Mazda showed no signs of slowing down as the team took a one-two finish in the only night-time running at the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
All weekend long, the Joest-run team has featured at the sharp end of the timing sheets and running under floodlights didn’t stop Jonathan Bomarito in the #55 from setting the fastest time of the test so far – a 1m 34.533s.
Bomarito’s benchmark time was a whole 0.444s quicker than Oliver Jarvis in the sister car and another two-tenths clear of Pipo Derani, who finished best of the rest in the Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi.
Fourth went to the sister Cadillac piloted by Mike Conway, with Colin Braun again setting the pace for Core Autosport in its Nissan DPi as he finished Saturday in fifth.
Wayne Taylor Racing, which shared the top spot with Mazda for much of the testing so far, could only finish sixth with Kamui Kobayashi setting the best time for that car – just 0.865s off the leading pace.
It was a more familiar story in LMP2 as Gabriel Aubry set the class-leading pace in the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca. His quickest lap put him 0.585s clear of the quickest of the DragonSpeed pairing, as Ben Hanley out-paced Pastor Maldonado.
One manufacturer dominating a class continued in GTLM as Porsche North America locked out the top two spots as Nick Tandy edged out Earl Bamber 0.122s in a strong session for the German squad.
It finished two-tenths clear of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing as Sebastien Bourdais, in the #66, finished ahead of team-mate and IndyCar rival Scott Dixon by 0.021s in the #67.
BMW Team RLL’s pace picked up under the lights as Colton Herta finished just ahead of Chaz Mostert in the sister M8
Risi Competizione finished in seventh with the pair of Corvette Racing C7Rs rounding out the nine-car class.
GT Daytona marked itself out as the category to watch in the Daytona 24 Hours itself as the top 15 cars were separated by less one second.
The chain was headed by Victor Franzoni in the Via Italia Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 who ended Saturday 0.112s ahead of Daniel Serra in the Spirit of Race Ferrari.
Maxi Buhk rounded out the top three in the class, just 0.054s down on second in the P1 Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Katherine Legge finished fourth in the Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX while British GT front-runner Phil Keen ended the day fifth in the EBIMOTORS Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
There are just two more sessions to go on Sunday, in addition to qualifying for the DPi, LMP2 and GTLM teams to determine pit box positions for the 24 hours itself. GTD squads qualified yesterday.