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IMSA LAGUNA SECA QUALIFYING ROUND UP

CORVETTE RACING AT LAGUNA SECA: POLE POSITION FOR GAVIN, NO. 4 CORVETTE

Oliver Gavin captured pole position Saturday for the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category ahead of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s America’s Tire 250 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. It was the first pole position at the circuit for Gavin, who will start just ahead of teammate Jan Magnussen on the GTLM grid.

Gavin set a best lap of 1:22.700 (97.421 mph) in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R for his 22nd career pole position in IMSA competition. He and Tommy Milner are fourth in the GTLM Driver Championship standings with two events to go, and they won in class together in 2012 at Monterey.

As a program, Corvette Racing has won seven times at Laguna Seca in 19 previous appearances. Sunday’s race will be its 20th start at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit near the Monterey Peninsula.

Magnussen, in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, qualified third in the GTLM Championship-leading entry he shares with Antonio Garcia. The defending GTLM co-champion set a best lap of 1:22.806 (97.297 mph) to slot in 0.106 seconds behind Gavin.

Magnussen and Garcia lead the GTLM Driver Championship by four points, and they won together in Monterey in 2013 and 2014. The No. 3 Corvette has finished on the podium in six consecutive races dating back to Mid-Ohio in May.

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – GTLM POLE-WINNER: “It’s always great to get pole position here at Laguna Seca. Thanks to everyone at Corvette Racing and the crew. It takes a massive effort from everyone on the team to get back to P1. I’m thrilled, but this is only a small step in trying to achieve what we want to achieve tomorrow, and that’s a victory. Once the green flag drops tomorrow, this is all kind of forgotten. We have a very good race car; obviously it fell in nicely for qualifying. The Corvette C7.R has been strong all year. We’ve had an amazing team, great strategy and pit stops. We just need to execute tomorrow. The competition is at an all-time high in GTLM, and to be able to beat those guys is pretty satisfying. But the real work is ahead for tomorrow.

“It’s nice to have this moment for the guys on our team. It gives everyone a nice little fill-up going into the race tomorrow. We’ll be pushing like crazy at the start and we’ll work hard tonight to make sure we have everything covered and we’re fully prepared for the race.”

JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED THIRD IN GTLM: “It was a good qualifying day for both cars and a great job for the No. 4 Corvette to get pole. It is very close at the front and a great way to start the race. I was half-expecting for it to be a lot worse, but I think both our cars hit the peak of the tire and got the best out of it. Let’s see if we can have a clean start and do what we need to do in the championship.

“With it being this close, there’s no controlling anything in the race. It’s about going and not making mistakes… running a good race and to the plan we set out to do. Everything you do matters: when you pit, how you conduct your pit stops… I’m not worried about that, though. That has always been one of our strongest points as a team.”

Source. Corvette Racing

Legge Sets New Track Record to Claim Pole for MSR

Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) driver Katherine Legge set a new GTD class track record with the No. 86 MSR Acura NSX GT3 in qualifying on Saturday to claim the Motul Pole Award for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix featuring America’s Tire 250. Legge’s 1:24.456-second lap flyer will see her start alongside the championship-leading No. 48 entry as MSR looks to make a strong close to the 2018 season.

The sister No.93 MSR Acura NSX GT3 qualified by Justin Marks will start from the fifth row for Sunday’s sprint race.

MSR has a strong record at the Monterey-area track, having scored a pole position at the track in 2005, won the race overall in 2016 as well as claimed a podium finish with Acura in 2017.

Co-driving with Alvaro Parente, Legge is just 13-points behind the GTD championship points leaders and will look to utilize her front row starting position to propel her to another strong finish at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

“The car was really great for qualifying,” said Legge, who scored second at Laguna Seca with MSR last year. “I pitted after that lap thinking that was pretty much all I had and to also make sure we looked after the tires for tomorrow. I sat there for a good five minutes hoping that no one went any faster, so that was the hard part. The car I think will be great, we just can’t make any mistakes and Ihope that we can come home with a good finish.”

The first pole of the year was a long time coming for Mike Shank, who praised Legge and the engineers behind the No. 86 car’s speed to get on the front row for tomorrow’s race.

“Katherine has been on it all weekend and I’m super proud of her,” said Shank. “One of her dear friends and students that she teaches just got hurt in the session before so everyone was shook up a little bit. She really put a great lap together, the Acura NSX was really strong today. The strategy that our engineer, Ryan, had leading up to this session was just perfect.”

The sister No. 93 MSR Acura NSX GT3 co-driven by Marks and Lawson Aschenbach will start from the fifth row in tenth for Sunday’s race after struggling for pace early in the weekend.

“I’m disappointed in the qualifying run that we had,” said Marks. “We have been struggling to get good grip here and this track is notoriously known to be a low grip track. I know these guys will work to try and get the set up right for tomorrow.”

Source. Sunday Group

Konica Minolta Cadillac on Pole at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

The Konica Minolta Cadillac V-Performance Racing team will start from pole position for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix featuring America’s Tire 250 tomorrow WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The IMSA field has been struggling for grip around WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s 2.2-miles and 11-turns this weekend. Jordan Taylor behind the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R was able to get the right set-up on his car and post a time of 1:16.181 that was good for pole position. The Konica Minolta Cadillac team is in search of their first win on the season.

“It was a good lap, we have had a good Cadillac all weekend Renger was fast in practice all week,” Taylor said. “I had a good qualifying set-up that worked over one lap, but in practice we were working on a car that would handle for the whole race. It is nice to start from the pole. We will work from the front and see if we can control it.

Laguna is always a low grip track, you are always sliding around. We focused on the handling toward the end of the stint. Renger is going to finish the race and developed a set-up that best suits him, so hopefully we have the car set-up right so he can battle for the win.”

Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr will start the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R from the fifth row based upon Curran’s qualifying time of 1:17.415.

“We’ve been working a lot to find the best set-up and keep making adjustments this weekend, but it didn’t pay off the way we were hoping it would for that qualifying session,” Curran said. “At this track, there is a small window where the Continentals are the grippiest, and we just didn’t get everything we could in those laps. We aren’t where we want to be but we have strong engineering and the Cadillac is always strong in the race, we just need to find a little bit more speed and make sure it’s good on the long run.”

Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa will take the green in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R from row six after Barbosa recorded a qualifying time of 1:17.525.

“This is probably what we should expect as far as the conditions tomorrow, so it was good to get these laps in this afternoon so we can keep working on the car for the race,” Barbosa said. “This is not the best track for passing so it is not an ideal starting place, but we can definitely fight from here. It is a long race and anything can happen, Action Express has great pit stops and great strategy so we will analyze everything and work to move forward in the race tomorrow.”

Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing

Hot pursuit for top times: Porsche 911 RSR on the third grid row

Porsche has secured a spot on the third grid row in a hotly-contested qualifying at the IMSA SportsCar Championship in Laguna Seca. The number 911 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Nick Tandy (GB) and Patrick Pilet (F) will take up the race on Sunday from position six on the grid. Their team colleagues Earl Bamber (NZL) and Laurens Vanthoor (B) tackle round ten of the season from seventh on the grid in the No. 912 vehicle.

The hunt for top times on the legendary Laguna Seca Raceway in California turned gripping and close. Tandy held off at the beginning of the qualifying in the hope of benefitting from improving track conditions. Sand and dirt on 3.601-kilometre racetrack, however, provided little grip. The British driver concluded the qualifying in 1:22.990 minutes, which put his 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR on P6. Bamber turned a lap just 0.150 seconds slower than his teammate.

In the GTD class, the Porsche customer teams secured good starting positions for the race. Works driver Patrick Long planted the ca. 500 hp Porsche 911 GT3 R with the starting number 58 on the fourth grid position. The American shares driving duties in the cockpit of the vehicle fielded by Wright Motorsports with Porsche Selected Driver Christina Nielsen (DK). Jörg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Lindsey (USA) take up the penultimate race of the season from fifth place in the identical model campaigned by Park Place Motorsports.

Round ten of the 2018 IMSA SportsCar Championship takes off on Sunday, 9 September, at 14.05 hrs local time (23.05 hrs CEST), and can be viewed live outside the USA and Canada on http://www.imsa.com.

