IMSA WeatherTech Championship

Teams Work out Bugs in Final Rolex 24 Practice

IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Friday’s midday practice session for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship offered most of the 61 entries in the Rolex 24 At Daytona their last chance to finalize setups for the annual twice-round-the-clock endurance classic.

Outright speed was not the primary objective, with the majority of teams and drivers instead working to hone the drivability of their cars. Now they’ll be hoping those machines – especially the highly technical new hybrid-powered Grand Touring Prototypes – possess the durability to complete one of the world’s most strenuous races.

The GTP class has an additional 20-minute practice session to itself under the Daytona International Speedway lights on Friday evening.

Cadillac maintained its presence atop the GTP timing screens in the Friday session open to all five classes. Alexander Sims took the honors, clocking a lap of 1 minute, 35.493 seconds (134.209 mph) in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac V-LMDh from Action Express Racing.

Scott Dixon was next up in the No. 01 Cadillac fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing at 1:35.717 (133.894 mph), while Nick Yelloly improved to 1:35.925 on his 28th and final lap of the session in the No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 to secure third fastest.

“It’s satisfying to see the hard work that everyone has put into the program – even big moves from the December test here,” said Sims, who is teamed with Pipo Derani for the full WeatherTech Championship season, joined by Jack Aitken at Daytona and the three other rounds of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.

“It’s gaining speed, so to speak, and building performance with each session,” Sims added. “It’s still early days, of course, and we’re learning about so much all the time. The car feels great, and though I turned the quick lap with little traffic around, it still feels good to top the chart.

“I’m looking forward to the race and driving the car.”

Other class leaders in Practice 4 were: Mikkel Jensen (No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA LMP2 07) in Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), 1:38.052; Jarett Andretti (No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier JS P320) in Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3), 1:43.191; Mikael Grenier (No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3) in GT Daytona (GTD), 1:46.375; and Jules Gounon (No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3) in GTD PRO, 1:46.651.

The Rolex 24 At Daytona takes the green flag at 1:40 ET Saturday. Watch the start live on NBC at 1:30 p.m. Full 24-hour coverage is available on Peacock.

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