Acura Team Penske’s two young stars locked out the front row for Sunday’s 2h40m IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America. Ricky Taylor was the pace-setter in his Acura ARX-05 with a best lap of 1m49.061s, while teammate Dane Cameron was fast enough to take second, but wasn’t particularly close (+0.318s) in the sister ARX-05.
“It’s been a great weekend for Acura Team Penske and it’s nice to cement the strength of our ARX-05 prototypes today in winning the pole position, and doing it in a 1-2 fashion,” Taylor said. “Both cars have been really fast this weekend. We keep swapping the top spot on the charts.
“Road America is a track that fits the package on these cars so well, so we were hoping to come out of the box strong to get our season back on track a bit. We’ve done that to this point, but we need to continue to execute in the race the way we have so far this weekend.”
Mazda Motorsport’s Harry Tincknell was the closest challenger to the Acuras with his Mazda RT24-P (+0.546s), and had the sister driven by Tristan Nunez directly behind (+1.059s) to secure the second row for Mazda. Wayne Taylor Racing’s Ryan Briscoe was first among the Cadillac DPi-V.R contingent in fifth (+1.1155s).
DPi and LMP2 qualifying met a premature end when Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr went off course with approximately four minutes left in the session. The Brazilian held fifth in DPi at the time, but with the penalty for causing a red flag factored in, his Cadillac DPi-V.R was demoted to seventh.
The Patrick Kelly show continued in LMP2 where the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports driver was in a class of his own (1m54.474s) once again. DragonSpeed’s Henrik Hedman (+0.953s) was closest in an identical ORECA 07-Gibson, and Performance Tech Motorsports’ Cameron Cassels (+2.491s) completed the top three.
The Porsche GT Team fought with Corvette Racing for GT Le Mans pole position honors, and at the end of the 15-minute battle, Porsche’s Laurens Vanthoor (2m00.590s) had edged Corvette’s Jordan Taylor with his 911 RSR by a comfortable margin (+0.264s).
Corvette’s Oliver Gavin claimed third, a fraction slower than Taylor’s C8.R (+0.314s)
“I think qualifying here is always joyful for the drivers,” Vanthoor said. “Everyone knows the track and its always challenging. We weren’t really happy with how things were going with FP2 and the qualy sims, so we did a little bit of brainstorming after that. Obviously, it shows our engineering did the right decisions. The car was good.”
AIM Vasser Sullivan’s hot streak continued in qualifying as Aaron Telitz led teammate Frankie Montecalvo in a 1-2 for the RCF GT3s. Telitz’s monster lap of 2m06.251s was well clear of Montecalvo (+0.787s) and Compass Racing’s Corey Fergus, who qualified third in his McLaren 720S GT3 (+1.014s).
“It feels great to be home,” said Telitz. “This is my home track, my home state, and all of my fans are out cheering me on. I can feel that energy. It’s just awesome. I love Road America and everything about it. I’m glad to get this first pole position for myself, and I’m glad to get another pole position for AIM Vasser Sullivan and Lexus.”
The other interesting story to come from GTD qualifying was Robby Foley’s run to secure fourth on the grid (+1.110s). His Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 suffered a brake failure in morning practice that battered the twin-turbo V8-powered sedan. Supreme effort from the Turner team got the car back together in time for qualifying, and, despite the lack of time to test the car after the repair work, he rallied and rewarded the hearty squad with a quality performance worthy of the second row.