JDC-Miller Porsche Sets Pace through Two Sebring Practices

By Jeff Olson

IMSA Wire Service

Phil Hanson saved the best for last during the first two practice sessions Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s 72nd Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac.

Near the end of the second practice session, Hanson recorded a lap of 1 minute, 48.149 seconds (124.494 mph) in the No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963, pacing the field in the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class in the car he co-drives with Tijmen van der Helm and Richard Westbrook.

Before Hanson made noise late in the afternoon, Mikkel Jensen showed early speed in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class with his lap of 1:51.342 (120.924 mph) in the No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA LMP2 07 during the morning session. He’ll team with Hunter McElrea and Steven Thomas for the race.

Vasser Sullivan recovered from a rough start to the season in January’s Rolex 24 At Daytona by leading the way in both Grand Touring Daytona classes. Jack Hawksworth was clocked at 2:00.202 (112.011 mph) in GTD PRO during the morning session in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. Parker Thompson was fastest in GTD with a lap of 2:00.237 (111.916 mph) in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus during the afternoon session.

Hawksworth teams with Ben Barnicoat and Kyle Kirkwood in the No. 14 Lexus, while Thompson shares the No. 12 Lexus with Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz.

The first two practice sessions showed balance in the GTP class, with four manufacturers – Porsche, Cadillac, Acura and BMW – filling the top six positions in the afternoon session. Lamborghini made its official debut as the fifth WeatherTech Championship GTP manufacturer on Thursday, with Matteo Cairoli ranking 10th on the combined timesheet for the first two practices with a lap of 1:49.493 (122.966 mph).

The third practice of the day, scheduled at night, will be the key to proper race setup, according to the drivers.

“The last session is the important session because it’s where the race will be decided,” said Renger van der Zande, who posted the fastest lap in the morning session – 1:48.279 (124.345 mph) in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R. “This is the session to prep for qualifying and setting up the car for a quick lap. This (afternoon) session was trying some stuff on the car – fuel saving, ride heights – and it’s also good to get a feel for the new tires.”

Qualifying for the 72nd running of the iconic endurance race begins at 12:50 p.m. ET Friday, with live coverage is available on Peacock and IMSA.com/TVlive.

Live flag-to-flag coverage of Saturday’s race begins at 9:30 a.m. ET on Peacock. USA Network joins the coverage from 4-10 p.m.