The Porsche GT Team drivers Fred Makowiecki and Laurens Vanthoor swapped the pole like a hot potato, trading the fast lap six times in a furious 15-minute GT Le Mans qualifying session for Saturday’s Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway while leaving the rest of the competition in their rear-view mirrors.
Makowiecki prevailed in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 with a lap of 1m40.389s, edging his teammate in the No. 912 by 0.130s.
Surprisingly, it was only Makowiecki’s second IMSA pole, and first since Sebring back in 2015.
“I haven’t come here since 2016,” Makowiecki said. “The elevation is what makes this place so special, and it’s a big pleasure to drive every lap here. But you need to respect the track, because it’s impossible to make any mistakes without payback. I tried to be conservative this morning and learn the limit of the car. Now, let’s see what we can do tomorrow. This is a good starting point.”
Late starter Connor De Phillippi grabbed the third slot on his final lap, 0.706s back in the No. 25 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE.
Jordan Taylor was fourth, 0.839s back in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R, followed by teammate Oliver Gavin, 1.273s in arrears in the No. 4 Corvette.
McLaren fastest in GTD
Corey Fergus led a competitive GT Daytona session to capture the pole with a lap of 1m45.236s in the Compass Racing No. 76 McLaren 720S GT3. It was the second pole for Fergus, who also led qualifying for the Daytona 240.
“It was a team effort,” Fergus said. “We struggled a little bit this morning. Then we had a conference call with the guys in England, with McLaren to try and figure out what was missing. We tried what we thought could work, and it seems to have worked. I came over the radio after the qualifying lap and said, ‘Guys, that’s it. I left it all out there.’ It felt good – everything was clicking.”
Robby Foley came close, only 0.074s back in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, with Frankie Montecalvo third in the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, followed by Matt McMurry in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing AutoNation Acura NSX GT3.
The lead swapped hands six times, with the top six drivers separated by .288s. Five different manufacturers were in the top five positions.
Aaron Telitz was on top four times but wound up sixth on the grid, running 1m45.524s in the No. 14 Lexus. He and co-driver Jack Hawksworth will be looking for their third victory in four races on Saturday.
The lone incident involved Rob Ferriol spinning wide at the exit of the Oak Tree corner after the checkered flag in the No. 30 Team Hardpoint Audi R8 LMS GT3, but he was able to continue without contact.
The rain that marred the noon practice session was long gone, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures of 77 degrees F.
UP NEXT: The IMSA Michelin GT Challenge is set to take the green flag at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday for two hours, 40 minutes of IMSA WeatherTech Championship GTLM and GTD racing. It airs live on TrackPass and delayed coverage airs on NBCSN following the NASCAR race this evening, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m ET, and repeats Sunday from 7:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET.