Tom Blomqvist picked up right where he left off at Watkins Glen with a quick time in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura, but Sebastien Bourdais was right there with him in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac as the two turned identical fast times down to the thousandth. Both drivers did a 1m05.712s lap for a 134.72mph average around the 2.459-mile, 10-turn Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in the first practice for the Chevrolet Grand Prix, the seventh round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“Watkins Glen was definitely a tough race, but we know that the Acura is fast and that should help us going into CTMP,” said Blomqvist. “I really love the track and I think it should suit the Acura well. We’re getting towards the end of the championship and the battle is so close, so now is when we really need to put our heads down and focus on getting that first win. The guys have been working so hard, so we’re going into the weekend with one goal in mind — to win.”
Earl Bamber was third in the No. 02 CGR Cadillac with a 1m5.893s lap, just 0.087s quicker than Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac. Race winners last week at Watkins Glen, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura was fifth in the hands of Filipe Albuquerque.
Daniel Juncadella turned a 1m16.520s lap (115.08mph) to top GTD PRO in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG. Hometown favorites Pfaff Racing and their lumberjack plaid Porsche 911 GT3R were second-quickest, Mathieu Jaminet 0.397s off Juncadella’s time.
“There’s a big push this weekend from the team side, obviously it’s a home race, so a lot of supporters and people coming out for the team. It’d be really nice to be able to get a good result this weekend,” said Jaminet’s co-driver, Matt Campbell.
Alex Riberas was third for Heart of Racing, the team still on a high from last week’s double victory, posting a 1m16.943s lap in the No. 23 Aston Martin Vantage. Jordan Taylor in the No. 3 Corvette was fourth, and Connor De Phillippi fifth. With Kamui Kobayashi trying to get up to speed in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus, Ben Barnicoat brought up the rear of all the GTD cars.
The sister GTD-class No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus led the field, Frankie Montecalvo setting the quick time of 1m16.927s, third among all the GTD cars. Robby Foley posted a time only 0.016s slower for second in the No. 96 Tuner Motorsport BMW M4, with Russell Ward third in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG at 1m17.064s. Bryan Sellers (No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW) and Roman De Angelis (No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage) were fourth and fifth in GTD. This weekend’s race doesn’t count for the overall championship for the GTD teams; they’ll only collect points for the WeatherTech Sprint Cup.
Garrett Grist topped the LMP3 times for Jr III Racing with a 1m12.245s lap in the No. 30 Ligier. Colin Braun was second in the No. 54 CORE Autosport Ligier, only 0.039s off Grist’s time, followed by Scott Andrews in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier.
The session was interrupted by one red flag to retrieve Andrews from the gravel trap at Turn 5.
UP NEXT: Practice 2 at 8 a.m. Eastern time.