BRASELTON, Ga. — The fastest lap of the first three hours of practice for the race that will decide the championship went to a team that isn’t involved in the battle, but one that has a point to make nonetheless.
Sebastien Bourdais’ late lap was the fastest Thursday during the second of two daytime practice sessions in preparation for the 25th Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. A third 90-minute session was slated for Thursday night.
Driving the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R he shares with Renger van der Zande and Scott Dixon this weekend, Bourdais was clocked at 1 minute, 9.040 seconds around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit.
That led to a discussion in the pits among the three drivers about how their Cadillac handled as Bourdais prepares to qualify the car Friday and van der Zande gets ready for the closing stint of Saturday’s 10-hour race. The No. 01 Cadillac won at Long Beach, Detroit and the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this season but enters Petit trailing the leaders by 152 points.
“We wanted to go out for the championship, but we had too many problems and took ourselves out of the championship hunt, which really is a shame,” Bourdais said. “This car has been fast and should have been a contender for the championship.”
Instead, the championship is down to two Acuras.
The No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 co-driven by Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley leads the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-05 shared by Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves by 19 points.
In all likelihood, whichever Acura finishes better in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale will claim the last title for the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class before it’s replaced by the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class in 2023.
Blomqvist had the No. 60 second fastest through the opening two practices while the No. 10 was mired in seventh with Taylor behind the wheel.
Meanwhile, Louis Deletraz had the fastest lap (1:11.320) in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA LMP2 07 he co-drives with John Farano and Rui Pinto de Andrade. Farano is the LMP2 points leader by 33 over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel in the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA.
Kay van Berlo was quickest (1:15.569) in Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 that he drives with Gar Robinson and Felipe Fraga. Jack Hawksworth was fastest in the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 (1:18.912) he drives with Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood.
Bryan Sellers had the fastest lap (1:19.500) in Grand Touring Daytona (GTD), in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 he shares with Madison Snow and Erik Johansson.
Qualifying begins at 3:35 p.m. ET on Friday. Forty-three cars are entered across the five classes competing.