April 13, 2018–
Italy’s Daniel Mancinelli recorded the quickest lap time Friday in the opening practice for the Pirelli World Challenge Round 3 GT Sprint event in the 44th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach at the 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street circuit along the picturesque Long Beach Harbor.
Mancinelli, a three-time 2017 GT SprintX race winner, drove the No. 31 TR3 Racing/Ferrari of Vancouver Ferrari 488 GT3 to a best lap of one minute, 19.262 seconds (89.41 miles per hour) on his final lap of the one-hour practice session at the legendary Long Beach track. Alvaro Parente set the PWC GT track record last year in qualifying at 1:18.883 (89.94 m.p.h.).
“The car was prepared very well today for the Long Beach track,” said Mancinelli, who placed fourth in last year’s 50-minute GT Sprint at Long Beach. “I liked the track from last year and it made it easier for me to know the corners and the braking zones. I had a good pace at the beginning of the session and improved more as the session went on. I finally got a clear lap late and I set my fast lap on the final lap. It was difficult to get a clean lap, but I got one at the end and it gave me the fast lap. I have a lot of confidence in the car for Saturday’s qualifying.”
Taking second in the PWC GT class Friday was Canadian Daniel Morad in the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 sports car with a 1:19.519 (89.12 m.p.h.) followed by COTA GT SprintX double winner Toni Vilander of Finland in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsports Ferrari 488 GT3 at 1:19.849 (88.75 m.p.h.), college student Alec Udell of The Woodlands, Tex., in the No. 41 LOCI/HKG Racing/GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:19.863 (88.73 m.p.h.) and Denmark’s Michael Christensen in the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:19.904 (88.69 m.p.h.)
Martin Fuentes of Mexico City, Mex., the 2016 GTA series champion, was the quickest driver in the GTA division with the No. 07 Hublot/Squadra Corse Garage Ferrari 488 GT3 at 1:20.528 (88.00 m.p.h.) over Japan’s Yuki Harata in the No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3 at 1:20.599 (87.92 m.p.h.).
In the GT4 Invitational class, young Paul Holton of Orlando, Fla., the 2017 PWC TC champion, paced the practice times with a 1:27.141 (81.32 m.p.h.) in the No. 78 Compass360 Racing McLaren 570S. Second was Spencer Pumpelly of Atlanta, Ga., in the No. 66 TRG Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR at 1:27.356 (81.12 m.p.h.) and local driver Bob Michaelian of Seal Beach, Calif., in the No. 45 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN 1 GT4 at 1:28.366 (80.20 m.p.h.).
Qualifying for the Pirelli World Challenge 21-car field is set for Saturday (April 14) at 9:20 a.m. PDT with the 50-minute PWC GT/GTA/GT4 feature race scheduled for Sunday at 10:00 a.m. PDT.