Briscoe leads opening ALMS practice

Penske’s Ryan Briscoe and Porsche crashed Acura’s party in the first practice session for the American Le Mans Series’ Acura Sports Car Challenge on Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The young Aussie set the fastest time in the hour-long session, a 1:10.592 lap in the lead Penske Porsche RS Spyder he will share with Sascha Maassen.

Briscoe and Maassen have taken overall wins in the last two Series rounds at Salt Lake City and Lime Rock to get back into the LMP2 championship race. They trail teammates Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard by 9 points heading into Mid-Ohio.

Andretti Green Racing’s Bryan Herta was the best of the Acura pilots, sitting third overall at 1:10.973. He just a tick ahead of Adrian Fernandez in the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura-powered Lola. Ohio is home to four Honda manufacturing plants, and more than 15,000 employees are expected to root for Acura this weekend.

Highcroft Racing’s David Brabham, the fastest driver in Thursday’s test session, completed just one lap after crashing at the top of the Keyhole (Turn 2 at the circuit) following contact with the No. 61 Risi Competizione Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni.

“It ripped up quite a bit of things," Brabham said. “Luckily the radiator wasn’t affected. But we lost some front suspension, the under tray and the front bodywork. It is all fixable. But I hope we can get the car back and ready for the final practice today. I really don’t want to qualify without running the car again."

Allan McNish was the quickest of the LMP1 drivers with a lap of 1:11.314 in the lead Audi R10 TDI. The diesel-powered prototype is racing at Mid-Ohio for the first time and hasn’t won an overall race since St. Petersburg when McNish and Dindo Capello took the victory. But the Scot was just 0.722 seconds behind Briscoe, a much smaller gap than in races past.

Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner’s Audi sat second in class at seventh overall as the top seven cars were separated by just 0.959 seconds.

Jan Magnussen posted the best time for Corvette Racing in GT1. The No. 3 Corvette C6.R produced a lap of 1:17.202 to edge out the sister entry of Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin by 0.737 seconds. Magnussen is racing at Mid-Ohio for the first time since 2002 with the factory Panoz prototype effort.

Wolf Henzler was quickest in GT2 for the second session in a row after posting the fastest time Thursday. The German tuned in a lap of 1:21.758 in Tafel Racing’s No. 71 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR to best Risi’s Jaime Melo by 0.042 seconds. The Petersen/White Lightning Ferrari was third at 1:21.900 as the top seven cars were within a second of each other.

Friday’s second practice session will start at 4:20 p.m. ET with qualifying at 5:30 p.m.

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