Lamborghini capitalized on Paul Miller Racing’s expertise at Detroit’s 2.3-mile Belle Isle temporary street circuit to earn its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole position Friday afternoon in GT Daytona (GTD) class qualifying for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers (FS1, Live, 12:30 p.m. ET).
Driver Bryan Sellers did the honors, posting a best lap of 1:31.340 (92.6 mph) in the No. 48 Castrol / Universal Industrial Sales Lamborghini Huracán. He held off Patrick Lindsey in the No. 73 Park Place Porsche / Justice Brothers Inc. Porsche 911 GT3 R by a scant 0.011 seconds to earn his first TOTAL Pole Award in WeatherTech Championship competition and his third pole in major U.S. sports car competition following two GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series poles.
It was the second consecutive pole in Detroit for Paul Miller Racing, which took the GTD pole a year ago with then-driver Dion von Moltke at the wheel of its Audi R8. Sellers – who co-drives with Madison Snow – is competing at Belle Isle for the first time this weekend.
“It is my first time racing in Detroit, but over the years we’ve been fortunate to do a lot of street courses,” Sellers said. “This ranks very high on the difficulty level. There is something here that makes it extremely difficult, the bumps, and how busy the track is – it’s physical. Track knowledge is really important here.
“The track knowledge isn’t just from a driver perspective, but crew as well. They can look back at notes and past issues that we might be having now.”
Lindsay will start second in the No. 73 Porsche he shares with Porsche factory driver Joerg Bergmeister. Lindsay clocked a best lap of 1:31.351 (92.6 mph) on his final lap of the 15-minute qualifying session to earn the team’s best starting position since Norbert Siedler qualified on the GTD pole for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
Robin Liddell qualified the No. 6 Stevenson Automotive Group Audi R8 LMS GT3 third with a best lap of 1:31.637 (92.3 mph). Liddell shares the ride with co-driver Andrew Davis, with whom he also co-drove to the 2015 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge before shifting to the WeatherTech Championship this season.
The 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers is scheduled to take the green flag Saturday at 12:40 p.m. ET. The race will be televised live beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
- Lamborghini and Audi had two cars each in the top five in Friday’s qualifying session. Spencer Pumpelly starts fourth on the GTD grid in the No. 16 Pertamina / Monster Energy Lamborghini Huracán he shares with Corey Lewis on the strength of a lap at 1:31.917 (92.0 mph). Matt Bell qualified fifth in the No. 9 Stevenson Automotive Group Audi R8 LMS at 1:32.017 (91.9 mph). Bell’s co-driver is Lawson Aschenbach.
- The No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 sustained left-front damage when Christina Nielsen tagged the tire barrier in Turn 7 after light contact with another car in the left rear. The team managed to make repairs and have the car out prior to the end of the 90-minute session for GTD points leaders and co-drivers Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan. “The team did a great job getting the car back on track,” said Balzan. “I was a little worried, but when I went out it was like nothing really happened. The car is nice and I’m happy with it.” Nielsen went on to qualify eighth in class.
- Last year at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, Alex Job Racing became the first team to announce plans to field the new Porsche 911 GT3 R in the 2016 WeatherTech Championship, and a few hours later, the team’s No. 23 Team Seattle/Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT America went on to win the race with co-drivers Mario Farnbacher and Ian James. Fast-forwarding to 2016, the No. 23 team became the first to win with the new 911 GT3 R, which co-drivers Farnbacher and Alex Riberas achieved in the most recent WeatherTech Championship round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Farnbacher will start from 11th on the GTD grid tomorrow.
- Saturday’s 100-minute race will be televised live on FS1 at 12:30 p.m. ET, and will also be carried on the FOX Sports GO mobile app on-track. The day’s activities begin at 8 a.m. ET with a 30-minute warm-up session.