Cameron leads Acura front-row sweep of Petit Le Mans qualifying

Richard Dole/Motorsport Images

Cameron leads Acura front-row sweep of Petit Le Mans qualifying


Cameron leads Acura front-row sweep of Petit Le Mans qualifying


Dane Cameron turned in a quick lap with two minutes remaining in Friday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying to bump Acura Team Penske teammate Ricky Taylor from the pole for Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

Cameron had a best lap of 1m08.412s in the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 DPi, bumping Taylor in the No. 7 Acura by 0.094s. Like each of the other classes, it broke the track record.

“Sure, we have a team rivalry, but it’s I a good way,” said Cameron after winning his second consecutive — and 14th IMSA — pole. “We have a lot of fun in our group. It’s a really great team, and we’re always learning from each other. That’s why our team is so strong right now. We’ve got four really high-caliber drivers who can find the maximum bits here and there. It’s been back and forth, and it always feels good when you’re able to get it over your buddies.”

Felipe Nasr was third, two tenths back in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, followed by Harry Tincknell, +0.224s in the No. 55 Mazda DPi, and Ryan Briscoe, +0.438s in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac.

Patrick Kelly led LMP2, at 1m11.590s in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07-Gibson. Rob Hodes was second, +01.571s back in the No. 51 Inter Europol Competition ORECA.

“As crazy as it sounds, I learned here last month to be a little bit more patient with the car,” said Kelly, who also captured the pole here in September. “I was really rushing it when I first came here.”

Garcia came on strong late to secure GTLM honors for Corvette. Richard Dole/Motorsport Images

Antonio Garcia turned a GTLM class track-record lap of 1m15.163s to reclaim the pole for Corvette Racing. BMW Team RLL sat out the first half of the session before Connor De Phillippi set then-fast time of 1m14.434s on his first flying lap in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE. Garcia bounced back, running another flag lap to win his fifth pole of the season by +0.271s.

“I’d say my first two fast laps were feeling really good,” Garcia said after taking his sixth IMSA pole. “I didn’t leave anything on the table. But, maybe a little bit. So during my cool-down lap somebody told me I lost pole by a few hundredths, so I had to go again. I really wanted that pole because I’ve lost many poles here by a thousandth or a few hundredths. Definitely, that was a perfect lap. Let’s see if this is the beginning to getting my first win here, because I’ve been waiting a long time.”

John Edwards was third, +0.181s in the No. 24 BMW, while Laurens Vanthoor was fourth in the fastest Porsche, +0.042s in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR.19. The spread from first to sixth in the class was 0.695s.

In GTD, Shinya Michimi ran a late track-record lap of 1m19.291s to score the class pole for the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing AutoNation Acura NSX GT3.

Michimi traded fast laps with Scuderia Corsa driver Westphal early in the session, before Westphal parked the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo after five laps with a best lap of 1m19.464s. The Japanese driver’s seventh lap was good enough to win the pole by +0.173s.

“I haven’t had too many IMSA starts, but I’ve been with the right team this year,” Michimi said after winning his first IMSA pole. “We’re building on our success from last month’s win here. But today was just five percent of the work — we have the whole 10 hours tomorrow.”

“I’m really proud of what Shinya did today,” said team owner Mike Shank. “I told him yesterday I believed he was capable of getting pole. He put all the right pieces together and it’s great to start out the weekend on the front row. It’s a long race and we have a lot of work to do, but I’m confident in my guys to get the job done.”

Frankie Montecalvo was third, +0.272s in the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, 0.004s quicker than Madison Snow in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3. The top nine cars were separated by 0.483s.


UP NEXT: Qualifying was the lone on-track activity for the WeatherTech Championship teams. Saturday opens with a 20-minute warm-up at 9:10 a.m. ET, with Petit Le Mans set to start at 12:40 p.m.