Ferrari up front in GT Le Mans, BMW in GT Daytona
Giancarlo Fisichella (in photo above) used his veteran experience Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Combined with a whole lot of power from his Ferrari F458 Italia, he captured Ferrari’s first GT Le Mans pole in TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competition in GT Le Mans (GTLM) during qualifying for Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix.
Fisichella lapped the newly reconfigured 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit in one minute, 22.378 seconds (106.587 mph) in the No. 62 Risi Competizione entry. In the always competitive GTLM class, the top-seven qualifiers were separated by less than 0.4 seconds. A Formula One veteran, Fisichella previously made eight starts in the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis, finishing third in 2006 while driving for Renault.
“The Formula One car and the GT car are very different,” said Fisichella, who also earned his first pole in IMSA competition. “The configuration of the circuit is good for us. I did a perfect lap, I am confident with the car and I am comfortable in the car.”
Three makes took the first three positions with the BMW Z4 GTE of John Edwards qualifying second at 1:22.442 (106.504 mph). Joining Edwards will be co-driver Dirk Mueller in the No. 56 BMW Team RLL entry. The No. 93 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R will roll off third with Jonathan Bomarito posting a qualifying lap of 1:22.491 (106.441 mph). Bomarito and co-driver Kuno Wittmer are coming off of back-to-back podium finishes at Watkins Glen International and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Dane Cameron fast in BMW Z4
Six manufacturers made up the top six positions in GT Daytona (GTD) qualifying Thursday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but it was the BMW Z4 of Dane Cameron that earned the top spot. Cameron clocked a best lap of 1:26.058 (102.029 mph) to take the class pole 0.091 seconds ahead of the Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R of Jeroen Bleekemolen.
“We came without any expectations and not really sure what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised with what the new layout brought for us and how the car felt,” said Cameron, who is co-driving with Paul Dalla Lana. “It was there and we capitalized on it.”
Bleekemolen’s lap of 1:26.149 (101.921 mph) was good enough for the front row in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R he shares with co-driver Ben Keating. Bleekemolen and Keating are looking for their second consecutive victory, having won two weeks ago at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Townsend Bell qualified the GTD class-leading No. 555 REVO/Robert Graham/Royal Purple Ferrari 458 Italia third for him and co-driver Bill Sweedler, 1:26.220 (101.837 mph). Bell ran in his eighth Indy 500 in May, and ran competitively until a late-race incident led to a 25th-place finish.