Joey Hand and Scott Pruett may have been shut out of the TUDOR Championship winner’s circle in 2015, but don’t count them out at COTA. Hand served notice that the No. 01 Ganassi Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley DP will be a formidable force in Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans when he turned a lap in 1:57.639 (104.047 mph) in Thursday’s second 60-minute practice session. Hand’s time was quicker than the Prototype track record set last year in qualifying by Alex Brundle at 1:57.809.
The Ford-powered Prototype was fast in spite of the 90-degree heat and wilting humidity of a late-September day in Texas. Hand’s best lap was .749 seconds quicker than Ozz Negri’s 1:58.388 in the No. 60 Ligier-Honda P2 that led the morning practice, and nearly a second and a half faster than Jordan Taylor in the third-ranked No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP.
BMW moved to the fore in GTLM as Dirk Werner topped the category at 2:04.256 (98.506 mph) in the retro-liveried No. 25 BMW Z4 GTE. Perennial points leader Patrick Pilet was second, 0.167 seconds back in the No. 911 Porsche RSR. Antonio Garcia put the No. 3 Corvette C7.R third in the fiercely contested class.
Colin Braun was quickest in the Prototype Challenge class with the No. 54 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM09. Andy Lally was on the point in the GT Daytona class with the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America.
The third and final 60-minute practice session for the TUDOR Championship field will begin at 9:10 a.m. local time on Friday morning.
The two-hour, 40-minute Lone Star Le Mans will be televised live on FOX Sports 2, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 19. The race will be rebroadcast on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, Sept. 20, beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.