IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Weekend Qualifying Results
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying sessions at Road America have ended. The weekend has been plagued with red flags which has severely limited the on track time the drivers have had to get accustomed to the track. However, qualifying seemed to move much more smoothly as drivers have had the opportunity to get acclimated with the new surface. Despite the limited track time for the drivers lap records were broken in the GTP, LMP3, GTD and GTD Pro classes.
Pipo Derani (No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac V-Series.R) set the new lap record at 1m47.730 seconds (135.271 mph) to claim pole position in the GTP class. The No. 07 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 finished P2 setting a time 0.068 seconds behind the Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac V-Series.R. The margin was small but the Cadillac prevailed. The No. 01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R claimed P3.
After the session Derani stated the following to the IMSA media, “It’s been obviously a very good weekend so far for Cadillac Racing. We unloaded from the truck with a very good car, but with the field so tight as we have seen in every practice, we had to keep working hard for qualifying. To prove the results we had in practice with a pole position shows we were working in the right direction.”
Despite the weather report showing rain in the forecast earlier this weekend it appears that risk has subsided. The drivers should enjoy optimal conditions as long as they don’t deviate from the main racing line. Due to the fact that Road America was repaved earlier this year. The track has yet to be rubbered in for maximum grip. The drivers mentioned the areas off the main racing line being very slick. This will play a role come race time as the 45 car grid navigates traffic to fight for the win.
LMP2 was the only class to not see a new lap record at Road America. Crowdstrike Racing by APR claimed in class pole ahead of the No. 8 Tower Motorsports car. The margin between the two was 0.508 seconds. The No. 11 TDS Racing car bounced back after crashing in practice on Friday. The car was heavily damaged but the crew was able to get the car turned around and repaired for the subsequent practice and qualifying without worry.
18 year old Nico Pino driving the No. 33 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier JS P320 claimed LMP3 pole setting a time of 1:57.930. Pino also broke the in class track record. The time was almost 1 second ahead of second place finisher in the No. 29 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320. In third was the No. 74 Riley Ligier JS P320 0.364 seconds behind. If Sean Creech is truly 1 seconds ahead of the competition it may be smooth sailing for the team during the race. We will see how pit stops come into play as teams make their final adjustments from data gathered during qualifying.
In GTD Pro on 5 cars entered the competition. Alex Riberas set the lap record in GTD Pro aboard the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Riberas set a 2:02.918 lap time which was 2 seconds faster than the previous record. Riberas stated, “This place is a dream for any race car driver, to be honest. It’s so enjoyable. The track is full of ups and downs, fast corners, slow corners and heavy braking zones. It seems like you have everything in one place.” The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 finished in second position. Followed by the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
The Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 calimed pole with a record setting 2:03.291 lap time. The No. 01 BMW claimed pole by a margin of 0.091 seconds ahead of the No. 70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 EVO. The Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 claimed third position.
Racing coverages begins at 10:00am local time/11:00am EST at Road America on USA Network.