UPDATE: Following the post-qualifying technical inspections by IMSA, both of the BMW M8 entries were found to have been in violation of the regulations in regard to ride height.
As a result, both cars have been disqualified from qualifying, including, of course, the pole-sitting #25 BMW M8 of Tom Blomqvist. With the disqualification of the two BMWs, it promotes the #4 Corvette C7.R of Olivier Gavin to pole position.
Second in class is now the #67 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, while the #66 Ford GT of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller inherits third place in the class.
The #25 and #24 BMW will start from the back of the grid.
Dane Cameron in the #6 Acura ARX-05c took the Road America qualifying record and beat it today. In a stunning performance, Cameron set a best time of 1:48.715 that put him just 0.016 seconds clear of his teammate Helio Castroneves who made it a 1-2 for Acura Team Penske.
“I love this place, it just suits me so well. There is definitely a lot to play for towards the end of the year but the view is always better at the front.” Cameron said.
“IMSA has a great thing going with this DPi class the cars are so fun to drive,” Cameron added.
Castroneves’ best lap came on his final lap of the session as the chequered flag flew. It left him achingly close to the pole position, but in the end, Castroneves had to settle for second and a best time of 1:48.731.
Mazda, off the back of two straight wins, is looking to continue its strong showing, but John Doonan’s team will have to better the Acuras this weekend to do it. The fastest Mazda was the #77 RT-24P driven by Olivier Jarvis, with a best time of 1:48.949, good enough for third.
GTLM Qualifying saw the #25 BMW M8 of Tom Blomqvist eclipsing the qualifying lap record by over a second. Not only was it a record-breaking performance from the Briton, but it was also his first IMSA pole position. With some parts of the track still wet from a sprinkling of rain, it set up a tricky session for the GTLM entries.
“We knew we had a quick car, the track suits us but it was a really tricky session. The last corner was really, really, wet but the car was mega, the crew did a great job.” Blomqvist said after getting out of the car.
Three-tenths of a second behind the #25 BMW M8 was the #4 Corvette C7.R of Olivier Gavin. Jesse Krohn, meanwhile, put the #24 BMW M8 in third following a best lap of 2:00.767.
Ryan Briscoe had his best lap deleted after race control ruled that he had gone too wide at the exit of Turn 1. Had that not been deleted, he would have started second. Briscoe and the #67 Ford GT will have to settle for fourth.
In GTD, after six years of IMSA competition, eleven wins, and a handful of front-row starts, Ben Keating scored his first-ever pole position too. Keating’s best time was a 2:05.250 what was a weather-shortened session. The Texan’s time was set just moments before IMSA called for the red flag as lightning storms began to loom over the track.
“It’s shocking,” Keating joked after the session.
“I’ve been racing in IMSA for six years now and this is my first pole. I do love this place, we came off the truck with a perfect car and that has enabled us to spend a lot of time with a good car and get more confident. We’re driving in a way we have never done here because we’ve never had the car for it.”
The #48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 of Corey Lewis ended the session in second with a best time of 2:05.663. It’s a strong showing for Lewis and Paul Miller Racing, who announced earlier this week that their driver Ryan Hardwick would have to undergo knee surgery and would miss the rest of the season.
Rounding out the top three was the #76 Compass Racing McLaren 720s with a best time of 2:05.723. That third place for Matt Plumb is the best of the season for the next-generation McLaren 720s GT3 in IMSA. The previous best for Compass Racing entering this weekend was a pair of eighth-place starting positions that came at Mid-Ohio and Belle Isle.
In LMP2, the #38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA 07qualified on pole position with a best time of 1:52.037 coming from James French.
The #52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA 07 ended the session 1.227 seconds behind them after Matt McMurry’s best time was deleted for causing a red flag after a spin in turn three. Had McMurry’s time not been deleted it would have been good enough for pole position.
Featured image courtesy of IMSA