Vanthoor leads Porsche sweep in record Lime Rock qualifying

Image by Richard Dole/LAT

Vanthoor leads Porsche sweep in record Lime Rock qualifying


Vanthoor leads Porsche sweep in record Lime Rock qualifying


Laurens Vanthoor captured his first pole in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition on Saturday morning, leading the Porsche GT Team to a front-row sweep for today’s Northeast Grand Prix.

Vanthoor’s best lap was a track-record 49.133s in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, edging teammate Nick Tandy by 0.052s.

“Finally!” Vanthoor said. “Everybody was always laughing at me for having the record for most second places in qualifying, and I had to take all their jokes. I love qualifying a lot — it’s important for me personally, and I’m so happy one finally worked out.”

Porsche’s pole came as no surprise. Tandy led two of Friday’s three practice sessions, while Vanthoor edged his teammate in a 20-minute practice immediately before qualifying.

“Nick is on top of his game lately, and he’s hard to beat,” Vanthoor said. “[Co-driver] Earl [Bamber] and myself have pulled some hair watching him. I tried everything I could; we made some changes to the car following warm-up, and everything worked out well. Here we are!”

Connor De Phillippi was next, at 49.322s in the BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTLM. He will be joined on the second row by Dirk Muller, at 49.458s in the No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT.

Corvette Racing — given the best pre-qualifying shot at beating the Porsches — swept the third row. Antonio Garcia was fifth in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R, edging Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 by 0.058s.

The eight GTLM competitors were separated by 0.731s.

With temperatures already nearing 90 degrees, the heat — and resulting tire degradation — will be on everyone’s mind in today’s race on the 1.474-mile circuit. A year ago, the top GTLM competitors completed 178 laps in the two-hour, 40-minute race. By comparison, the GTLM winner finished 195 laps three weeks ago in the Sahlen’s Six Hours at Watkins Glen International.

Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 of Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman. Image by Jake Galstad/LAT.

Trent Hindman captured the GTD pole with a track-record lap of 51.456s in the championship-leading No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3, erasing the mark set in 2018 by Pat Long in a Porsche.

“My lap was a litter sketchier than I wanted, but I’ll take it,” said Hindman, following his third GTD pole position of the season. “I was trying to get every ounce out of it in the morning warm-up just before qualifying, and everything felt really good. That really put the pressure on — there was no excuse for qualifying, and I’m glad we pulled through.

“This is all down to the work of the Meyer Shank Racing crew and Honda HPD Acura — they really helped me get this done today. Everyone’s fighting the same things here, but that’s where having the best team in the paddock comes in. Our guys were able to mitigate the effects of the heat and track conditions. I’m grateful to be part of a great team.”

Ben Keating was second at 51.482s in the No. 33 Wynns Riley Motorsport Mercedes-AMG, followed by Corey Lewis, with a 51.532s in the defending race-winning No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

The 13 GTD competitors were separated by a mere 0.78s.


UP NEXT: The Michelin Pilot Challenge will race for two hours beginning at 11:10 a.m. The two-hour, 40-minute Northeast Grand Prix starts at 3:10 p.m. A delayed same-day broadcast on NBCSN begins at 9:30 p.m. ET.