, as expected, were a distant fifth and sixth quickest, more than 1.5 seconds off the pace from the leading Porsche.
LMP2 was led by the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan of Sam Bird, who reeled off a 1:32.131 in FP2.
Bird’s time was six-tenths quicker than the No. 36 Signatech Alpine A450b Nissan of Nelson Panciatici, who led the way in the morning session.
The No. 28 G-Drive Racing entry ended the day third, ahead of championship leaders KCMG, which sees the return of Nick Tandy to the wheel of its Oreca 05 Nissan this weekend.
American squad Tequila Patron ESM had a challenging day, ending up at the bottom of the time sheets in class, and its No. 30 Ligier Honda of Scott Sharp stopping on track in the closing minutes of FP2 to bring out the session’s only red flag.
The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia ended up quickest in GTE-Pro, with Toni Vilander’s 1:39.922 edging out Fred Makowiecki’s time from the morning by less than one-tenth.
Paolo Ruberti’s 1:40.659 lap set in the morning, meanwhile, held as quickest in GTE-Am, marking the first session of the year led by the Larbre Competition Corvette C7.R.
The GTE-Am entry received a 20 kg weight break this weekend as part of the latest round of Balance of Performance adjustments.
Free Practice 3 is on tap for Saturday at 9:50 a.m. local, followed by qualifying in the afternoon.
RESULTS: Free Practice 2