The combined qualifying session for the two IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship prototype classes at Road America delivered impressive speed with Team Penske’s Dane Cameron turning the fastest sports car laps at the track since 2008 en route to earning the overall pole position for the IMSA Road Race Showcase.
Cameron stunned with a 1:48.715, placing the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 he shares with Juan Pablo Montoya atop the qualifying timesheet. And had a brief red flag for a motionless LMP2 competitor not interrupted qualifying, the new DPi record at the 4-mile track might have ended up even quicker.
Second Penske qualifier Helio Castroneves struggled to put together a clean lap during the 15-minute session, giving Mazda Team Joest’s Oliver Jarvis a chance to challenge Cameron. Castroneves put it together together on his final lap of the classic permanent road course, however, and came within 0.016 seconds of Cameron’s chart-topping time. At the session’s conclusion, only Cameron, Castroneves and third-fastest Jarvis had laps quicker than 1:49.
Jonathan Bomarito qualified the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P to the outside of the second row, which he’ll share with Jarvis and the No. 77 Mazda DPi when Sunday’s race begins. Top Cadillac DPi-V.R qualifiers Simon Trummer and Pipo Derani will occupy the row behind in their JDC-Miller Motorsports and Action Express Racing machines.
The five-car Cadillac contingent filled positions five through nine, followed on the DPi running order by Jon Bennett who qualified CORE autosport’s Ligier Nissan DPi to the 10th and final position.
French Continues IMSA Qualifying Dominance
Making a one-off appearance with Performance Tech Motorsports at his home race, James French scored his 12th IMSA pole thanks in part to an error by Matt McMurry, the only other driver of an LMP2 car during the DPi/LMP2 session.
French ended the 15-minute outing with a 1:52.037, scored as the best lap after McMurry lost his two fastest laps for causing a red flag.
Prior to going off course, McMurry’s 1:51.464 would’ve secured the class pole position. Instead, the penalty dropped him to second in class with a 1:53.264.
The two prototype classes will join GT Le Mans and GT Daytona for a 20-minute warm-up session Sunday at 8:30 a.m. CDT. The two-hour, 40-minute race follows at 1:35 p.m. with live coverage on NBCSports.com for authenticated cable subscribers.