Despite a red flag for severe weather near Road America, records fell in both IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT classes during qualifying for this year’s IMSA Road Race Showcase.
Things went BMW Team RLL’s way when the grid was set in the GT Le Mans division with driver Tom Blomqvist and the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE surfacing as the quickest driver and machine among the eight-car class. Blomqvist’s 2:00.344 was the fastest tour of the historic permanent road course by 0.319 seconds and bested the standing track record by a massive 2.135 seconds.
Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin came closest to unseating Blomqvist but could manage only a 2:00.663 in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R, thus ending up 0.319 seconds short of the pole.
Blomqvist’s teammate Jesse Krohn ended the 15-minute session with the third-fastest lap ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing driver Ryan Briscoe. When the session came to a close, Briscoe was scored with the second-fastest lap but the time was invalidated for exceeding track limits, dropping the No. 67 Ford GT to fourth.
Briscoe’s fellow Ford driver Dirk Mueller placed fifth ahead of Laurens Vanthoor, Jan Magnussen and Patrick Pilet. All eight competitors were under the previous track record set in 2018 by Mueller.
Keating Scores First IMSA Pole
In an abbreviated GT Daytona qualifying session that featured only 10 minutes of green-flag time due to the aforementioned red flag for weather conditions, Ben Keating’s 2:05.250 earned the Am driver his first pole in IMSA competition while also establishing a new class record at the 4-mile track.
While not fully representative due to the artificially shortened session, Keating’s time in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 held up as mark to beat with Corey Lewis coming closest to the pole-winning time in Paul Miller Racing’s car.
Lewis’ best effort in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was a 2:05.663 — still quicker than Joerg Bergmeister’s record set in 2018 but more than four-tenths of a second too slow for the pole.
Matt Plumb, Zacharie Robichon and Trent Hindman completed the top five in McLaren, Porsche and Acura machinery.
Like GTLM, the top eight lap times in GTD were all under the established track record. The group included seven different manufacturers with only Acura repeating in fourth and eighth.
Both GT classes will join DPi and LMP2 for a 20-minute warm-up session at 8:30 a.m. CDT Sunday ahead of the two-hour, 40-minute race at 1:35 p.m. The race will be shown live on NBCSports.com.