There was unfortunately no sun or clement temperatures that one would usually expect of Portuguese weather in November, but the conditions were however ideal for the machines' final preparations.
6 Hours GT / Touring car / LM P3 / PFV Endurance: Visiom's power grows
Guaranteed 2016 champions of the main GT category, Visiom's #1 Ferrari 488 GT3 kept a steady pace throughout the private practice sessions. Finishing in 4th and 3rd place respectively, Pagny, Perrier and Bouvet finished this first day of action at the head of the GT class after an impressive performance in free practice - showing hope for Saturday's qualifying session.
The current title holders will however be threatened by AF Corse's Ferrari 458 GT3, driven by Cordoni, Zanuttini and Montermini and IMSA Performance's Porsche 991 GT3 R handled by experienced Narac and Cornac - the two cars at the head of the pack during private practice. Among the plentiful GTV2 competitors, Racing Technology's Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car (Leherpeur, Chargé and Noël) stood out from the rest, setting the fastest times of the day, ahead of IMSA Performance's #67 Porsche (Pierre, Armindo) and Porsche Lorient Racing's three machines: #62 (Polette / Lelièvre), #66 (Blasco / Ancel / Gibon) and #63 (J.F. Demorge / A. Demorge).
LM P3 / PFV: Indecision between the two categories
Nielsen Racing, present for the first time in V de V this weekend armed with a Ginetta G57 (#59) driven by Muston, Winslow and Moseley, were the team to beat on this first fantastic day at Estoril, setting the fastest time of the initial practice session. This was however questioned when LNT / Simpson Motorsport's #57 machine, entrusted to Tomlinson and Simpson - this weekend joined by Burke, once they shot to the top of the time sheets during both afternoon sessions. The latter, that took place in almost complete darkness, saw Ginetta boss Lawrence Tomlinson advance another G57 prepared by the same team - car #50 handled by Robertson, de Jong and Vilarino.
In the LMP3 clan, Inter Europol Competition started the day on top with Smiechowski & Hippe signing the best lap time of the first private practice session - before duo Kox and Pronk, at the helm of the #48 JS P3 stole their place in the afternoon session. Finally, Duqueine Engineering's car #9, shared between Borga, Clément and Duqueine this weekend turned the tables to come out on top in Free Practice. In the hours of darkness at Estoril, Inter Europol Competition's Ligier #33 managed to set the quickest lap time of the Prestige class runners.
6 Hours V de V Proto Endurance: CD Sport and DB Autosport make their intentions clear
Two private practice sessions were on today's menu however no team was able to stay at the top of the time sheets. CD Sport's #32 Norma M20 FC was dominant in the first (with Maulini, Bole-Besançon and Foubert behind the wheel), staying ahead of RC Formula's #66 prototype who did a fantastic job on their first outing in the Challenge this weekend. Drivers Robert, Droux and Redais managed to set faster times than current championship leaders Vilarino, Ferté and Illiano, drivers of TFT's #2 car.
Equipe Palmyr and DB Autosport may have struggled in the first session but they couldn't stand staying behind for long. The afternoon saw DB Autosport's #22 Norma climb to the top of the time sheets as teammates Delafosse, Dannielou and Petersen finally found a good rhythm - while rivals Mondolot, Zollinger and Thuner (#40 - Equipe Palmyr) settled for second and CD Sport a comfortable third, once again proving their pace at Estoril, but this time with car #30 entrusted to Scheier, Taittinger and Cochet.