Cadillac DPi-V.R Team Konica Minolta on Pole at Laguna
Cadillac V-Performance racing team Konica Minolta Cadillac and Mustang Sampling will start the IMSA WeatherTech Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca side-by-side on the front row for tomorrow’s penultimate round of the championship. The Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R will start from the second row in fourth.
Ricky Taylor had the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R for the 15-minute qualifying session around the 2.2-mile, 11-turn road course located on the Monterey Peninsula. On his fifth flying lap, he posted a time of 1:16.853 backing up the effort he and his co-driver brother Jordan put in leading practice this morning.
Christian Fittipaldi drove the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R to a front row starting position with a time of 1:17.682. He and teammate Joao Barbosa are looking for a second win on the season.
In the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, Eric Curran posted a lap of 1:17.809 that will have him start fourth with teammate Dane Cameron.
The five-time winning Taylor brothers are on the cusp of closing out the championship on the strength of their fifth pole position of the season.
“The team knows what kind of set-up I like on the Cadillac in qualifying to go for an outright lap for the pole,” Ricky Taylor said. “I think it is about putting a full lap together. Not sure it is a good race car, but when I ran it on the edge it was good. The team knows the car well and we will put a race set-up on it to maximize tires and the grip. We are strong, but when the top guys get in the other cars, it is going to be good racing. Looking like there will be longer stints than usual, so strategy will play a big role. Our car is strong on the handling sections of the track, but not so much on outright speed.”
Winning at Watkins Glen, Fittipaldi and Barbosa are hungry for another top podium finish.
“It is a solid run,” Fittipaldi said. “It has been a long time since we’ve started on the front row. I am happy for Cadillac that their cars are starting one, two and four. I think that is a great effort by all three teams. Tomorrow is a different day. The gap in times will not be as big in the race. In the race on older tires, I think it will equal everyone out. I think the race will be tight. We have an excellent team and car. We will see what we can do tomorrow.”
Winners of the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park round, Curran and Cameron made big improvements on the car for qualifying.
“That was a pretty decent run for us, running P4,” Curran said. “I might have been able to tighten it up a little bit more and move up a couple of spots. Our Whelen Cadillac is working great. Our team made a good leap forward in qualifying from where we were in practice. There is not a huge amount of grip on this track, but the Continentals held on well throughout that run. So I am happy with the effort.”
The three Cadillac DPi-V.R teams are 1-2-3 in the driver point standings. Konica Minolta drivers Ricky and Jordan Taylor lead the points with 258, Mustang Sampling drivers Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi are second with 238 and Whelen Engineering’s Eric Curran and Dane Cameron are third with 227.
So far in 2017 Cadillac V-Performance teams have won the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona, Twelve Hours of Sebring, Long Beach, Circuit of the Americas, Detroit, Watkins Glen, and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing
WeatherTech Racing Porsche qualifies 10th at Laguna Seca
WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah) will start from the fifth row in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class for Sunday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Under sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 60s, MacNeil had the controls of the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R for the 15-minute GTD qualifying session. He set his fastest qualifying lap of 1:25.643 on his eighth circuit around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn undulating road course, which put him 10th on the GTD grid.
“The car actually felt pretty good,” MacNeil said following qualifying. “We started out struggling yesterday and hats off to the Riley/WeatherTech guys for putting in a long night last night to get our Porsche handling properly. And, they obviously did. So, we picked up a lot of speed and closed the gap between us and the other cars, especially the other Porsches. All in all, it’s positive. We’re starting from a decent spot and we’re going to race hard tomorrow.”
“Much like VIR, we started out and struggled, and every session we’ve gotten better,” Jeannette said. “Cooper did a great job in qualifying. From what we were watching, he probably had another two-tenths [left]. Given the GTD class right now, that would have moved us up about for spots. But, he still did an awesome job. He went the quickest he’s gone all weekend by about half a second. So, we’re pleased. I think we’re going to have a good race car. Hopefully everything shakes out for us tomorrow.”
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing
Best Porsche 911 RSR on third grid row
Porsche’s 911 RSR race cars will tackle the penultimate race of this season’s IMSA SportsCar Championship on the Laguna Seca Raceway from the third and fourth grid rows. In the hotly contested qualifying in the GTLM class, in which all vehicles were within almost one second, Patrick Pilet (France) posted the sixth quickest time in the #911 Porsche 911 RSR. His teammate is Dirk Werner, with whom he scored the first victory for the new 911 RSR at Lime Rock. The eighth grid spot on the 3.601-kilometre racetrack in the dunes of Monterey is occupied by Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), who shares the second 911 RSR (#912) fielded by the Porsche GT Team with Gianmaria Bruni (Italy).
