Corvette and Ford machinery occupied the top spots during the quartet of practice sessions that led to the final IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying of 2018 but it was BMW that prevailed during GT Le Mans’ 15-minute outing.
- Results: 2018 Motul Petit Le Mans Qualifying
John Edwards sped to a 1:17.006 lap in the No. 24 BMW M8 GTE on his third of six revolutions of the 2.54-mile road course during qualifying. When the checkered flag appeared, Edwards had secured the pole by a margin that reflected his car number: 0.024 seconds.
Antonio Garcia was that far back from Edwards on his strongest lap in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R and will begin the race from second on the GTLM grid.
The top lap from Edwards translated to his second pole of 2018 after also coming out on top at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May. BMW Team RLL will end the year having earned three total poles with the addition of Connor De Phillippi’s at March’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Ford and Chip Ganassi Racing were denied a starting position within the top three as Earl Bamber put the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR on the inside of Row 2 ahead of Richard Westbrook, the fastest driver of a Ford GT, in fourth.
Of the nine drivers who participated in GTLM qualifying Saturday at Road Atlanta, only Toni Vilander in Risi Competizione’s Ferrari 488 GTE failed to lap within half a second of Edwards’ pole time. Vilander put the car on pole a year ago with a 1:17.497 — 0.491 seconds slower than the mark in 2018 laid down by Edwards.
Serra Puts Scuderia Ferrari on GTD Pole
A full unique top five in GT Daytona qualifying at Road Atlanta was topped by Scuderia Corsa driver Daniel Serra.
Serra will begin the 10-hour race from the class pole in the team’s No. 63 Ferrari 488 GT3 ahead of Lexus, Audi, Acura and Lamborghini cars with no brand being represented twice in the top five positions.
The feat marks the second consecutive Motul Petit Le Mans pole in GTD for Scuderia. Last year’s pole run by Matteo Cressoni, however, was all of 0.966 seconds slower than the 1:19.695 set by Serra this year.
Jack Hawksworth came closest to beating Serra to the pole as he lapped within 0.037 seconds of the pole-earning Ferrari.
Beyond Hawksworth in the No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3, Sheldon van der Linde and Mario Farnbacher will take the green flag from the second row in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 from Montaplast by Land-Motorsport and the No. 93 Meyer Shank Racing entry.
The two cars that will race for the GTD title will start side by side from Row 3 after Bryan Sellers and Alvaro Parente qualified fifth and sixth in Paul Miller Racing’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 and the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3, respectively.
Beyond a brief warm-up outing Saturday morning, the final race of the 2018 season will go green at 11:05 a.m. EDT. Television coverage will open at 10:30 a.m. on FS1.