The #3 Black Falcon Mercedes AMG GT3 of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen Abdulaziz Al Faisal and Luca Stolz is set to start the inaugural 24H CoTA from pole position, after Bleekemolen set a 2:06.461 time in Qualifying at the Austin, Texas-based circuit.
Bleekemolen’s pole-setting time was just 0.05 faster than the #13 Manthey Racing Porsche 991 GT3 of Steve Smith, Randy Walls, Hari Proczyk and Dennis Olsen, which took the other spot on the front row. Behind, the Herberth Motorsport Porsche ended up taking third spot, a real achievement for the 24H Series regular, after its 991 GT3 spent much of the session in the garage for repairs.
The Hofor-Racing powered by Car Collection Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Michael Kroll, Chantal Kroll, Kenneth Heyer, Christiaan Frankenhout and Jörg Viebahn will start from pole in A6-Am, the reigning 24H Series GT Champions setting the 6th fastest lap outright, a 2:07.793. The Leipert Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo meanwhile, set the second fastest lap in-class, just two tenths off, ahead of the V8 Racing Chevrolet Corvette C6-ZR1 which will start eight overall, and third in the class with a 2:10.615.
Unsurprisingly, as contenders for the inaugural Championship of the Continents, the #85 PROsport Performance Porsche 991 Cup, driven by Charles Putman, Charles Espenlaub and Joe Foster took 991 pole position, qualifying more than 1.5 seconds faster than the APO Sport Porsche 991 Cup car. The track-club Team Chronext Porsche 991 Cup was third quickest.
The MARC Cars Australia MARC Mazda V8 led the way in SP2, qualifying just under a second faster than the Mercedes-AMG Testteam Winward Racing/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT R SP-X and the second MARC Cars Australia MARC Mazda V8, the #214 of Malcolm Niall, Clint Harvey, Brett Niall and Robert Thomson.
The Speedworks Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of John Gilbert, Christian Dick, William Phillips and Tom Ingram topped the SP3 class, which features the Aston Martin Lagonda Vantage GT8 of Andy Palmer, Peter Cate, Paul Hollywood and Radio Show Limited’s John Hindhaugh. Impressively, in their debut together, they set the third fastest time in the class.
It was a topsy turvy session, which had to be red flagged twice. The first stoppages was for the QSR Racingschool BMW M235i Racing Cup car, which had its suspension collapse. Shortly after that, Alan Metni in the #41 Brookspeed International Motorsport Porsche Cayman GT4 MR had a big off into the barriers, stopping the session for a second time. The Porsche sustained heavy rear-end damage in the incident, though Brookspeed’s mechanics worked flat out and succeeded in getting it our for its mandatory laps in night practice later in the evening. It’s set to start the race, 32nd.
The first 14 hours of the 24H CoTA are set held from 09.00 to 23.00 today, local time in Austin Texas. Overnight, cars will be kept under parc fermé conditions. On Sunday, the race will be resumed from 08.00 to 18.00.
Featured image courtesy of Petr Frýba and Boost Racing Images