- Colin Garrett has a last-lap charge in TCX
- Celso Neto soars to the top in TC class
- Mario Biundo fastest in TCA
The TC America Powered by Skip Barber field took to the track on Friday morning for their first practice session of the day, with cloudy skies looming overhead and humidity lingering in the air. A total of 22 drivers across three classes roared around Circuit of the Americas, using the 30-minute session wisely in order to adjust their set-ups in search of that perfect sweet spot.
Lucas Catania wasted no time setting his flying laps on board the No. 26 Rigid Speed Company BMW M2 CS (Cup), but was quickly challenged by the likes of Dai Yoshihara in the No. 99 VGRT Honda Civic Type-R TCX. The two continued to play cat-and-mouse throughout the session, with the Japanese driver getting the edge over his competitors. Collin Garret bested them all by the end of the session in the No. 44 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M2 CS.
Things began to heat up even more towards the final minutes of the session, as Maddie Aust continued to set personal best times with the No. 09 Fast Track Racing BMW M2 CS (Cup), slotting just behind in third. However, Aust was not done yet, and went on to charge to the front with a time of 2:23.731, 0.209 seconds ahead of Yoshihara.
Just when it all looked set and done, it was Colin Garrett’s turn to have the final word in his No. 44 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M2 CS (Cup). He took the field by storm and swooped in on the final flying lap of the session to secure the top time of the session with a 2:23.718, separating himself from Aust by just a mere 0.013 seconds.
Lucas Catania closed out the session in fourth position, followed by his father and teammate Joseph Catania in the No. 24 Rigid Speed Company BMW M2 CS (Cup) rounding off the final spot in the Top 5.
In the TC class, it was Celso Neto who had the time to beat, clocking in a time of 2:28.119 in his No. 7 Skip Barber Racing School Honda Civic Type-R. The remained comfortably in the lead for the majority of the session, and established a 0.082 second gap between himself and Michael Hurczyn, who followed up in second on board the No. 8 VGRT Honda Civic Type-R. Neto finished in the runner-up position in both races in the previous round, but has quickly proved that he is fully focused on securing the top spot this weekend.
Cristian Perocarpi moved himself up into third position with just a few minutes remaining on the clock, navigating his No. 37 MINI JCW Team Mini JCW Pro TC around the sweeping turns at COTA. He was followed by fellow MINI JCW Team teammate Clayton Williams in the No. 60 Mini JCW Pro TC, with Jeremiah Burton in the No. 34 Skip Barber Racing School Honda Civic Type-R completing the Top 5.
After coming away from NOLA with a clean weekend sweep, Spencer Bucknum was keen to rise to the top of the leaderboard once more with his No. 5 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Si FE1. However, his competitors wouldn’t let him off so easily. William Lambros in the No. 77 Skip Barber Racing School Honda Civic Si FE1 and P.J. Groenke in the No. MINI JCW Team Mini JCW in particular distinguished themselves as the ones to watch early on, with the two exchanging fastest laps back and forth throughout the first half of the session.
With a little under 15 minutes remaining, Mario Biundo added himself into the mix, putting his No. 07 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Si at the top of the charts, just narrowly ahead of Groenke. With the two only separated by 0.082 seconds, Biundo was able to hold on to the lead as the checkered flag waved to mark the end of the first practice session.
The TechSport Racing teammates followed in third and fourth in the No. 23 and No. 22 Subaru BRZ machines, with Shaoyi Che getting a slight jump on Devin Anderson as they both set their fastest times on their 10th lap around the circuit. William Lambros ultimately ended his session in 5th place.
The TC America Powered by Skip Barber field will return to the track at Circuit of the Americas for Practice 2 on Friday, May 19th, 2023 at 2:30pm CT.