Qualifying quotes
Steffen Höllwarth (Porsche Program Manager IMSA SportsCar Championship): “Positions six and seven – this doesn’t look great at first glance. But it’s not the one who is fastest over a single lap that has the best chances. In all of the sessions, we focussed on the longer distance. The performance over the entire race is the key to possible success. The racetrack poses a huge challenge in terms of tyre durability. That’s why we’ve put our main emphasis on the race setup. We’re looking good in the long runs. With this in mind, we’re well prepared for the race.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “That was a difficult qualifying for us. The track temperature was completely different from this morning’s practice. It was difficult to gauge how the tyres would respond. And we didn’t really get everything out of our package. Had we managed to do this, we would have qualified further up the grid. But this doesn’t mean much for the race, because we’ll use different tyres. Over the distance the pecking order can look quite different.”

Earl Bamber (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “After the impressions we got from Friday’s session, we’d kind of expected this result. It was hard for us at first to get the best out of the tyres. But in the morning we were satisfied with the performance and were the fastest on the track. However, in the warmer conditions of the qualifying, the balance wasn’t quite right. We have to improve this for the race. If we manage to do this, our chances look good.”

Qualifying result
GTLM class
1. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 1:22.700 minutes
2. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, 1:22.787 minutes
3. Magnussen/Garcia (DK/E), Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, 1:22.806 minutes
4. Briscoe/Westbrook (AUS/GB), Ford GT, 1:22.850 minutes
5. Sims/De Phillippi (GB/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 1:22.972 minutes
6. Tandy/Pilet (GB/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:22.990 minutes
7. Vanthoor/Bamber (B/NZ), Porsche 911 RSR, 1:23.140 minutes
8. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 1:23.527 minutes

GTD class
1. Legge/Farnbacher (GB/D), Acura NSX GT3, 1:24.456 minutes
2. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 1:24.595 minutes
3. Keating/Bleekemolen (USA/NL), Mercedes-AMG GT3, 1:24.644 minutes
4. Long/Nielsen (USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:24.871 minutes
5. Bergmeister/Lindsey (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:24.904 minutes

Source. Porsche

BMW Team RLL Qualifies Fifth and Eighth at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

As the most recent GTLM class winners at Virginia International Raceway as well as defending winners here at Laguna Seca, BMW Team RLL has been keeping their heads down and focusing on readying both BMW M8 GTE racing cars for tomorrow’s two-hour-and-forty-minute Continental Tire Road Race Showcase.

Following three one-hour practice sessions over the last two days, today’s 15-minute qualifying session saw Alexander Sims qualify the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE fifth with a 1:22.972 minute lap. Jesse Krohn qualified the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE eighth with a time of 1:23.527 minutes on his sixth lap. The pole position was won by the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette, with the entire GTLM class separated by only .827 seconds. Sims will share the No. 25 machine with Connor De Phillippi and Krohn will co-drive the No. 24 with John Edwards. Last year, the No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM of John Edwards and Martin Tomczyk won this race in a thrilling finish at the checkered flag.

Co-driving the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 with Robby Foley this weekend, Bill Auberlen qualified the car in the seventh GTD class starting position with a 1:25.034 minute lap.

“While P5 and P8 qualifying positions may not say it, we are reasonably close and still have time to tune the set-up on both cars,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “This race hinges on traffic to a large extent and the correct strategy is paramount. Last year, we were not the fastest car but we were the smartest, playing the fuel correctly and holding off the Ferrari at the end to win. I have to say that win remains one of the most satisfying.”

Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P8): “Unfortunately, I had a difficult time getting a clear run together on all of the segments when the tires were at their peak and missed the opportunity to put together a really good lap.”

Alexander Sims, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P5): “The car was working quite well and I was fortunate to get two clear laps when the tires were optimum. I did find that the wind changed compared to this morning’s practice, affecting me particularly in turns six and nine, but I was able to deal with it.”

Source. BMW

SIXTH AND EIGHTH FOR MAZDA TEAM JOEST IN MONTEREY QUALIFYING

The pair of Soul Red Crystal Mazda RT24-Ps came away from Saturday afternoon’s ultra-competitive qualifying session at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in sixth and eighth position in IMSA’s Prototype class.

