In a session in which every driver broke the old DPi qualifying record around Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Tom Blomqvist broke it by the most to claim the Motul Pole Award for Sunday’s Chevrolet Grand Prix, Round 7 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Blomqvist’s 1m04.394s lap (137.47mph) in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian Acura was more than a second quicker than the old 1m5.542s record, set by Colin Braun in the Nissan DPi during IMSA’s last visit to CTMP in 2019. In fact, it was the fastest lap in WeatherTech Championship history, besting the 136.79mph lap turned by Oliver Jarvis at Daytona International Speedway in 2019.
Blomqvist may have made history, but in his eyes it wasn’t exactly fun.
“We’ve just been chipping away all year long, you know; going down a direction with our car which we feel like it’s been getting better and better,” Blomqvist said after qualifying. “But the high-speed and bumpy nature of this track made it really, really difficult out there, especially those stupid-fast corners like Turns 1 and 2. I wasn’t really confident that we could get the job done, to be honest, over the No. 10. It was more a case of just putting any common sense out the window and just just going for it because it was a proper wild ride. To be honest, I had a few moments where I thought I wasn’t going to make it back to the pits, so I’m thankful I did.”
Ricky Taylor put the first quick time on the board and improved it to sit at the top of the timesheets for most of the session until Blomqvist put in his flyer with just under five minutes left in the 15-minute qualifying. He ended up just 0.068s shy of Blomqvist and will start the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura on the outside of the front row. Tristan Vautier was the best of the Cadillacs, putting the No. 5 JDC-Miller Motorsports car in third with a 1m4.895s lap to start on the inside of the second row, with Alex Lynn in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac on the outside.
Sebastien Bourdais, who had tied Blomqvist’s fast time at the top of the first practice session, had a qualifying to forget, spinning in the second part of Moss corner and never posting a time even as quick as this morning’s practice, and will start the No. 01 CGR Cadillac last among the DPi entries, outside Olivier Pla in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac.
The best battle for qualifying supremacy among the GTD cars didn’t actually matter except for bragging rights. With GTD PRO And GTD qualifying together, Frankie Montecalvo, in the No, 12 VasserSullivan Lexus GTD entry, and Mathieu Jaminet, in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports GTD PRO Porsche 911 GT3R, kept trading top times throughout the session. Jaminet ended up 0.165s quicker than Montecalvo to claim the GTD PRO and overall GTD pole with a 1m15.468s lap — a 117.30mph average speed. With Pfaff based less than an hour away, this is an important race for them to win, and not just to keep Jaminet and Matt Campbell’s lead in the GTD Pro championship.
“I think it’s a big race for everyone. For the team it’s the most important race of the year,” Jaminet said. “The message was clear after Daytona: If we have to win another race in the season it must be Mosport. Today they gave me a great car; I drove a great lap. So it’s a good start to the weekend. But let’s see what the race brings.”
With Montecalvo the fastest of the GTD cars at 1m15.633s, he’ll start alongside Jaminet with a bit of a buffer to the other GTD cars, because the second row will be occupied by GTD PRO cars. Montecalvo says CTMP is probably his favorite track – and the place he earned his first professional racing podium finish – and that helps when it comes to being fast.
“It just helps a lot when you kind of mesh with a track and you just get into a rhythm. It helps you get to speed a lot sooner, for me to just get out there and zone out and just put a good lap in,” Montecalvo said.
Alex Riberas qualified the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage second in GTD PRO and third overall with a 1m15.890s lap. Jordan Taylor will be outside Riberas in the No. 3 Corvette, having missed second by only 0.065s.
Roman De Angelis will start right behind his Heart of Racing teammate on the inside of the third row in the No. 27 GTD Aston Martin, with the GTD PRO BMW M Team RLL M4 of John Edwards outside.
Madison Snow was the third-quick GTD qualifier in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4, 0.007s shy of Edwards and 0.042s off of De Angelis’s time. Russell Ward in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG will line up next to Snow as the fourth GTD qualifier.
VasserSullivan had a bit of drama with its No. 14 GTD PRO car. Ben Barnicoat crashed the Lexus RC F that he’ll share with Kamui Kobayashi in this morning’s practice session, leaving the car with suspension damage in addition to crunched bodywork. The team made the repairs, rolled the car through tech minutes before qualifying was to start, and discovered they were out of compliance in ride height. A quick adjustment, and the car rolled back through tech in the clear. Barnicoat then qualified the car fifth in GTD PRO.
Gar Robinson and Jarett Andretti were neck-and-neck for quick lap in LMP3 qualifying, at one point only 0.008s apart, until Andretti put in an impressive lap a quarter-second faster in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier; a 1m13.102s (121.10mph). Robinson responded with a lap quicker than his previous best in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier, but only closed to 0.072s back.
Ari Balogh was more than half a second back in the No. 30 Jr III Racing Ligier to qualify third, with Jon Bennett starting outside the second row in the No. 54 CORE Autosport Ligier.
UPDATE: After setting the fastest LMP3 time in qualifying, Jarett Andretti will start at the rear of the six-car field in tomorrow’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Chevrolet Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
The No. 36 Andretti Autosport Ligier was found to have a non-compliant suspension part. Moving the No. 36 to the back promotes the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier of Gar Robinson and Scott Andrews to the pole.