Friday afternoon on the West Coast of the United States meant qualifying time for the IMSA WeatherTech runners at Long Beach, ahead of the BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach on the palm tree-lined streets of the southern Californian city.
Topping the charts in the Prototype class was the #6 Acura Team Penske Acura ARX-05, with Juan Pablo Montoya, setting a 1:12.922. The result marked the first pole position for Acura Team Penske in the DPi era, and Montoya’s first at Long Beach.
“Acura and Team Penske have done such a good job on the car this weekend,” said Montoya. “It’s reminds me of driving a Formula 1 car, you can hustle it around and you still have to manage it. I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow, it should be a lot of fun.”
Second in class was Felipe Nasr who piloted the #31 Action Express Cadillac DPI-V.R. to a 1:13.109 in the 15-minute session. Finishing off the top three in class was the #55 Joest Mazda RT24-P DPI driven by Harry Tincknell, a 1:13.156 being the British driver’s best.
The #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPI-V.R, qualified in sixth with Rengar Van Der Zande setting a 1:13.880. The team is going for its fourth straight win on the streets of Long Beach.
Meanwhile in the GT Le Mans class it was the #66 Ford GT that took the top spot, Joey Hand’s 1:16.869 at the very end the of the session, good enough not only to secure pole, but also set a lap record in GTLM.
Starting alongside the #66 will be the #912 Porsche 911 RSR whose 1:17.013 from Laurens Vanthoor came after completing 10 laps of the 1.9 mile circuit.
Third in class was the sister car, the #911 Porsche 911 RSR, piloted by Patrick Pilet who clocked in a 1:17.263 to put that car on the inside of the second row.
Just outside of the top three was both of the Corvette C7.Rs, Jan Magnussen in the #3 getting the best of the Oliver Gavin driven #4 by three tenths of a second.
Of note for this event is the absent GT Daytona class who skip this round due to the lack of paddock space as both IMSA and Indycar share the downtown venue for the weekend. All three classes will be present for the next round at Mid-Ohio on May 6 however.
Coverage of the BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach starts at 20:55 UTC on IMSA.tv for international audiences, while those in the States can catch the race on FOX Sports.
Photo courtesy of IMSA