After a string of poles for LMP2 cars, unprecedented Balance of Performance adjustments put Daytona Prototype international cars back in control, giving Jordan Taylor the advantage he needed to outpace his 12 Prototype competitors during IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
- Results: 2018 America’s Tire 250 Qualifying
Fighting extreme tire degradation in Monterey County, California, Taylor’s 1:16.181 was set halfway through his eight-lap run and put the No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R he shares with Renger van der Zande on top of the timesheet. The effort also marked a new track record.
Team Penske’s pair of Acura ARX-05 cars were Taylor’s stiffest competition but Dane Cameron, who put in a faster lap than teammate Helio Castroneves, could no better than 0.395 seconds shy of Taylor’s lap time in the No. 6 Acura DPi. Castroneves was another 0.086 seconds further back.
Pipo Derani of Tequila Patron ESM added a third manufacturer to the top five, pushing his No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi to a 1:16.766 around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit to earn the fourth starting position.
Colin Braun, who scored consecutive poles at Watkins Glen International and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, turned in the fastest time for an LMP2 car. Braun’s 1:16.774 was just 0.008 seconds off Derani’s time, relegating the No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA 07 to a fifth-place qualifying effort.
The sixth-best qualifying lap was delivered to Mazda Team Joest by Jonathan Bomarito while Robert Alon was the quickest JDC-Miller Motorsports driver with the seventh-fastest time.
Oliver Jarvis slotted the second Mazda RT24-P into eighth, 0.166 seconds quicker than Eric Curran in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac, the fastest representative of the team in ninth.
Sebastian Saavedra wrapped up the top 10 in AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ new ORECA 07 while Joao Barbosa, Scott Sharp and Misha Goikhberg qualified 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively.
All 13 prototypes will join the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona cars for a brief 20-minute warm-up Sunday morning ahead of the two-hour, 40-minute race. The green flag will fly at 2:05 p.m. PDT with coverage airing live on FS1.