> Result: FP1
GruppeM Racing and Mercedes-AMG confirmed their Paid Practice pace by topping FP1 at Suzuka earlier this afternoon. The German manufacturer’s Intercontinental GT Challenge entries finished one-two courtesy of Maro Engel and Yelmer Buurman, while Kelvin van der Linde was third for Audi.
Heavy rain before and during the session prevented anyone from setting a representative time, although Engel’s 2m13.117s was a second quicker than his co-driver Raffaele Marciello had managed during Paid Practice this morning and roughly 11s shy of the expected dry pace.
The lap, which was set early in the two-hour session, was just 0.087s faster than Craft-Bamboo’s Buurman who improved late on after the heavy rain relented. That came at the expense of Van der Linde who, like Buurman, set his best lap during the first 10 minutes.
Strakka’s Lewis Williamson made it three Mercedes-AMGs in the top-four after displacing Juichi Wakisaka’s LM corsa Porsche.
Ferraris finished sixth and seventh courtesy of Car Guy Racing and HubAuto Corsa, with Absolute Racing’s Audi completing the top-eight. Local favourites Goodsmile Racing were ninth while the first non-Intercontinental entry – Cars Tokai Dream28’s Lotus Evora MC – finished 10th.
Friday’s final practice sessionsbegins at 18:30. All drivers are required to complete at least one lap in darkness during the 90-minuts of running.