In a qualifying session shortened by Ricky Taylor crashing his Acura into a barrier at the busstop Thursday, Mazda’s Oliver Jarvis topped the time sheets again to set pole time in his RT24-P racer. His lap time of 1:33.711 wasn’t quite quick enough to set an official new lap record at the circuit, just a tenth of a second slower than his record set a year ago. Even still, the lap was nearly half a second quicker than Juan Pablo Montoya, who will start the race from second position.
While the Prototype class wasn’t quite fast enough to set a new lap record, the GT-classed Porsches both set new class records on their way to pole position.
In GTLM Porsche factory racer Nick Tandy ran an impressive 1:42.207 lap in his mid-engined Porsche 911 RSR, beating his lap record from last year by 0.05 seconds. Tandy was followed closely by the second Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor. The Porsche pair were about three tenths of a second clear of the new C8.R Corvettes, with the pair of BMW M8s following them, and the lone Ferrari 488 in 7th.
The GTD class saw another track record fall when Zacharie Robichon took to the track in his Pfaff Motorsports Porsche GT3R. With a 1:45.237 lap time, he placed himself nearly half a second clear of the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 in second place. With an Acura in third, a BMW in fourth, and a Lamborghini in fifth, the race will start with five different brands in the top five of the GTD class. While Robichon’s pole was impressive, this whole class is stacked with talent, and literally anyone could take the race win.
“We’ve made a lot of improvements,” said Robichon. “If there’s one race where pole doesn’t matter as much it’s this one but we’ll take it!”
Anybody ready to place bets on who is going to win this shooting match? I’m not sure I am, and my predictions last year fell apart in basically the first hour, but I’ll try it again. Here we go.
Prototype - #77 Mazda. This is their year.
GTLM - #912 Porsche. Because #Bamthor.
GTD - #63 Ferrari. This whole class is a complete toss up. Any guess is as good as any other.
What are your guesses?