PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports set the fastest time in testing at Virginia International Raceway on Thursday, in the first American Le Mans Series session at the circuit. The ORECA FLM09 of Butch Leitzinger and Rudy Junco posted a lap of 1:42.819 (114.492mph) to beat out Dempsey Racing's Lola-Judd prototype.
The Dempsey P2 entry of team owners Patrick Dempsey and Joe Foster recorded a best time of 1:44.330. Dempsey Racing's ORECA FLM09 of Duncan Ende, Henri Richard and Dane Cameron was third overall – second in Prototype Challenge – at 1:45.488.
“The more downforce you have at this track, the better," related Leitzinger. "There are a lot of high-speed corners here, and with a high-downforce package you can really feel the grip of the car and the tires.
"It's really an outstanding track. My dad (Bob) raced here in the 1960s. It's good to see that not much has been done to the character of the layout. You're faced with a couple of areas near the end of the lap to make up some time. There is a lot of camber (at the esses after the backstretch) where it's easy to toss the car off. So you can be cautious and lose a few seconds or get on it and risk going off but pick up time.”
In the GT class, Extreme Speed Motorsports' two Ferrari F458 Italias set the pace. The No. 01 of Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek posted a lap of 1:48.422 (108.576mph), just 0.055sec clear of the sister Ferrari of Guy Cosmo and Ed Brown. Lotus Alex Job Racing's Lotus Evora of Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler was third among the GT runners at 1:50.285.
Sharp also was enthusiastic about the VIR layout.
“It's a super fun track and obviously very fast," he said. "You're constantly making your seatbelts are tightened. You're constantly pulling on your belts because it is so daunting. There are some extremely challenging, high-speed, big-guts type corners.
"The race is going to be extremely exciting with traffic. If people get impatient, there is going to be trouble pretty quick. This ought to be a very good track for the Ferrari; that's what we all felt going into this. We're not really fast on the straightaways but we brake pretty well and are good in the mid- to high-speed corners. There are some long straights here but you have to get through the corners well to get close to being able to thinking about going flat.”
Green Hornet Racing's Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with Damien Faulkner and Peter LeSaffre driving was the quickest GT Challenge entry with a time of 1:52.554 (104.590mph). Alex Job Racing's duo of Leh Keen and Cooper MacNeil was a half-second behind, followed by Green Hornet's second Porsche of LeSaffre and Anthony Lazzaro at 1:54.368.
The American Le Mans presented by Tequila Patrón returns to action at Lime Rock Park for the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix on Saturday, July 7.