Two weeks after winning the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park, Dirk Mueller led the way again in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class by taking the pole position at Road America during qualifying for Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.
Mueller’s quickest time of the session was two minutes, 2.479 seconds (118.981 mph). While he, co-driver Joey Hand and the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT team are seeking their third win of the season – and their second in a row at Road America – this was the third consecutive pole for Muller at Road America.
“Having the three in a row here feels really great and I’m really thrilled and happy,” said Mueller who, with Hand, holds a one-point lead in the GTLM championship standings. “Maybe it’s because I’m German and I do like the Nordschleife (in Nurburg, Germany), that’s definitely one of my favorite places in the world. Over here, it’s definitely Road America and there’s a lot of corners and places where it looks the same.”
Yet Mueller and his team are keeping their confidence in check, given the strength of the GTLM field.
“Our class is so competitive, you never know what’s going on,” said Mueller. “We were P1 in the second practice, the Porsche was fastest in the first and BMW was fastest in the third. Sometimes you just need to dig down and focus on yourself.”
Making it a pair of Ford GTs on the front row was Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi entry. Briscoe and co-driver Richard Westbrook are also seeking their third win of the season, in addition to their teammates.
Starting third is the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen. Garcia scored the GTLM pole at Lime Rock and, following three straight runner-up finishes, the No. 3 team is more than eager for its first win of the season.
Long Secures Second Consecutive GTD Motul Pole Award for Wright Motorsports Porsche
Patrick Long only needed seven and a half minutes at Road America to secure the Motul Pole Award in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.
In the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3 R, Long posted his quickest time of two minutes, 6.593 seconds (115.115 mph) immediately before a full-course caution was called after the No. 51 Squadra Corse Garage Italia Ferrari 488 GT3 of Francesco Piovanetti, wound up in the gravel in Turn 12 of the four-mile course.
The field went back to green with three minutes remaining, yet Long and the Wright Motorsports team elected not to return to track. His time held for the duration of the 15-minute qualifying session, ultimately taking back-to-back pole positions after scoring the top qualifying spot at Lime Rock Park two weeks ago.
The red flag played a big part,” said Long, who co-drives the No. 58 Porsche with Christina Nielsen. “The key was getting our lap in early. We didn’t plan on the probability of yellow or red in qualifying. But because of the increased heat since this morning’s Practice 3, we had pressured up and thought to maximize the peak of the tire. It was going to be a short run, so that played into our hands.”
Another team that remained in the pits following the caution flag was Dominik Baumann in the No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3. Baumann posted a time of 2:06.850 during the first half of the session and will start alongside Long in second place with co-driver Kyle Marcelli.
The top five cars in the GTD starting lineup consisted of five different manufacturers. The championship-leading No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers will start third; the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 of Cooper MacNeil and Alessandro Pier Guidi will start fourth; and fifth will be the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ben Keating at Jeroen Bleekemolen.
WeatherTech Racing to Start Fourth in GTD
Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and new comer Alessandro Pier Guidi (Italy) will start the WeatherTech Racing Ferrari from fourth on the GTD grid for tomorrow’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.
MacNeil had the controls of the Scuderia Corsa prepared No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari for the 15-minute qualifying session at the 4-mile road course known as the National Park of Speed. Considered as his home track, MacNeil was able to post a time of 2:07.317 that will have him starting from the second row in GTD for tomorrow’s 2:30 p.m. ET start.
“It was a solid qualifying effort to get the WeatherTech Ferrari up to P4, which is a good result for today,” MacNeil said. “The Scuderia Corsa team has been working really hard and Alessandro has brought some good feedback on the car. There is a lot of analyzing of the data going on from multiple angles. We are going to push hard for the win tomorrow.”
Pier Guidi is enjoying his first visit to Road America.
“The track is really nice,” Pier Guidi said. “It is the first time for me here at Road America. I really like the quick corners. I especially like the section beginning with the entry to the Carousel and the run right up through the last turn.”
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing
BMW Team RLL Qualifies Sixth and Seventh at Road America; Krohn
Demonstrating renewed performance this weekend, BMW Team RLL was unable to improve on its first and fourth place morning practice times and will start the IMSA Continental Tire Road Race Showcase from the sixth and seventh GTLM class positions following today’s 15-minute GTLM class qualifying session.
Jesse Krohn qualified the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE sixth with a time of 2:03.331 minutes on his fifth lap of the classic 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America circuit. With a 2:03.645 minute time set on his third lap, Alexander Sims qualified the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE seventh. The pole position was won by the No. 66 Ford GT and the entire GTLM field was separated by only 1.194 seconds. Krohn will share the No. 24 M8 with John Edwards and Sims will co-drive the No. 25 M8 with Connor De Phillippi.
Bobby Rahal, Team Principal said, “Obviously we would like to be a little closer to the front, but as these races have proven, it doesn’t really matter where you start. The race tends to take on a different shape than qualifying because of the high speed nature of Road America. So far so good, but we need to make the cars a little better. We’ll debrief shortly to figure out what it is we need.”
Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P6): “This afternoon we didn’t have the pace we had earlier. Our competitors found more speed that we couldn’t match. We look closely at the data and make improvements for the race tomorrow.”
Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P7): “The car felt fairly sensible, but for some reason the lap time didn’t come. We were just lacking performance versus this morning’s practice. I’m not sure if other’s improved or if we went backward. After a review of the data I’m sure we’ll find the answers.”
Porsche 911 RSR starts from second grid row
On the legendary Road America racetrack in the US state of Wisconsin, the best Porsche 911 RSR qualified on fourth. In the 15-minute qualifying session of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, Belgium’s Laurens Vanthoor turned his fastest lap in a time of 2:03.114 minutes. Nick Tandy from Great Britain planted the #911 sister car on the eighth spot in the hotly contested GTLM qualifying on the 6.515-kilometre racetrack. In North America’s premier sports car championship, Vanthoor and the New Zealander Earl Bamber share the cockpit for Sunday’s race. For round eight of the season, Tandy shares driving duties with his teammate Patrick Pilet from France.
In the GTD class, Porsche works driver Patrick Long (USA) celebrated his second pole position of the season for Wright Motorsports. He is joined in the cockpit for the race by Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen (DK). The second ca. 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R is fielded by Park Place Motorsports, for whom drivers Patrick Lindsey and Porsche factory driver Jörg Bergmeister qualified on P6.
The race takes off on Sunday at 13.35 hrs local time (20.35 hrs CEST) and is contested over 2:40 hours. The race can be viewed via live streaming and live timing on http://www.imsa.com.
Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “In fourth we were a little off the leader, but I’m not concerned about this. The car was good, the balance was right. I managed to turn a good lap and I’m satisfied with fourth place.”
Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “We’d actually already anticipated we wouldn’t be on the first grid row. Still, it’s frustrating. It simply didn’t work for us. We didn’t have the perfect setup for qualifying. Now we have to take a close look so that we’re better prepared for the race.”
Pascal Zurlinden, Director GT Factory Motorsport: “Our qualifying wasn’t the strongest. The result is somewhat disappointing for us. We still have some work to do and now we need to focus on the race.”
1. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 2:02.479 minutes
2. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 2:02.650 minutes
3. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 2:02.746 minutes
4. Vanthoor/Bamber (B/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, 2:03.114 minutes
5. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 2:03.170 minutes
6. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 2:03.331 minutes
7. Sims/De Phillippi (GB/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 2:03.645 minutes
8. Tandy/Pilet (GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 2:03.673 minutes
1. Long/Nielsen (USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 2:06.593 minutes
2. Marcelli/Baumann (CAN/A), Lexus RC F GT3, 2:06.850 minutes
3. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 2:07.226 minutes
4. MacNeil/Jeannette (USA/USA), Ferrari 488 GT3, 2:07.317 minutes
5. Keating/Bleekemolen (USA/NL), Mercedes-AMG GT3, 2:07.561 minutes
6. Lindsey/Bergmeister (USA/D), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 2:07.944 minutes
7. Legge/Parente (GB/P), Acura NSX GT3, 2:08.280 minutes
8. Foley/Auberlen (USA/USA), BMW M6 GT3, 2:08.402 minutes
9. Potter/Lally (USA/USA), Audi R8 LMS GT3, 2:08.947 minutes
10. Marks/Aschenbach (USA/USA), Acura NSX GT3, 2:12.272 Minuten
11. Hawksworth/Heinemeier Hansson (GB/DK), Lexus RC F GT3
12. Piovanetti/Negri (USA/BR), Ferrari 488 GT3
Cadillac Racing Team Konica Minolta to Start Fourth at Road America
Cadillac V-Performance Racing team Konica Minolta Cadillac will start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase from the second-row tomorrow. The Mustang Sampling Cadillac will start seventh with the Whelen Engineering Cadillac going away from the grid in ninth.
