Alex Gurney’s name will go down in history as the first Corvette Daytona Prototype driver to claim an overall pole position for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Californian put the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP on pole Thursday for the 52nd running of the twice-around-the-clock endurance classic and the opening round of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Gurney’s best lap was a 1:38.270 (130.416 mph) in the Corvette DP he shares with Jon Fogarty, Memo Gidley and Darren Law. Richard Westbrook made it a sweep of the front row for Corvette DPs with the second-fastest qualifying time – 1:38.487 (130.129 mph) in Spirit of Daytona Racing’s No. 90 entry.
“We were pretty diligent all through the testing we did and concentrated on full-tank runs,” Gurney said. “We never really went low-fuel to show what we had. When we pulled the fuel out, the time came. We were pretty happy with the car and it’s nice to get this pole.”
“Congratulations to Alex Gurney and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing on their historic qualifying result today at Daytona,” said Mark Kent, Chevrolet’s Director of Racing. “It’s fantastic to have two Corvette Daytona Prototypes on the front row for the opening race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Series. Thursday’s qualifying results – with four Corvette DPs in the top-five – is a testament to the collective effort by Chevrolet Racing, Earnhardt Childress Racing, GM Powertrain and our Chevrolet teams. This will be a very demanding race but our teams are as prepared as they can be for this grueling 24-hour event.”
The contingent of six Corvette DPs was in the top-12 of the qualifying order. It’s an impressive start in a new championship after Chevrolet claimed the last two engine manufacturer championships in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. Chevrolet power is looking for its first victory in the Rolex 24 since 2003.
“This was an excellent start to the weekend for our Corvette DP teams,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager for Daytona Prototypes. “It is encouraging to see the speed and consistency from the test days earlier this month through today. There are many more challenge and laps to go before the end of the race Sunday, and as a result no one in the Chevrolet camp will rest on these accomplishments.”
The TUDOR Championship is a merger of the Rolex Series and the American Le Mans Series. The main prototype category is the featured class with a mix of GRAND-AM Daytona Prototypes racing for the first time against several other prototype machines that made up the ALMS grid a year ago.
In the GS class of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, the new Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R made an impressive run in its first qualifying session. The No. 01 CKS Autosport entry of Eric Curran and Lawson Aschenbach qualified fourth with a time of 1:56.625 (109.891 mph) and was only 0.801 seconds off Jade Buford’s pole-winning time.
Stevenson Motorsports’ No. 9 Camaro Z/28.R of Matt Bell and Andy Lally posted the fifth-fastest time of the session at 1:56.750 (109.773 mph). A lengthy red-flag period meant both the Camaros posted just two laps.
Team Chevy Racing