Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia set a new qualifying lap record at Lime Rock as the Spaniard broke the 50-second barrier (0:49.754s) on the way to capturing pole position for Corvette Racing.
The Michelin-shod GTLM field took multiple shots at dipping below 50 seconds during the session, but in the end, Garcia’s incredible lap was untouchable as Porsche GT Team’s Laurens Vanthoor settled for second (+0.166s) in his Porsche 911 RSR and Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dirk Muller was third (+0.191s) in his Ford GT.
And with IMSA’s short turnaround between qualifying and the race, teams will shift gears immediately and prepare for the green flag that will wave over the Northeast Grand Prix this afternoon.
“It felt really good. Fast for sure,” Garcia told IMSA Radio. “It’s great to be below 50 [seconds] here. This is the fun part of it. This afternoon is going to be the complete opposite.”
Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, GTD: Patrick Long/Christina Nielsen. (Image by Jake Galstad/LAT)
Moments prior to the GTLM cars hitting the track, veteran sports car ace Patrick Long scored a valuable pole for the Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R team. The Californian set a new GT Daytona lap record (0:51.491s) as he and teammate Christina Nielsen will seek their first win of the year against stiff competition from the 3GT Lexus RC F team which placed Dominik Baumann in second (+0.137s) and Jack Hawksworth in third (+0.214s).
“The 911’s always been strong here at Lime Rock,” said Long, whose GTD season has been filled with adversity. “We’ve had a slumpy season and it reminds everyone on the crew that winds change quickly in motorsports.”
Adding to their impressive recovery story, the Paul Miller Racing team qualified fourth with Bryan Sellers in his Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (+0.347s). The GTD points leaders completed the first 20 minutes of opening practice on Friday before a fire damaged the back of the car.
Missing the final 40 minutes, plus the second session altogether, the car returned for the last one-hour practice session, but went into qualifying with less than half the track time of its rivals.
“It was not a bad qualifying effort for us,” Sellers said. “It’s right about where we thought we’d be. We’d hope to be a little bit faster, but we just don’t have the outright speed as some of the other cars. We have a really good car over the race distance, so I hope that plays into our favor for the race. We’re in a good position to race, and that’s all we can ask for. Now we’ll do a few last-minute changes and tweaks to get it where we want and we’ll see how the two hours and 40 minutes unfold.”
UP NEXT: Lime Rock IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Race, 3:00 p.m. ET