We’ve been waiting for months to discover just who exactly is the fastest out of all the brand-new prototype racers for 2017—in a true qualifying scenario, with all the sandbags (real or imagined) out of the car. Qualifying for this year’s Rolex 24 just wrapped up, so now we know: it’s the Cadillac!
Joao Barbosa laid down a flying lap of 1:36.903 in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, just a mere 0.07 seconds ahead of Dane Cameron’s fastest lap in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. Both the No. 5 and No. 31 are sister-cars under the Action Express team.
Only 0.706 seconds separated the top five prototypes in qualifying, so this weekend’s entire freaking day of continuous racing should be a good one, especially in terms of the battle for the overall win.
Unfortunately for those hoping the Mazda runs as good as it looks, the two Mazda RT24-P cars were both over three seconds off the pace, qualifying only ahead of the VisitFlorida Racing Multimatic/Riley.
That’s not to say we’re only looking at the Prototype class, though. There’s also the new Porsche 911 RSR, which is just delicious, delicious sacrilege, having moved the 911's traditional rear engine to the middle. (THE HORRORS!) The fastest 911 RSR was only good enough for a fifth-place starting position in its GTLM class, however. Ford GTs locked out the first three positions there, with the American No. 67 car taking the top honors with a 1:43.704 lap time.
Interestingly, every single class at the Rolex 24 had one specific car get claim its 1-2 starting positions in qualifying today. It’s like Twin Day on really, really powerul steroids up in here.
A pair of Ferrari 488 GT3s led GTD, with the No. 51 Spirit of Race car taking pole position with a 1:47.099.
Of course PC had twins claim 1-2 in qualifying, though, because PC is made up entirely of cars running the same Oreca FLM09 car. Performance Tech Motorsports’ No. 38 car claimed the PC pole with a 1:42.559 lap.
What of the other new car, the Acura NSX GT3? It qualified seventh out of a gigantic 27-car GTD field. GTD is ridiculously big this year.
You can dig through the full results here.
[Edit: I missed one line when this was originally written. Fords claimed the entire top three in GTLM, making Porsche fifth, not fourth as originally reported.]