- Fine margins determine the order in first on-track running at VIR
- Four GT3 manufacturers in the overall top five
K-PAX Racing’s Bentley Continental GT3s sat atop the Blancpain GT World Challenge America leaderboard at the end of the first practice session for this weekend’s pair of races at Virginia International Raceway presented by Henry Repeating Arms.
Spanish ace Andy Soucek produced a time of 1:44.369 in the #9 Bentley to unseat his teammate Rodrigo Baptista at the top of the timing charts around halfway through a clean and tidy 60-minute Friday lunchtime session.
But while K-PAX scored a 1-2 early in the weekend, the GT3 field was closely matched with the top nine cars all lapping within a second of Soucek’s benchmark.
In addition, four different manufacturers made up the overall top five with Acura, Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG also in the mix.
Defending series co-champion Toni Vilander briefly hopped up into third with a 1:44.821 in the #61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3, but the Finn was later displaced by Dane Cameron in the #43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3.
Cameron, who is preparing for his first appearance in World Challenge competition since 2017, laid down a competitive 1:44.642 to slot into third and within a whisker of splitting the Bentleys.
The RealTime Acura, which is beginning its 2019 campaign at VIR, was also the highest-placed Pro-Am class runner.
In fifth position overall, behind Vilander, was the second-quickest Pro-Am entry of George Kurtz and Colin Braun who are co-driving the #04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 this weekend.
Just 0.008 seconds back in sixth was Matt Plumb in the #99 One11 Competition Pro-Am Ferrari, while the #22 Daniel Morad/Michael De Quesada Porsche 911 GT3 R of Alegra Motorsports placed seventh.
Quickest in the Am class sub-division was the #19 One11 Competition Ferrari of Brian Kaminskey and Chris Cagnazzi.
All 17 Blancpain GT World Challenge America teams are poised to return to the famous 17-turn, 3.27-mile VIR circuit at 5:00 p.m. EDT for another 60-minute practice session.