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Cadillac Sweeps Practice Sessions Thursday at Daytona

Words by Matthew Boyce, cover image courtesy of IMSA/Jake Galstad

The No. 01 and No. 31 Cadillac V-Series.R GTP entries of Chip Ganassi Racing and Whelen Engineering have swept all three of Thursday's practice sessions at Daytona International Speedway. Alex Palou, aboard the No. 01 Cadillac, set the fastest time of the day during the second session with a lap of 1:35.589. While the No. 01 Cadillac topped the charts during the first and second session of the day, the No. 31 Cadillac found speed during Thursday evenings night practice session. Pipo Derani posted a fast time of 1:35.708, nearly a tenth off of Palou's top time run in the daylight hours.

IMSA/Jake Galstad

Three Porsche 963 entries, two by Porsche Penske Motorsports and one by Proton Competition, rounded out the top five overall times of the day. All three Porsche 963 times were set in the earliest session of the day, with the No. 7 Porsche posting the third fastest time, followed by the No. 5. The No. 6 Porsche rounded out the top five. Rounding out the GTP field were both of the Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport Acuras, who ended Thursday with both cars almost a second off of the pace to the lead Cadillacs.

In LMP2, the No. 04 CrowdStrike Racing by APR Oreca posted the fastest overall time, while also posting the top time in two out of the three sessions. Malthe Jakobsen posted a lap of 1:39.166 during Thursday evenings night practice and the fastest time of the day. Clement Novalak in the No. 52 Oreca 07 Gibson fielded by Inter Europol by PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports posted the second fastest time in class during the first session of the day. His lap of 1:39.416 eclipsed the time set by IndyCar star Pato O'Ward, who piloted the No. 2 United Autosports machine to a lap of 1:39.472 during the night session.

Mike Levitt/LAT Images

With the LMP3 class gone from the top level of IMSA competition in 2024, the GT field has grown leaps and bounds from last season. While many new faces, new cars and new teams have entered the fold, the old guard so to speak claimed the top spots during Thursdays practice session cementing their place before the 24 hour classic takes the green flag Saturday.

Pacing the GTD Pro field was the No. 4 Corvette Racing by Pratt and Miller Motorsports Corvette Z06 GT3.R driven by Earl Bamber. Bamber posted a time of 1:46.770, which edged out the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth. While Hawksworth set his second fastest time of 1:46.783 during the morning session, Bamber posted the fastest GTD Pro time during the night session. The sister Corvette Racing by Pratt and Miller Motorsports entry of Alexander Sims posted the third fastest time during the night session with a lap of 1:46.858. The No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports team, which in years past have fielded a Porsche, posted the fourth best time in GTD Pro with their new for 2024 McLaren 720S GT3 EVO. Iron Lynx grabbed the fifth spot overall with a lap of 1:46.955.

Gradient Racing

In the GTD class, Katherine Legge posted the fastest time behind the wheel of her No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22. Her lap of 1:46.585 eclipsed the time set by Robby Foley in the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M4 GT3. Both Legge and Foley set their fastest times during the morning session. Conquest Racing's No. 36 Ferrari 296 GT3 posted the third quickest time Thursday, while the No. 86 MDK Motorsports Porsche set the fifth fastest times.

Practice continues Friday, with a single session set to be run at 11:20 AM ET.


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