First practice for this weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge, a GT Le Mans and GT Daytona-only round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at VIRginia International Raceway is in the books.
Fastest times were set by Earl Bamber in the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR (1:43.232, GTLM and overall) and Madison Snow in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (1:45.722, GTD).
Bamber told IMSA Radio’s Shea Adam, “It’s a good way to start the weekend. It’s a new surface; it already seems quicker than last year. The guys at VIR have done a great job to repave it. It’s been pretty difficult the last couple races for us.”
But the session was more notable because it featured a weird interruption, when the roof off the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM popped off on course.
It left Dirk Werner needing to bring the car, sans the roof and rear window, into the pit lane but luckily without further damage following the inadvertent convertible debut of the car.
Werner’s befuddled co-driver, Bill Auberlen, attempted to explain the situation to Adam.
“I’m telling you… I’m dying to ask if it was cooler inside the cockpit!” Auberlen told IMSA Radio, noting how hot it is on track, as well (ambient temperatures are expected in the mid-90s with track temperatures in the 110-115 range).
“So no, we did not plan on this. This is very odd. It’s bizarre how the roof would blow off the thing.
“I went in the grass once. Couldn’t get the downshfits accomplished. Now this. Maybe we get all the troubles out now.
“But now the roof blew off? No idea how, it’s just bad luck.”
Here’s pics and a few tweets about the abnormal incident: