Patrick Pilet was just shy of the GT Le Mans circuit record at Sebring International Raceway but put up a strong enough lap to earn the class pole for Saturday’s 12-hour contest at the challenging Floridian road course.
The French pilot earned the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR its second pole of 2019 after Pilet’s co-driver Nick Tandy qualified on top for the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona. Pilet, Tandy and Frederic Makowiecki enter this year’s Sebring race as the reigning winners in GTLM.
Laurens Vanthoor was 0.143 seconds back from Pilet on their respective fastest laps of the 3.74-mile circuit but secured a front-row start for the second Porsche GT Team entry, carrying the number 912.
One car from each American manufacturer will start from the second row with Antonio Garcia and Richard Westbrook landing third and fourth for Corvette Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing, respectively.
After the second Corvette C7.R and both BMW Team RLL cars, the second Ford GT qualified last in the eight-car class, a considerable 0.832 seconds off the pole time.
Hindman Delivers for MSR
After showing strong in practice, Trent Hindman put Meyer Shank Racing’s No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 on the GT Daytona pole for Saturday’s half-day race at Sebring.
At 1:59.917, Hindman’s pole lap marks the fastest of the 2019 event but falls short of Daniel Serra’s 1:58.710 from qualifying a year ago.
Robby Foley qualified second for Turner Motorsport and will start alongside Hindman on the front row. Row 2 will be occupied by Zacharie Robichon and Rolf Ineichen of Pfaff Motorsports and the Grasser Racing Team, the latter of which was forced to repair its Lamborghini Huracan GT3 after a crash during Practice 4 by Rik Breukers.
Brandon Gdovic completed the top five for Precision Performance Motorsports — a notable performance after Don Yount experienced a crash of his own in the car during practice Thursday.
While the top five was split by 0.858 seconds, the 16 GTD cars that qualified were 2.617 seconds apart, from Hindman on pole to Will Hardeman in last driving Moorespeed’s Audi R8 LMS GT3.
After Saturday’s 20-minute warm-up session, 12 hours of racing will begin for all four IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes at 10:40 a.m. EDT. Live television coverage will open on CNBC at 10:30 a.m.