In the GTD class, Porsche customer teams put in a strong performance with the 911 GT3 R: clocking the second fastest time, Alegra Motorsports takes up the race from the first grid row. Park Place Motorsports claimed the third starting position.
Marco Ujhasi, Director GT Factory Motorsports: “Once again, we used the qualifying to focus on preparing for the race. I think we had a divided field today – one half ran an aggressive setup to go for pole position, the rest concentrated on the race. We belonged to the second group and our result is in line with our expectations. Sunday will be the warmest day of the race weekend, hence we’ve prepared for this in all our practices.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “We have a good car for the race. It was obvious from the outset that we weren’t going to be among the fastest during the qualifying session. However, I think we have good chances over the race distance. Since overtaking is difficult on this track, of course we would’ve liked to have started from further up the grid. But I’m sure we’ll be able to make up some positions tomorrow.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “Actually, my lap today was almost perfect, but it wasn’t enough to land on pole. We had a hard time finding enough grip on this racetrack. However, it’ll be quite a lot warmer tomorrow, and that will change the track conditions. I hope those conditions suit us better.”
1. Fisichella/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 488 GTE, 1:21.914 minutes
2. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, + 0.242 seconds
3. Edwards/Tomczyk (USA/D), BMW M6, + 0,263
4. Auberlen/Sims (USA/GB), BMW M6, + 0,264
5. Westbrook/Briscoe (GB/USA), Ford GT, + 0,666
6. Pilet/Werner (F/D), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0,842
7. Garcia/Magnussen (E/DK), Corvette, + 0,875
8. Vanthoor/Bruni (B/I), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0,926
9. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette, + 1,095
1. Snow/Sellers (USA/USA), Lamborghini GT3, 1:24.463 minutes
2. Morad/Long (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.252 seconds
3. Bergmeister/Lindsey (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.485
10. MacNeil/Jeannette (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.174
14. Braun/Bennett (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 2.835
VISIT FLORIDA Racing to Start Third at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
VISIT FLORIDA Racing returned to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship action for its second event with the team’s new No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Gibson-powered Ligier JS P217 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the team was right up to speed with the new platform. Marc Goossens and Renger van der Zande combined to post times within the top-five in each and every practice session of the weekend ahead of Saturday’s qualifying run that saw Goossens secure third on the grid with a time of 1:17.730-seconds.
The No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Gibson-Ligier JS P217, which was just five hundredths off of a spot on the front row, will start on the inside of Row 2.
“Everybody seems to think that being on the inside for the start is a little bit of an advantage and I think it is – all the other guys around me are DPis and they seem to have a little better torque so when it goes green, I just hope I have the same speed as them going into Turn 1,” said Goossens. “Being on the inside might help there but we’ll have to wait and see. The car is getting a lot better. We still keep learning every session and we just keep improving. I don’t think that we had much more than what we had today, but I think all in all the team is doing a great job and we have a lot of support from the Ligier engineers.”
Despite having limited time to prepare the car for the California round due to flooding at the team’s race shop, the team was third quick in the very first practice session of the weekend on Friday.
“It is good motivation and reward for the VISIT FLORIDA guys and their families with what they went through with the hurricane to come here and be competitive,” added Goossens. “I dedicated my podium in Europe to everyone in Florida and I’ll do the same with this third place qualifying result. I think they had enough time to prep the car, but everyone definitely had a lot on their minds. I just enjoy being with the VISIT FLORIDA Racing team, we’re all focused in the right direction, we just have to go and get it.”
Team Owner Troy Flis is proud of team’s effort and looking forward to the 2 hour and 40 minute race on Sunday.
“It was a good run and I think we could have had even a little bit more,” said Flis. “I am really happy with how Marc (Goossens) performed. I think we have a car that is competitive to run in the top-three. Hopefully if we get a little bit of luck we can pull something out here tomorrow in the race.”
Source. Sunday Group
Michael Shank Racing Seventh on the Grid at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian is set for the America’s Tire 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca after qualifying seventh with the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 of Ozz Negri and Jeff Segal, and 11th with the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 of Katherine Legge and Andy Lally on Saturday.
The No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 showed speed throughout the three practice sessions on Friday and Saturday ahead of the 15-minute qualifying run. Segal posted the fourth fastest time in the first practice of the weekend on Friday while Negri topped the time charts in the afternoon session. The duo combined for the second quickest time during Saturday’s morning practice.
“It was a little frustrating especially, being P1 yesterday,” said Negri, who qualified the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 with a time of 1:25.518-seconds. “The car is the opposite from what it was yesterday. Yesterday we caught a lot of understeer and now today you can’t even turn the wheel and the rear just comes around on us. We have been working on it since the morning practice. After qualifying I have a pretty clear picture of what is going on. Now I am just going to dig into data and debrief with my engineer and hopefully we can get it fixed for tomorrow. We can win from any spot. Last year I think I won from P8. This is a place that I love and I have always done well here. All we need to do is fix that little bit of problem that we have with the rear. The grid is really tight and compressed and we can jump a lot of spots and I am confident we can do that.”