Renger Van Der Zande had the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R for the 15-minute qualifying session around the 4-mile, 14-turn undulating Road America circuit. He was able to post a time of 1:52.430 that will have him and Jordan Taylor starting from the second row for the 2:30 p.m. ET green flag.
“Qualifying was OK – I gave everything and I think this was the maximum possible,” Van Der Zande said. “I tried a few other things – like out braking myself here, brake a bit deeper there, go throttle earlier, change around a little bit of the style – which worked out really well at some points for lap two, and by lap three the tires were used up. So, I think it was a very short window as far as where we could do the lap time. We’ll make it a nice race tomorrow.”
Joao Barbosa is back in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R after recovering from a cycling accident. He put in a lap of 1:52.867 that will have he and Filipe Albuquerque starting seventh.
“It feels really good to be back and driving again,” Barbosa said.
“The splint or my wrist isn’t bothering me too much, so everything is going very well on that side. The qualifying run was really practice for the race since we did the best we could. We are learning a little bit every session. I think I got everything I could from the car during qualifying. We have a better race car than a qualifying car. We will have to explore the track, the set-up, tires, and the car to see if we can get it done.”
In the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R Eric Curran drove to a lap time of 1:53.257 that will have him and teammate Felipe Nasr starting ninth.
“Overall, I think we have a really good Whelen Cadillac for the race tomorrow,” Curran said. “This place is a tough race track and it’s all about how your car is going to be on the long run during the race. I think we are in a really good place with the car for a long run. I just kept banging off the same laps for the entire 15-minutes so that is a good sign of what type of car we have tomorrow. We aren’t the fastest, but we still have a fast Whelen Cadillac that you will be looking for at the end of the runs which is where we really need to be quick.”
Source. Kyle hura/Cadillac Racing
Paul Miller Racing to Start Third at Road America Road Race Showcase
Following a shortened qualifying session at the Continental Tire SportsCar Championship, Paul Miller Racing, the GTD points leaders, will start third in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.
Madison Snow ran the qualifying stint for the No. 48 Total Lubricants/UIS Lamborghini Huracán GT3, setting the third fastest lap time in the fifteen minute session. A Ferrari’s contact with a wall halfway through the session used up five of the remaining minutes. The competitors in the twelve car field were able to complete one final lap, locking in the starting grid for Sunday’s race.
Snow and co-driver Bryan Sellers hold a ten point lead over the No. 86 Acura of Katherine Legge, having finished in the top four in all six races to date this season. The battle for the points resumes at Sunday’s green flag, with live coverage on FS1 starting at 1:35PM Central. IMSA Radio will also offer live audio coverage all day, starting with the 8:30AM warm up session. For all event information, visit imsa.com.
Qualified P3 | Best time of 2:07.226
Qualifying in third is a good spot for us. I had a faster lap going when the red flag came out, but at the end, it could have saved us from anyone else who had a faster lap. It’s the best we’ve placed on the time sheets so far this weekend. We definitely have a good race car even through we’re not first in qualifying, we’re still up near the front.
That was a good qualifying effort from Madison. Luckily it’s a lot better than what we thought we were going to do. We made some changes before qualifying, and it looks like those improved the car. He was able to get a lap in early, which was very beneficial for us. Now we’ll focus forward on what we need to do to make sure we have a good car for the race.
