ALTON, VA. – Young Rodrigo Baptista of Brazil shocked the GT SprintX class Friday morning at VIRginia International Raceway by setting the quick lap time in the opening practice round in the No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 sports car in the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Virginia presented Audi Sport.
Baptista, a four-time race winner GTS last year for the Flying Lizard Motorsports team, clocked a best lap of one minute, 42.964 second for an average speed of 114.33 miles per hour, better than the GT track record. The VIR GT track mark is held by Mike Skeen with a 1:42.989 (114.30 m.p.h.), set last year in qualifying in the No. 82 McCann Racing Audi R8 LMS.
Baptista is an Am driver teaming with Bentley factory driver Maxime Soulet of Belgium.
Second overall and leading the Pro-Pro division is two-time COTA race winner Toni Vilander in the No. 61 RFerri Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 at 1:43.138 (114.13 m.p.h.) followed by Skeen of Charlotte, N.C., at 1:43.418 (113.82 m.p.h.) in the No. 80 Long Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3; Michael Christensen of Denmark in the No. 24 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:43.631 (113.59 m.p.h.) and another Pro-Am entry, the No. 31 TR3 Racing/Ferrari of Vancouver Ferrari 488 GT3, driven by COTA pole winner Jeff Segal of Miami, Fla. The No. 31 Ferrari captured last year’s VIR GT SprintX race as well as the recent Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach with Daniel Mancinelli at the wheel.
Last year’s VIR GT SprintX Round 2 winner, Daniel Morad of Toronto, took the sixth position Friday morning in the No. 2 CRP Racing/DeVilbiss Mercedes-AMG GT3 at 1:43.735 (113.48 m.p.h.) and current GT overall point leader Scott Hargrove also of Canada in the No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports/Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 R at 1:43.978 (113.21 m.p.h.).
The second GT SprintX practice Friday at VIR is scheduled for 3:35 p.m. EDT.
CORRECTION: 4/28/18 14:45
Due to transponder error, the driver of the No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 was mis-identified as Rodrigo Baptista. The correct driver during the run was Maxime Soulet from Belgium.