Free Practice 1 : Drivers set their marks
The huge storm clouds which shrouded the Brazilian economic capital didn’t break and, although the session was declared “wet” 20 minutes after the green flag, the drizzle quickly dried up.
The double-Le Mans-winning trio weren’t slow in putting down their marque and ended the session on top of the timesheet thanks to André Lotterer who posted a lap of 1:24.370. The No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (hybrid) dominated the session ahead of its half-sister, the No.2 Audi R18 ultra (conventional engine). One-off entrant, Brazilian Lucas di Grassi, showed that Audi was right to put its faith in him by being very rapid straight away. Nicolas Lapierre and the No.7 Toyota TS030 HYBRID finished the session within a second of the two Audis.
Many drivers and teams were new to the track layout, and the first session was one of discovery for everyone in the FIA World Endurance Championship. All drivers marked out their reference points on this very particular track which, unlike most, runs anti-clockwise, something which is physically challenging for them, notably on their necks.
A second free practice session will begin at 1530 hours during which drivers and engineers will want to work on set up ready for Saturday’s race.