The No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 of Katherine Legge and Andy Lally will start the 2 hour and 40 minute event from the sixth row after Legge turned a fast lap of 1:25.800-seconds for 11th on the grid.
“Our car has changed massively and we have been struggling with the same issues,” said Legge. “So we’ll go back to the drawing boards. We haven’t been this far off all season and I’m not really sure why. We will have to figure it out and come back stronger for the race. It’s difficult from 11th because you’re right in the middle of the pack and you need to be careful. We need to start finishing some of these races and get back on the podium. To do that we need to be smart, have good strategy, and these Michael Shank Racing guys kill it in the pits. I love racing here so hopefully luck is on our side tomorrow.”
Source. Sunday Group
BMW Team RLL Split Seconds in Qualifying at Laguna Seca; Edwards – P3, Sims – P4 – one-thousandth of a second apart
Separated by only one-thousandth of one second BMW Team RLL teammates John Edwards and Alexander Sims qualified in the third and fourth GTLM class starting positions respectively for tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Salinas, Calif.
Running at the sharp end of the GTLM field for the entire 15-minute qualifying session both Edwards, driving the all-black liveried No. 24 BMW M6, and Sims, in the No. 25 M6, each took a turn at the top spot, but when the dust settled, Edwards, who shares the No. 24 car with Martin Tomczyk, ran a lap of 1:22.177 minutes around the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca circuit to score the third starting position. Sims, literally a fraction of a second behind, with a 1:22.178 minute lap, will start the No. 25 M6 from the fourth spot. Both BMWs qualified only a quarter of a second from the pole winning time of the No. 62 Ferrari. Sims and co-driver Bill Auberlen are fighting for the GTLM driver’s championship, currently standing second in points. Edwards and Tomczyk stand seventh in driver points.
“Last year we struggled here,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “One year later we are certainly in the hunt. Would we like to qualify 1-2? Sure, but we will start from a strong 3-4 after a total team effort. Both BMWs are so close in performance it’s a good thing one is black and one is white or it would be difficult to tell them apart.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM (P3): “Through the three practice sessions we made big changes to both cars. We split our strategy in the last session before qualifying. The No. 25 M6 was quicker so we changed our set-up to theirs for qualifying and it paid off. One thousandth of a second apart underlines the engineering effort behind this team. We still have a bit of work to do, but we are certainly going in the right direction.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM (P4): “I believe we can be very pleased with our effort this afternoon. The No. 25 car was strong, but the nature of this circuit makes it difficult to get one lap 100% right. We’ve certainly come a long way from the first practice session.”
CORVETTE RACING AT MONTEREY: Focus Forward to Raceday
Corvette Racing is confidently looking ahead to raceday following GT Le Mans (GTLM) qualifying for the America’s Tire 250 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Following seventh- and ninth-place efforts Saturday in time trials, the championship-winning team will bank on strategy and its experience at the circuit to move up through the field Sunday.
Jan Magnussen led Corvette Racing’s qualifying effort with a 1:22.789 (97.317 mph) lap in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. He and Antonio Garcia led the GTLM Driver’s Championship – as does Chevrolet in the Manufacturer’s standings – on the strength of three victories this year.
Oliver Gavin was ninth in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R that he shares with Tommy Milner at 1:23.009 (97.059 mph). All four Corvette Racing drivers have won multiple times at Laguna Seca, and the team has won seven times since 1999.
Corvette Racing also has proven it can win from anywhere on the grid in Monterey. Only once has it won from pole position; on the flip side Garcia and Magnussen won in 2013 after starting sixth.
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SEVENTH IN GTLM:“The balance of the car was quite similar to what we had in practice the last two days. Obviously the new tire and the low fuel was masking a little bit of that. We’re disappointed to be this far back, but the group right ahead of us is very close in lap time. We aren’t completely out of it but we will have a race on our hands, that’s for sure.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED NINTH IN GTLM: “So far this weekend we’ve been working away with Michelin and on the setup of our car. We are getting closer with it, but for this qualifying session we definitely went with the strategy of thinking about the race and nothing about where we could be in qualifying. Hopefully, that is going to pay dividends tomorrow. Starting seventh and ninth is not ideal, but it is a long race here. We are going to see some pretty big tire degradation and some big lap time drop-off. This place is aggressive for that. So we just have to wait and see whether our strategy plays out or that of our competitors. We are confident in the research we’ve done and what we’ve done so far. So eyes forward and we will see what tomorrow brings.”
Source. Corvette Racing