A quick sprint to earn overall pole for tonight’s GT-only IMSA race on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval rewarded the bravery demonstrated by Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor, who hurled the No. 3 Corvette C8.R around the rolling circuit while dueling with Porsche’s Fred Makowiecki.
Taylor’s top lap time (1m14.278s) was just enough to keep the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR at bay (+0.056s), and a considerable distance from Bruno Spengler’s No. 25 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE (+0.452s) in third.
In what could be a preview of the 100-minute raced scheduled for 8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN, the Porsche GT Team suffered a loss minutes after GTLM qualifying got underway when Lauren Vanthoor clobbered the wall in his No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, which brought out a red flag to retrieve his battered car.
Adding to the contact-friendly routine on the wall-lined Roval, the GT Daytona class maintained a three-session streak of triggering a red flag approximately halfway through the proceedings. Oddsmakers could profit from predicting how many of the 18 cars in the field will make it to the finish, and how many will reach the checkered flag unblemished.
“It was a stressful session,” Taylor said. “Everyone was kind of waiting and knowing that it was only going to take a couple of laps to maximize the tires and then you have a small drop-off. Most everyone was waiting toward the end to go out. We waited one or two minutes and then the red flag came out on our first timed laps. It was very poor timing for us. No one knew what they had going back out.
“Our Corvette performed really well. We haven’t done much light-fuel running; most of it has been race prep. So it really came alive. It’s been good all weekend no matter if it’s dry or wet, so whatever the weather brings tonight, we should be alright.”
Despite the GTD troubles experienced by Misha Goikhberg in the No. 57 Acura NSX GT3 and the ensuing break in activity, AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Aaron Telitz had enough time left to set multiple fast laps that left the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 on pole (1m17.954s). It was the Wisconsinite’s third pole of the 2020 season.
Turner Motorsport’s Robby Foley wasn’t far behind in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 (+0.123s), and in third, the championship-leading Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 driven by Matt McMurry (+0.137s) kept the gap to Telitz, who holds second in the standings, to a reasonable margin.
“That was the toughest qualifying session I’ve had in a while with that red flag coming out halfway through and then having to go back out and try to get the Michelin tires to turn back on there,” Telitz said. “I pushed as hard as I could with all we had. I even put some love stripes down the right side of the car coming down to the checkered flag on the last lap to get pole.”