Acura Team Penske scored a 1-2 sweep at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in qualifying for today’s Hyundai Sports Car Championship.
Juan Pablo Montoya led the DPi field with a lap of 1m15.174 in the No. 6 Acura ARX-05, 0.159s better than teammate Helio Castroneves in the No. 7 Acura.
“We have a pretty good car, but we were struggling a bit with the balance,” said Montoya after his third career pole. “I took my time building the tires up. As it gets hotter, the peak of the tire gets narrower, so I wanted to make sure the front tires were working. When I felt a good balance, I had two laps. I got a decent lap in, and then I got a real good lap together. I tried to cool them down and then push again, but they never came back.”
It was the third consecutive pole for the No. 6 Acura, and fifth in a row for Acura Team Penske.
“I think it’s going to be either by real quiet or real crazy,” Montoya said looking ahead to today’s event. “I think after what happened in practice with the No. 7 car and the No. 31, I’m inclined to think it will be a quiet and calm race. I think everybody understands the consequences. At the end, everybody still wants to beat the No. 10 car.”
“Qualifying is hugely important for this track, because it’s really difficult to pass here,” said Dane Cameron, who co-drives with Montoya. “Hopefully we can have ourselves a nice day, and get ourselves a win.”
Oliver Jarvis settled for third, parking the No. 77 Mazda RT-24P early, +0.237s, followed by Pipo Derani, +0.246s in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R.
With the lone LMP2 car in the field, Patrick Kelly claimed another pole with a lap of 1m19.598s in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07-Gibson.
— IMSA (@IMSA) November 1, 2020
Jordan Taylor captured his fourth pole of the season 14th of his career — setting the GTLM track record in the process — turning a lap of 1m21.483s in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R.
“I think we’ve got a competitive car — we saw that right out of the box,” Taylor said. “We led both practice sessions and now qualifying. The car is definitely quick and has pace. I think the race is going to be a much different story with tire degradation and stuff like that, so we wanted to get track position so we went for it in qualifying.”
Laurens Vanthoor survived a drive through the dirt exiting Turn 2 to qualify second, 0.242s back in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR-19. Oliver Gavin was third, +0.370s in the No. 4 Corvette, followed by Bruno Spengler, +0.571s in the No. 24 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE.
The No. 911 Porsche of Fred Makowiecki got a late start to the session, and failed to turn a competitive lap.
— IMSA (@IMSA) November 1, 2020
In GTD, Matt McMurry turned in his best lap early in the session, 1m25.126s, and then parked the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 after only four laps. That time stood up for the pole, with Robby Foley coming up 0.014s shy in the No. 96 Turned Motorsport BMW M6 GT3.
“It was a tough one, because the tire degradation is so bad here that you really have to get it done on one lap,” McMurry said. “Any more, and you’re just screwing yourself for the race.”
Cooper MacNeil was third fastest in the No. 63 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GT3, +0.192s, while Misha Goikhberg was +0.300s in the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Acura NSX GT3.
Aaron Telitz will be forced to start 11th in the 13-car GTD field after pitting after only three laps with a deflating right-rear tire. However, Telitz and Jack Hawksworth will clinch the Sprint Cup championship by virtue of starting today’s race.
UP NEXT: The two-hour, 40-minute race begins at 1:05 p.m. PT. The race streams live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. NBCSN will carry the race on a delayed basis tonight from 6:30-9:30 ET.