Le Mans winner Nick Tandy tops GT Le Mans qualifying.
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Ricky Taylor put the No. 10 Konica Minolta Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype on the pole for Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Saturday qualifying.
But only by a hair.
His best lap was 1 minute, 9.705 seconds in the Wayne Taylor Racing entry he shares with his brother, Jordan. A close second was Christian Fittipaldi in the Action Express Mustang Sampling Corvette DP with a lap of 1:09.864. Fittipaldi and co-driver Joao Barbosa are the reigning champions in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Third fastest was Scott Pruett in the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost Riley DP he co-drives with Joey Hand. Fourth was the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP driven by Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiente. That car is the most recent winner, taking the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen two weeks ago.
First to repeat
Ricky Taylor is the first repeat pole winner in the Prototype class this season. “Qualifying has been really competitive this year,” he said, “and I wanted to be the first one to repeat, especially coming off a bad weekend at Watkins Glen,” where they finished 28th in a 34-car field.
Taylor, who will start the race and turn the car over to his brother near the halfway mark, is expecting it to be brutal. “Times have been close all weekend. I need to keep the car clean and give it to Jordan in one piece.”
In the GT Le Mans class, Nick Tandy took the pole in the No. 911 Porsche North America 911 RSR he shares with Patrick Pilet, with a lap of 1:14.829.
Close behind in second was Dirk Werner in the No. No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE with a best lap of 1:14.857. Third was Lucas Luhr in the No. 24 in a BMW Team RLL sister car he shares with John Edwards.
Tandy said the key to his fast time was “making sure we did everything properly, to the maximum,” he said. “I was quite surprised by how fast the pace was.” In the history of the GT Le Mans class, dating back to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January of 2014, Tandy is the first driver to score a second pole.
The competition in the GTLM class is tight, he said, and Tandy knows something about competition: He and Earl Bamber, who is driving the No. 912 sister Porsche this weekend, won the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, teamed with Formula One driver Nico Hulkenberg.
The class is “great competition,” he said. “It’s not like there is one dominant manufacturer, one dominant team.” Indeed, the difference between the fastest and slowest GTLM qualifier was just over seven-tenths of a second.
French fastest in PC
In Prototype Challenge, James French set the fast time of 1:12.667 in his No. 38 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca-Chevrolet that he shares with Conor Daly. Second was Chris Cumming with a time of 1:12.669 in the RSR Racing entry he co-drives with Bruno Junqueira. In third, with a best lap of 1:13.007 was John Bennett in the CORE Autosport car he co-drives with Colin Braun.
French saved his best lap for the last one, knocking Cumming off the pole at the last opportunity. “I knew what I had to do and I didn’t have a lot of time to do it,” French said. “This track is really intimidating with so many high-speed corners. It’s just a matter of trusting the car and thinking everything is going to be alright.”
The 23-car field will take to the 2.459-mile, 10-turn road course for the two-hour, 40-minute race at 12:05 p.m. ET, with Fox Sports 1 signing on with live coverage beginning at noon. IMSA.com and the IMSA App will stream live video, timing & scoring, and IMSA Radio’s play-by-play.