“There were cars everywhere,” IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship LMP2 polesitter Ben Keating said after a rain-soaked qualifying session saw multiple cars fly off the track, including himself.
“I’d be curious to know how many cars spun during that 15-minute session — there were cars everywhere and it didn’t red flag,” Keating said. Felipe Nasr, the polesitter in DPi who also went for a spin in the session chimed in to say that that total would have to include themselves as well. “It was amazing that everybody got it done.”
Conditions in the session changed throughout the 15 minutes. While the LMP3 cars were out on track, Keating explained that the PR1/Mathiasen team considered putting slick tires as the track continued to dry. Ultimately, it opted for wet tires — which turned out to be the right choice as more rain arrived in the second half of the session.
“I anticipated that we would probably have a red flag and that we probably would not have been able to finish qualifying, so I wanted to get a really good lap in early. I did one [lap] that was pretty safe just so that I knew that I would get one in,” Keating related.
“On my next lap, I tried to go a little bit quicker and going into Turn 3 I lost the car, went into the grass — my splitter, my front tires, everything was in the gravel. If I had slick tires on I would have been done, I wouldn’t have had enough grip in the wet grass to get of there but because we had rain tires on I had just enough grip to pull myself out of the gravel,” Keating explained.
If similar conditions arrive for tomorrow’s race — as they care forecasted to — it could be a wild ride for the drivers, Keating believes.
“I would say, you know, if you get all the cars out there’s going to be a yellow flag every lap. It’s going to take a while with that many cars out there, with that close-quarters racing.”