Thermal, CA - The temperate high-desert weather produced sunshine and blue clouds for the final practice rounds of the Winter Invitational at The Thermal Club. Seventeen GT3, GT2 and GT Cup cars took to the track in the first three official practice sessions of the series' weekend.
Young upstart Steven Aghakhani registered the fastest laptime in the GT3 contingent of the GT Sports Club competitors. Aghakhani lapped the 2.91-mile circuit with a best time of 1-minute 59.649 seconds. The US RaceTronics / O'Gara Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 debuted a special honorary livery this weekend to commemorate the passing of Aghakhani's personal hero, basketball star Kobe Bryant.
In the GT2 field, Mike LaFever took his Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport to a fast lap of 2:07.189. LaFever is scheduled to run in the GT Sports Club series starting in June at picturesque VIRginia International Raceway. On his heels is Stu Fredrickson, GT2 competitor also chasing LaFever into the season starting mid-year in Virginia.
GT Cup practice sessions were ruled by Charlie Putman. His 2:09.170 lap times in the Porsche 991 GT3 Cup were good enough to set the pace for the day's three practice sessions.
Competitors take to the track again Saturday at 10:20 am PT for the final practice before the Qualifying session begins at 12:30 pm PT. Afterwards, the Round 5 race begins at 3:40pm PT.