BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Under warm, sunny weather conditions, Nicky Catsburg, of Voorthuizen, Netherlands, guided the No. 25 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo R_EX to the top of the time sheets in the 70-minute GT/GTA and GT Cup practice, at the MOMO Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park presented by Porsche. Catsburg’s lap of 1:22.906 beat the previous lap record set in 2014 for the GT class by Nick Mancuso, of Lake Forest, IL (1:23.866). Bryan Heitkotter, of Fresno, CA, was fastest in GTA, and Colin Thompson, of Doylestown, PA, was fastest in GT Cup presented by MOMO.
In the opening minutes of the session, James Davison, of St. Petersburg, FL, in the No. 33 AE/ReplayXD/Nissan Nismo Nissan GT-R GT3 went to the top of the timing charts with a lap of 1:24.011. Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch, GA, driving the No. 3 Cadillac Racing ATS-VR GT3 unseated Davison with a 1:23.778 nine minutes into the session. However, Davison quickly responded and set a new quick lap of 1:23.668, then a 1:23.326 to move back to P1 in the session.
Kevin Estre, of Lochau, Austria, showed that the No. 9 K-PAX McLaren 650S GT3 was up to speed, as 14 minutes into the session his 1:23.477 moved him to the top of the order.
A minute later, the order had changed again and back at the top was Davison with a 1:23.326. Behind Davison, it was Estre, O’Connell, Bryan Heitkotter, of Fresno, CA, in the No. 05 Nissan GT Academy GT-R/ Nissan GT-R GT3, and Catsburg.
The chase for the top spot on the scoring sheet continued with Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, NC driving his No. 2 CRP Racing DeVilbiss/Hawk Performance Audi R8 LMS Ultra with a 1:23.431 to claim the spot. Ryan Dalziel, of Windemere, FL, positioned the No. 31 EFFORT Racing/World PMO Porsche 991 GT3R into third with a 1:23.431. At the 30-minute mark of the session, it was Skeen, Davison, and Dalziel making up the top three.
The next move to the top of the order came from Frankie Montecalvo, of Highlands, NJ. Driving the No. 66 DragonSpeed Bayshore Racing Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3, Montecalvo turned a 1:23.104 to gain P1.
At the 45-minute mark of the session, Catsburg returned to the top turning a 1:22.906. This lap would stand as the lap record for the GT class at the end of the 70-minute session.
The order near the front remained the same until Olivier Beretta, Monte Carlo, Monaco, in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari of Ontario/Toronto/Alberta Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia turned a 1:23.072 that at the time placed him second at the 66-minute mark of the session. O’Connell then moved into second with two minutes remaining with a 1:23.046. As the checkered flag waved, Heitkotter turned a 1:23.056 to move into third place overall and first in GTA to close out the session.
In GT Cup, Thompson, in the No. 11 Porsche of Bucks County/Penn Valley Constructors/Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes/Austin Hatcher Foundation Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup topped the charts with a 1:27.135. Second in GT Cup was Sloan Urry, of Salt Lake City, UT, in the No. 02 Engel & Volkers TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup with a 1:27.456, while Phil Fogg Jr., of Portland, OR, in the No. 18 Zoro/Truspeed TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup was third recording a 1:28.243.