A late night by the Acura Team Penske paid off with the pole position for Saturday’s 67th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Dane Cameron will lead the field to the green flag after capturing the pole on Friday with a track-record lap of 1m45.865s in the No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05 DPi.
“We had to fix an electrical gremlin we had chased throughout the day,” said Cameron, who won his third Sebring pole but first overall. “It was one of those things that was buried in the middle of the car, and you had to pull the whole thing apart to get to it. And we had night practice, so it wasn’t until after 10p.m. that we started getting to it and the guys worked until 2 a.m.”
Cameron’s first flying lap proved to be the pole winner.
“It’s a little different on the Michelin tires this year,” Cameron said. “Before, it typically took a few laps to get to the sweet spot. But Michelin really comes on quick on a warm day like this, and has a lot of grip on the first two laps. We tried to bang in a good lap early. I made a few mistakes on the first few turns on my second lap, but the first one was good enough – and I was quite surprised.”
Tristan Nunez qualified second in the No 77 Mazda Team Joest RT-24P. His lap of 1m46.011s was identical to the time turned in by Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Penske Acura, with the Mazda taking the front-row position by virtue of having turned the time earlier in competition.
Filipe Albuquerque will start fourth in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, edging Action Express Racing teammate Pipo Derani, fifth in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac, 1m46.354s.
The top nine qualifiers beat Tristan Vautier’s year-old DPi track mark of 1m47.432s.
Patrick Pilet led a Porsche GT Team sweep of the top two positions in GT Le Mans. Pilet ran a lap of 1m55.899s in the No.911 Porsche 911 RSR, closely followed by Laurens Vanthoor, 1m56.042s in the No. 912.
“My last pole was a long time ago at COTA,” said Pilet, whose lone previous pole came in 2015. “My car was well balanced. We were struggling at the beginning of the weekend, but the team made a few adjustments. We improved at every session, and since last night the car works pretty good.”
Pilet and co-drivers Nick Tandy and Frederic Makowiecki return as defending GTLM winners at Sebring.
“We won here last year and our goal is quite simple – to win here again this year,” Pilet said. “Porsche has a lot of success here (95 total victories), but there’s also a lot of pressure for us also to bring back another victory. We have a good package for success this weekend.”
A Corvette and Ford will share row two. Antonio Garcia was third in the No. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R, 1m55.899s, followed by Richard Westbrook in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Ford GT, 1m56.189s.
Trent Hindman captured his first career WeatherTech Championship pole for the GT Daytona class, running a lap of 1m59.917s in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Curb Records Acura NSX GT3.
“This is a result of the long hours the team put back in the shop,” Hindman said. “They also put in long hours last night, making changes to the car.”
Robby Foley was second, 2m0.299s in the No. 96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3, followed by Zach Robichon, 2m0.505s in the rebuilt No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Fifth in GTD was Brandon Gdovic in the No. 47 Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini Huracan GT3 that sustained major damage in a incident during Thursday’s second practice session.
Matt McMurry won the LMP2 pole in the No. 52 PR1 Mathisen Motorsports ORECA Gibson, with his lap of 1m49.728s edging No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports driver Kyle Masson by a mere 0.011s. After holding the pole throughout the session, McMurry was beaten by Masson on the final lap. Determined, McMurray managed to come back for his first career pole position in a Prototype.
That was Friday’s final WeatherTech Championship on-track activity. Saturday begins with a 20-minute warm-up at 8 a.m., with the green flag set to wave at 10:40 a.m.