Acura swept the front row in Saturday qualifying for the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship, with Filipe Albuquerque and Dane Cameron sweeping the top two positions. Sunday, Acura will be seeking its third consecutive victory at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Albuquerque ran a track-record lap of 1m14.441s in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05, beating Cameron in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian entry by 0.023s in the session for the DPi class. It was the first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship pole for Albuquerque, who broke Wayne Taylor Racing co-driver Ricky Taylor’s track record from 2019.
“[Pole position] means a lot, actually,” Albuquerque said. “Obviously, in endurance, it really means nothing outside the pole position or P1 because so much happens – pole position is always a pole position. I think for the ego of the driver, it’s always representing that he’s fast and he went for it. But as we’ve seen as well at Road America, I believe we didn’t win the race because we didn’t get pole.”
Kevin Magnussen was third, +0.585s in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DRi-V.R, followed by Harry Tincknell in the No. 55 Mazda DPi, +0.611s.
Ben Keating was untouchable in LMP2 qualifying, quickly going to the top by three seconds and never being challenged in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07. His best lap, 1m17.227s, was 2.646s better than second-place Dwight Merriman in the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA.
“From what I’ve always heard about Laguna, if you think your car is handling well or set up well, you’re not going fast enough,” Keating said. “I have to say PR1 really knows how to set a car up for here. It was easy to drive. It’s such a short lap around here that it really was my first chance to do some laps without traffic. Clearly our goal for the weekend is to extend our championship lead going into Petit [Le Mans]. We’d like to go into Petit with a little bit of a margin.”
Jordan Taylor broke his two-year-old qualifying record in GTLM, running 1m21.151s in the No. 3 Corvette C8.R. Tommy Milner was 0.116s back in the sister No. 4 Corvette, while Cooper MacNeil was a competitive third in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, 0.780s back.
“We were a little bit behind the 4 car all weekend,” Taylor said. “They seemed to be a little bit stronger throughout practice. We made some big changes in Practice 2 and even into qualifying to separate the two setups (for qualifying and the race). We found some things for pure laptime but I don’t think they’re going to work for a race setup. We have an idea of what we need to do for the race from a setup point of view. So it’s nice to start out front but at the same time, I think tomorrow is going to be a different picture.”
— Corvette Racing (@CorvetteRacing) September 11, 2021
GTD qualifying saw the fastest lap negated when Ross Gunn vacated the seat of the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 before the waving of the checkered flag for the GTD session for Pro drivers that awards points. Gunn had led the class with a lap of 1m23.805s. Gunn and Roman de Angelis entered the weekend tied with Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley for the lead in the GTD championship.
The penalty gave Laurens Vanthoor the pole points, running 1m23.872s in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Motul Porsche 911 GT3R, followed by Auberlen, +0.235s in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport Liqui/Moly BMW M6 GT3, and Bryan Sellers, +0.295s in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Total Lambhorghini Huracan GT3.
Earlier, Trent Hindman led the open GTD Bronze/Silver drivers in the opening session for starting position, turning a track record 1m24.505s in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R. Second was Foley, +0.063s in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, followed by Roman De Angelis, +0.086s in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin.
Both GTD sessions were under Katherine Legge’s three-year-old track mark of 1m24.456s.
UP NEXT: Sunday’s schedule opens with a 20-minute warm-up at 8:45 a.m. PT. The two-hour, 40 minute race is set to begin at 1:10 p.m. PT.