Oliver Jarvis officially became the fastest driver in Daytona International Speedway road racing history, capturing the pole for Saturday’s Rolex 24 At Daytona with a lap of 1m33.685s in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest DPi.
Both Jarvis and Acura Team Penske’s Ricky Taylor bettered P.J. Jones’ record of 1m33.875, set back in 1993 in the All American Racers Toyota Eagle Mk III. However, Jarvis was a few ticks slower than his own unofficial mark of 1m33.398s, set in “qualifying” during the recent Roar Before the Rolex 24.
“I think the most important thing was to get the pole, but I was really surprised at the Roar how important the record was,” Jarvis said. “It was nice to get it at the Roar, but this is where it counts. In the past two weeks, I was thinking, 26 years for a record is something incredible, especially looking at the cars they achieved it in. I wasn’t sure if we would beat it after this morning’s rain.
“The record is the icing on the cake for the team, they’ve worked so hard,” he added. “There has been no off-season for this team. There was Petit Le Mans and then straight into prepping for here. The result shows the hard work back at the shop.”
Acura Team Penske took the next two positions. Taylor bettered Jones’ mark by 0.002s, running 1m33.873 in the No. 7 Acura DPi. Juan Pablo Montoya was third with a 1m34.095s in the No. 6 Acura.
Jonathan Bomarito, who was fastest in Thursday’s second practice, took fourth after a 1m34.212s in the No. 55 Mazda.
Felipe Nasr had the fastest Cadillac in fifth with a lap of 1m34.433s in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. He will be joined on the third row by Jordan Taylor, who clocked in at 1m34.479s in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.
The defending race winning No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R failed to post a time after Filipe Albuquerque radioed his crew that the power wasn’t there. The team will start at the back of the Prototype grid.
James Allen led the LMP2 class, running 1m35.904s in the No. 81 DragonSpeed ORECA Gibson.
Records fall in GTLM, GTD qualifying
Nick Tandy took the GTLM pole in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, running a lap of 1m42.257s.
“We knew the Corvette would be tough,” Tandy said. “I had a really good lap going. I had a real decent infield, lightly brushed the wall in Turn 6, and then I picked up a perfect double-tow from the two Corvettes down the front staightaway. I watched the time ticking down and down and down. It was the perfect lap, really.”
Former track record holder Jan Magnussen was second with a lap of 1m42.583s in the No. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R.
Different marques filled the top four positions, with the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT third at 1m42,634s and the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE fourth after a lap of 1m42.712s.
The nine GTLM cars were separated by only 0.982 seconds.
Marcos Gomes gave Ferrari its third consecutive GT Daytona class pole. The Brazilian stock car champion ran a lap of 1m45.257s to put the No. 13 Via Italia Ferrari 488GT3 atop the 23-car class.
“We’re really excited to be on the pole for Saturday,” Gomes said.
Ben Keating came up 0.067s short on a final charge, qualifying second in the No. 33 Wynn’s Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, with a 1m45.324s. Third went to Trent Hindman after a 1m45.396s in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3.
COMING UP: Thursday activities will conclude with a 90-minute night practice for all classes, beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The lone Friday on-track activity for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be a one-hour final practice, beginning at 10 a.m. ET.