Premiere for the four rings: For the first time, an Audi will start from the pole position in the 24-hour race at Daytona (U.S. state of Florida). The German Christopher Haase posted the fastest time in the GT Daytona class for production-based sports cars in the Audi R8 LMS of the new Audi customer team Paul Miller Racing.
67 prototypes and GT sports cars will be tackling the 24-hour race at Daytona on Saturday at 14:10 local time (20:10 CET). For Audi, the iconic North American endurance race opens the 2014 GT season with the race debut of the new U.S. version of the Audi R8 LMS.
In an extremely thrilling qualifying session, the fastest six GT Daytona sports cars were within 89 thousandths of a second of each other and the best 20 within one second. Haase, on his fifth lap, relegated the Ferrari of Toni Vilander, which had been leading up to that point, to position two by 0.055s. Oliver Jarvis in the Audi R8 LMS of Fall-Line Motorsports trailed him in third place by only another 0.022s.
Nelson Canache jr. and Dion von Moltke secured grid positions 21 and 23 for the Flying Lizard Motorsports team. Marc Basseng in the Audi R8 LMS of GMG Racing, after a spin in the chicane, took position 24 with a gap of only 1.408s.
The 52nd running of the Daytona 24 Hours marks the beginning of a new era in U.S. sports car racing. It is the first race after the American Le Mans Series merged with the GRAND-AM to form the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC).
When the race starts, the production Audi R8 V10 will make an entrance as well: The mid-engine sports car is used as the safety car at Daytona and will be leading the impressive field into the new era of U.S. sports car racing. Last year, Audi celebrated a one-two victory in the GT class at Daytona.
Romolo Liebchen (Head of Audi Sport customer racing): Obviously, were extremely happy with this result its the first pole position for Audi at Daytona. Being on grid positions one and three in such a large field with such close time gaps is simply brilliant. But we shouldnt misjudge the other cars on some of the more rearward positions because theyre not that far away in terms of the times they set. It looks like a good solution has been found for rating the different cars. This promises a thrilling race.
Christopher Haase (Audi R8 LMS #48/Paul Miller Racing): Its a great feeling to be on the pole position at Daytona. Of course thats not whats going to decide the race, but for the first hour itll definitely be helpful. The team did a superb job: Our car was good from the beginning and we further improved it in the right direction. We can be very pleased and Im already looking forward to the race start.