Frankie Montecalvo and Ben Keating led Saturday afternoon’s respective GT Daytona and LMP2 Roar Before the Rolex 24 qualifying sessions.
The prize for topping the charts in the 15-minute sessions was first choice of pit and garage stalls when the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams return to Daytona International Speedway for the Jan. 25-26 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Series rules mandate that Silver- or Bronze-rated drivers participate in qualifying for the two pro-am divisions. In GTD, Montecalvo led a tight session that saw seven manufacturers in the top eight, running a weekend-best 1m46.754s in the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC-F GT3.
“The changing conditions we’ve had suits our Lexus well,” Montecalvo said. “The team did a phenomenal job getting our RC-F right on track from where we left off last year, and that year of experience really shows for us.
“Leading qualifying means a lot for the team,” Montecalvo went on. “It shows that we’ve learned a lot during the off-season and throughout last year. And coming out here and getting a great pit stall for the Rolex 24 means a lot for us.”
Second was Matt McMurry, just .119s behind in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3, followed by Robby Foley (No. 96 BMW M6 GT3), Brandon Gdovic (No. 47 Lamborghini Huracan GT3) and Trent Hindman (No. 86 Acura).
In a back-and-forth LMP2 session, Keating prevailed with a weekend-best lap of 1m38.056s in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07-Gibson.
“Everybody at PR1 really got the car sorted,” Keating said. “It’s nice to get in a car that’s had a season or two to get sorted out, and all I’ve got to do is hop in and drive.
“I really love driving the P2,” Keating continued. “I feel it suits my driving style maybe even better than the GT car. Who doesn’t enjoy having more grip and more power?!”
Henrik Hedman was second in the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA, followed by Kyle Masson in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA.
UP NEXT: A one-hour night session begins at 7 p.m.