Muscle Milk tops opening day at VIR
With an eye toward regaining the form that won it five straight races earlier this year, Muscle Milk Pickett Racing set the fastest time in testing Thursday at VIRginia International Raceway for the weekend’s VIR 240. The No. 6 Honda Performance Development ARX-03a turned a best lap of 1:37.457 (120.792 mph) with Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr sharing seat time.
Saturday’s four-hour race – the ninth round of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n championship – is the first at the venue for the ALMS.
Muscle Milk’s car was 1.627 seconds clear of Dyson Racing’s No. 16 Lola-Mazda coupe of Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Johnny Mowlem. Dyson Racing is on a two-race winning streak and debuts a flywheel hybrid system in the No. 16 car this weekend.
Extreme Speed Motorsports’ No. 02 Ferrari F458 Italia led the GT runners with a lap of 1:47.233 (109.780 mph). Guy Cosmo and Ed Brown share the Ferrari, which was 0.755 seconds clear of Corvette Racing’s No. 4 Corvette C6 ZR1 of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner. The pairing can clinch the GT drivers’ championship this weekend with at least a runner-up finish Saturday.
ESM’s No. 01 Ferrari of Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek was third-fastest in GT on Wednesday at 1:48.005 (108.995 mph).
Level 5 Motorsports’ two HPD ARX-03b prototypes were 1-2 in the P2 class. The No. 055 entry of Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut set a time of 1:40.333 (117.329 mph) on the car’s last lap. That gave it a 1.048-second gap back to the No. 95 sister car.
Conquest Endurance was third in class with a lap of 1:41.443 (116.045 mph) in the No. 37 Morgan-Nissan of David Heinemeier-Hansson and Martin Plowman.
Prototype Challenge team champion CORE autosport went quickest in the class thanks to a 1:41.998 (115.414 mph) for the No. 05 ORECA FLM09 of Colin Braun and Jon Bennett. The gap back to the second-place No. 8 Merchant Services entry of Kyle Marcelli and Lucas Downs was a slim 0.077 seconds. The No. 7 Merchant Services ORECA was third at 1:42.987 (114.306 mph) with Tony Burgess, Pablo Sanchez and Eric Lux driving.
Green Hornet Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was the fastest GT Challenge runner at 1:52.942 (104.230 mph). Damien Faulkner and Peter LeSaffre share driving duties in the No. 34, which was 0.948 seconds clear of NGT Motorsport’s No. 30 Porsche of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Henrique Cisneros. Class championship leader Alex Job Racing was third with a 1:54.140 (103.136 mph) lap for the No. 22 Porsche of Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen.
AJR can wrap up the team championship with a third-place finish or better. MacNeil will win the drivers’ title with at least a fourth-place finish.
Friday will see two practice sessions for the ALMS with qualifying set for 3:30 p.m. ET.
The four-hour VIR 240 is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 15. ESPN2's broadcast begins at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 16. Full, live coverage starts at 2:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3.