Luhr Lights It Up for Muscle Milk in Night Practice
Lucas Luhr set the fastest time in a topsy-turvy, two-hour night practice Thursday in the run-up to Saturday’s Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda. Luhr turned a lap of 1:11.545 (127.808 mph) in the final 25 minutes of the session driving the No. 6 Muscle Milk Pickett Racing Honda Performance Development ARX-03a prototype.
The German – seeking the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón’s P1 championship with teammate Klaus Graf – finished 0.098 seconds clear of Rebellion Racing’s Lola-Toyota. Guy Smith, who with Chris Dyson won last year’s ALMS title, sat third at 1:11.769 (127.409 mph) in Dyson Racing’s No. 16 Lola-Mazda.
The field was even closer in GT with the 10 fastest cars within 0.784 seconds. None went quicker than Jörg Bergmeister in Flying Lizard Motorsports’ No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. His lap of 1:20.202 (114.012 mph) gave him a 0.035-second advantage over Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette C6 ZR1. Gavin and Milner wrapped up the driver’s championship in the previous round at VIR.
Marino Franchitti set the pace in P2 for Level 5 Motorsports following a lap of 1:13.853 (123.814 mph) in the team’s No. 055 HPD ARX-03b. The Scot held a significant 0.614-second gap back to Olivier Pla in Oak Racing’s No. 35 Morgan-Nissan.
The gap from first to second in Prototype Challenge was even larger. Kyle Marcelli’s lap of 1:16.227 (119.957 mph) in Merchant Services Racing’s No. 8 ORECA FLM09 put him 1.184 seconds clear of class champion Alex Popow of CORE autosport. Ryan Lewis sat third for Dempsey Racing at 1:17.511 (117.970 mph).
Green Hornet Racing’s Damien Faulkner led a tight fight among the top three cars in GT Challenge. The Irishman’s best time was a 1:25.908 (106.439 mph) in the team’s No. 34 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup that put him just 0.017 seconds clear of JDX Racing’s Michael Valiante. Jakub Giermaziak was third for NGT Motorsport with a 1:26.129 (106.166 mph) in his No. 30 Porsche.
The final practice session for Petit Le Mans is set for 10:30 a.m. ET Friday with qualifying starting at 2 p.m. ET.