In the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P, Jonathan Bomarito, who attended nearby Palma High School in Salinas and is a former driving instructor at Laguna Seca, qualified sixth for tomorrow’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix. Underscoring the competitiveness of the Prototype field, the top seven cars set times within one second with Bomarito’s time of 1:16.792 less than a tenth behind the second-placed car. Harry Tincknell will share the Mazda with Bomarito tomorrow.

In the No. 77 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda RT24-P, Oliver Jarvis qualified in eighth position. In the third practice, Jarvis had set the second-fastest time in the car that he will share tomorrow with Tristan Nunez.

Quotes
John Doonan, Director, Mazda Motorsports
“After a challenging first practice session, we worked hard together with the two cars to make progress on the setup. This morning was a great example of how Mazda Team Joest works together, with both cars near the top of the charts. Qualifying was tough, certainly, but we are confident in the car and the drivers for tomorrow’s race.”

No. 55 Mazda RT24-P
Jonathan Bomarito
“We were expecting to be better than sixth, but more importantly, I think we have a good race car for tomorrow’s race. Tire degradation is a big factor in races here, but I think we are on the better end of that than our competition but it’s hard to say for sure until we get into the race. This is a very busy race – there’s not a lot of straightaways and there’s a lot of traffic with three classes out there. Physically and mentally, it’s a tough race. For me it’s also a home race. What we get to do is very unique and special, and not everyone gets to have a career like this, so I really enjoy getting to share that with all my friends and family who will be here.”

No. 77 Castrol/ModSpace Mazda RT24-P
Oliver Jarvis
“This morning started really well. The team made a huge step overnight with the balance and we ended that last practice session in second place. So, we went into qualifying full of confidence, but for some reason the car was completely different, and I couldn’t extract the maximum from it. I don’t think we had enough for pole, but I’d like to think we would have been in the fight for a top five. But we know we have the speed in the car and we’ll have to find every opportunity to make our way to the front of the field.”

Source. Mazda

FORD CHIP GANASSI RACING JUST MISSES POLE AT LAGUNA SECA, WILL START SECOND AND FOURTH

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing will start on the outside pole for the third year in a row at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Sunday.

Driver Dirk Müller nearly nabbed Ford GTs first pole at the Central California track at the end of the GTLM session, finishing just behind the top qualifier with a 1:22.787 in the No. 66 Ford GT he shares with co-driver and hometown favorite Joey Hand.

“WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is itself such a lovely place, but at the same time, it’s so challenging to get the right set-up for not only qualifying, but also the race,” Müller said. “We definitely nailed it. The car was at its best all weekend. I knew I’d need only tenths. I tried to squeeze it in there, and I gave it all. That was a 100-percent lap. P2 is a good starting point. We’re starting ahead of everybody else in the championship fight, so that’s good, and it was a good team effort at second and fourth. Thanks again to the team. Good work, good strategy, good set-up on the car.”

Ryan Briscoe will start the No. 67 Ford GT he shares with Richard Westbrook right behind his teammate at p4 after logging a 1:22.850 in qualifying.

“It was an interesting qualifying session,” Briscoe said. “I think we missed the balance a bit and I didn’t get all the sectors together. Still, great effort by everyone. We got both cars in the top four. It’ll be a great battle with Corvette tomorrow. It’s just a beautiful track, but it’s tricky because it’s so slippery and it’s hard to really get it just right. Looking forward to the race.”

Two races remain in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season and both Ford GTs remain in the fight for the title.

The No. 67 Ford GT is just four points behind the leader in the point standings, while the No. 66 Ford GT is nine points out. Heading into the race, Ford led the manufacturers’ standings by 12 points and can all but secure the title at Laguna Seca.

Source. Ford

Action Express Racing Ready to Race Forward at WeatherTech Raceway

Action Express Racing qualified ninth and 11th for Sunday’s America’s Tire 150  at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The team has consistently delivered results during the 2018 IMSA season, with three team victories including a powerful 1-2 finish in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. With just two races remaining in the championship season, the squad will look to make the most of the visit to the picturesque circuit on the Monterey Peninsula.

2016 IMSA WeatherTech Champion driver Eric Curran timed in ninth fastest with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, with a lap of 1:17.415-seconds on the famed 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit.

