The qualifying for this afternoon’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race ran on a dry and sunny Daytona International Speedway.
First out were the 12 GTD cars. It turned out to be a battle between Compass Racing McLaren #76 with Corey Fergus and AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus #14 with Aaron Telitz, swapping fastest lap times over and over.
The McLaren 720S GT3 #76 ended up with its first Pole Position in IMSA competition, ahead of the Lexus #14, while Robby Foley in the Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 #96 was on third. The other AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus #12 was P4, followed by Scuderia Corsa Ferrari #63, and Meyer Shank Racing Acura #86.
Then the 6 GTLM cars got their 15 minutes of qualifying.
The two Corvette cars were first on the track, while Porsche and especially BMW waited longer to join in. Oliver Gavin in the Corvette Racing #4 was fastest for a long time in the new C8.R, while Jordan Taylor in #3 was only a few tenth behind.
BMW Team RLL #24 with Jesse Krohn was the third-fastest car of all, ahead of Laurens Vanthoor in Porsche #912, Bruno Spengler in BMW Team RLL #25, and Nick Tandy in Porsche #911.
It was the first Pole Position for the Corvette C8.R model in the US, in its only second race. Which is a good performance from the team. All in all, the field was separated by half a second, close as always in the GTLM category.
The 8 DPi cars closed out the qualifying session.
Ryan Briscoe in the Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac #10 was a bit too eager to get on the track – he managed to speed in the pitlane, on his way out. He was awarded a Drive-through penalty for that.
Acura Team Penske #7 with Helio Castroneves was the first driver to put down a fast lap, before Jonathan Bomarito in the Mazda Motorsports #55 beat the time. Helio fought back and beat it on his second flying. Oliver Jarvis in the Mazda Motorsports #77 also wanted to mix up in the top 3.
Joao Barbosa in the Mustang Sampling Cadillac #5 was attacking the Bus Stop Chikane at full speed, which definitely wasn’t the fastest way around the 3,56 Miles circuit.
Castroneves pitted with four minutes to go in the qualifying, since he convinced that nobody else could beat his time. He was totally right about that, since everybody else pitted one by one.
So Acura Team Penske #7 took Pole, ahead of Mazda Motorsports #77 and #55, while the other Acura #6 was P4. The four Cadillac cars finished off the category with Whelen Engineering #31 ahead of Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing #10, Mustang Sampling #5 and JDC Miller-Motorsports #85.
While the qualifying was run in dry conditions, the weather forecasts predict rain ahead of the race, and most likely also during the race, which will be run later in the afternoon, local time – 00.05 CET, on the night between Saturday and Sunday. It’s possible to watch the race in IMSA.tv.