Ricky Taylor claimed a dominant Pole Position for Konica Minolta in the Prototype class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, putting his #10 Cadillac DPi at the head of the field at the Circuit of the Americas by more than one and a half seconds.
Taylor and brother Jordan top the overall standings in the championship and despite having little running in the third practice session, the team bounced back impressively in Qualifying.
“We made some set-up changes to get that time,” Ricky Taylor said. “In the speed traps we saw that we gave up some overall quickness, but it really handled well in the twisty parts.
“Tomorrow we will be preserving tyres and focusing on having a good race car. We thought it would be a little cooler in May, but it is pretty hot. On my out lap for qualifying I knew it was going to be a tense session as the car was really on edge. We will really have to preserve the rear tyres.”
Ricky Taylor’s time of 1:54.809 was 1.6 seconds faster than the second-placed #22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi driven by Johannes van Overbeek.
To further underline the impressive performance, the gap from van Overbeek to the 10th placed #70 Mazda DPi driven by Tom Long was less than the advantage that Taylor enjoyed over his second-placed rival.
Eric Curran was third fastest with a time of 1:56.429 in his #31 Cadillac DPi Whelen Engineering Racing car, and Christian Fittipaldi ensured there were three Cadillac DPis in the top four with a best lap time of 1:56.655.
Jose Gutierrez was the fastest of the LMP2 cars in fifth place. He piloted his #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier with a best lap time of 1:56.884.
In GTLM, a strong drive from John Edwards secured GTLM pole for BMW Team RLL as he piloted his #24 M6 GTLM around the Circuit of the Americas in 2:02.833. It was a session which saw the top seven cars separated by just two tenths of a second saw the top three places change around frequently.
Edwards’ team-mate, Alexander Sims, grabbed third place at the death in the No 25 car with a lap of 2:02.990, just behind the Risi Competizione #62 Ferrari 488 of Giancarlo Fisichella in 2:02.865.
Ryan Briscoe just missed out on the top three in his #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT. He posted a fastest lap of 2:03.014 and looked to be in contention to improve on that time on his final flying lap, only to lose control at turn 12, costing him valuable time.
Dirk Mueller, who leads the class standings with Joey Hand, qualified his #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Ford GT in fifth place in 2:03.023.
Jan Magnussen had to settle for sixth place in his #3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R, despite setting the pace early on. His fastest time was a lap of 2:03.030.
Mathieu Jaminet claimed pole position in the GTD class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship after an impressive lap at the Circuit of the Americas. Jaminet topped the standings in 2:06.531 in his Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R with a little over three minutes of the session remaining, and it proved too good for his rivals.
Jack Hawksworth came within less than a second in his 3GT Racing Lexus RCF GT3, posting a time of 2:06.623.
A good effort from Madison Snow in the #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Then less than a second separated Snow from Cooper Macneil’s Riley Motorsports WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in 12th place.
Corey Lewis popped into fourth place in his Change Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 as the session neared its conclusion, posting a time of 2:07.757. Ben Keating had set the early pace near the start of the session in the Riley Motorsports Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 but he finished the session in eighth place.
James French comfortably set the fastest time in the Prototype Challenge class as he claimed pole position by more than two seconds. In the process, French set a track record for the PC class, guiding the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09 around the Austin circuit in 2:00.066.
With plenty of time to spare in the session, French attempted to dip under the two-minute mark but just missed out on doing so.
Stefan Wilson was second fastest in the #26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 with a time of 2:03.026.
At one stage Wilson appeared to have set a time of 2:02.965 but the time was scrubbed from the record due to him exceeding track limits.
Don Yount, in the #20 BAR1 Motorsports FLM09, was the third fastest of the three cars, posting a lap time of 2:04.264.