Curran and co-driver Felipe Nasr enter the event with a seven point advantage in the standings over Filipe Albuquerque, pilot of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac co-driven by Joao Barbosa.

“We’ve been working a lot to find the best set up and keep making adjustments this weekend, but it didn’t pay off the way we were hoping it would for that qualifying session,” said Curran. “At this track, there is a small window where the Continentals are the grippiest, and we just didn’t get everything we could in those laps. We aren’t where we want to be for tomorrow but we have strong engineering and the Cadillac is always strong in the race, we just need to find a little but more speed and make sure it’s good on the long run.”

Barbosa was 11th quickest in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R., with a best lap of 1:17.525.

“This is probably what we should expect as far as the conditions tomorrow, so it was good to get these laps in this afternoon so we can keep working on the car for the race,” said Barbosa. “This is not the best track for passing, so it is not an ideal starting place, but we can definitely fight from here. It is a long race and anything can happen. Action Express has great pit stops and great strategy, so we will analyze everything and work to move forward in the race tomorrow.”

Source. Sunday Group

WeatherTech Racing to Start Ninth at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Ut.) will start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix featuring America’s Tire 250 from ninth in GTD tomorrow.

The 2.2-mile, 11-turn WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is proving to be a challenge to drivers and crew. The heat of the track combined with slippery conditions have the IMSA teams struggling to get their cars handling. MacNeil had the wheel of No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari and posted a lap of 1:25.404 that will have him starting from the fifth row in GTD for tomorrow’s 5 p.m. ET start.

“We have been working hard on the set-up on the WeatherTech Racing Ferrari all weekend as we are struggling for grip,” MacNeil said. “The front and rear of the car is pretty unsettled, so we have been throwing everything at the black and white Ferrari to get it to turn. The Scuderia Corsa guys are working hard to get us pointing in the right direction. A top ten qualifying effort against a bunch of pros is not a bad day at the race track. Not a great day, but we have a three-hour race tomorrow to make up some positions.”

“It has been an interesting weekend,” Jeannette said. “I don’t remember struggling for grip this much here over the past few years. It seems like when we put new tires on the WeatherTech Ferrari we have one really good lap, another seven or eight that are OK and then you are hanging on for dear life. We have been trying different things and we will have the best race car that we can and hope it is faster through a stint than the competition.”

Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing

Paul Miller Racing to Start on Front Row at Laguna Seca

Saturday afternoon in perfect weather conditions, Madison Snow qualified the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing TOTAL Lubricants/UIS Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in second place at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The GTD championship leading car will start the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix on the front row, alongside points rival Katherine Legge in the No. 86 Acura.

Bryan Sellers, Snow’s co-driver, placed the car in first position in the opening practice on Friday morning, with a best session lap time of 1:25.403. Snow bettered that fast lap in the final practice, setting a lap time of 1:24.884. While the team’s normal strategy has been to set up the car to endure better over a full race stint, set up changes were made for qualifying to give Snow his best possible effort for the 15 minute qualifying session. Snow improved yet again in qualifying, running a lap time of 1:24.595 on his fourth lap, to place the team in second position for Sunday’s race.

In the final two races where every point counts, Sellers, Snow, and the Paul Miller Racing team will have two hours and forty minutes to pass the No. 86 and stay up front, expanding their 13 point lead over the Acura. The Lamborghini team has held a firm grip on the point standings since March, after securing victory at the Twelve Hours of Sebring, and earning an additional four podium finishes.

Driver Quotes

Madison Snow
It was a great qualifying session. We definitely didn’t think we had that much pace in the car, but we made some changes for qualifying to get an outright pace instead of our usual goal of setting up for an overall stint. That helped us get a good qualifying run in. It’s nice to be starting up front, so we’re excited for the race to come and hope we can get the car up there and ahead of the No. 86.

Bryan Sellers
That was a great qualifying effort from Madison. It’s pretty cool to sit back and watch when a lap like that gets put together. You give credit where credit is due: The car was good, and it was a great job by Madison. It was as near of a perfect lap as we could have asked for. It puts us in a good track position for tomorrow, and tire degradation is on everybody’s minds. We have the first hurdle out of the way, now we’ll see how the race unfolds and where we’ll end up.

Source. Paul Miller Racing

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