Source. Paul Miller Racing
CORVETTE RACING AT ROAD AMERICA: SECOND, THIRD ROWS IN GTLM QUALIFYING
Corvette Racing’s two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs will line up astern Sunday for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America after Saturday’s qualifying session for GT Le Mans (GTLM) cars in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The yellow Corvettes found themselves on the second and third rows in class following the 15-minute session. Antonio Garcia qualified third in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R with a lap of 2:02.746 (118.722 mph), followed closely by Oliver Gavin in fifth place with a lap of 2:03.170 (118.314 mph) in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette.
The qualifying results are the best for Corvette Racing at Road America since 2015, and spirits are quietly confident heading into Sunday’s race. The top five cars qualified within 0.691 seconds, which bodes well for the team’s chances for an eighth class victory at the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course – and 100th in IMSA competition.
The GTLM Driver’s Championship is a tight battle entering Road America. Garcia and Jan Magnussen stand second and are one point out of the championship lead with four races to go. Gavin and Tommy Milner are fifth but just 13 points back; they won in class two years at Road America.
Chevrolet remains second in Manufacturer points – 11 back with four races remaining.
The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase is set for 1:35 p.m. CT with FOX Sports 1 airing the race live. Streaming in-car footage along with live audio coverage of practice, qualifying and the race from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.
ANTONIO GARCIA, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED THIRD IN GTLM: “It wasn’t a bad session. I think we can be happy with the results. Second and fourth was very optimistic. I almost did three identical laps. Considering how good the car was in the last practice, I think we have a good Corvette for the race. The 66 and 67 typically show very good race pace as well, so we need to be a little more clever than them perhaps and see where that puts us. That is our target. We are in a good spot again. We’re fighting the two cars ahead of us for the championship so the battle is on.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED FIFTH IN GTLM: “I’m a little frustrated that the session didn’t go a little better. We’ve been working on the car and finding the quick way around here. I was on a good enough lap to be right up there with what Antonio had done but I lost the car into the last corner on that lap, and I never could get it back to that point. That seems to be a common theme for us this year; we can get the car to perform for a lap but can’t hold it at that point. You have to hit it exactly right, and if you don’t then you’re not at the sharp end. The good news is that we usually race better than we qualify. So we’re eyes forward and hopefully moving up the order tomorrow.”
Source. Corvette Racing
Action Express Racing Seventh and Ninth on Continental Tire Showcase Grid
Looking to add to the team’s strong record at the revered Wisconsin track, Action Express Racing will start Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase (2:30 PM live FS1 broadcast) from seventh and ninth on the grid. The team currently holds the two top positions in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing DPi-V.R of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr enjoys a one-point advantage over the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Filipe Albuquerque, who is welcoming his co-driver Joao Barbosa back to action after Barbosa saw his streak of 120 consecutive IMSA starts end following an injury in training.
Barbosa was put straight to work on Saturday as he took the controls for the 15-minute qualifying session and was able to set a quick lap early on and then keep a consistent run through a series of laps on the 4-mile track to secure 7th on the grid with a fast lap time of 1:52.867-seconds.
“It feels really good to be back and driving again,” said Barbosa. “The splint for my wrist isn’t bothering me too much so everything is going very well on that side. The qualifying run was really practice for the race since we did the best we could. We are learning a little bit every session. I think I got everything I could from the car during qualifying. We have a better race car than a qualifying car. We will have to explore the track, the setup, tires, and the car to see if we can get it done.”
The team has a celebrated history at the track with six podium finishes including three victories at the picturesque Wisconsin circuit including two for the Whelen Engineering Racing squad as they look to build an advantage on the field with another big result on Sunday following Curran’s quick time of 1:53.257-seconds.
“Overall, I think we have a really good Whelen Cadillac for the race tomorrow,” said Curran. “This place is a tough race track and it’s all about how your car is going to be on the long run during the race. I think we are in a really good place with the car for a long run. I just kept banging off the same laps for the entire 15 minutes so that is a good sign of what type of car we have tomorrow. We aren’t the fastest, but we still have a fast Whelen Cadillac that you will be looking for at the end of the runs which is where we really need to be quick.
Source. Sunday Group