Qualifying is over ahead of this years Rolex24 at Daytona and really it was a two-way battle between the Penske Acura DPI driven by Helio Castroneves and Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac DPI, driven in the session by Renger Van Der Zande.
Castroneves looked set to take the pole on the debut of the Acura until Van Der Zande set the pole in the final seconds of the session. Elsewhere Fernando Alonso placed the United Autosports #23 Ligier in 13th position, whilst Robin Frijns placed the Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca in 6th overall, giving teammate Lance Stroll a strong starting position. Mazda Road to Indy graduate Pato O’ Ward starts 4th overall.
Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) had a disastrous qualifying session with the #22 Nissan DPI driven by Nicolas Lappiere going off track during the session, with Lappiere having to drag the car back to the pits with a deformed front end, whilst the sister #2 car failed to set a time. Mazda Team Joest meanwhile had a mixed session, with Bomarito placing the #55 in 9th whilst the sister #77 car failed to set a time and is classified as last place.
In the GTLM Class, Jan Magnussen placed the #3 Corvette Racing C7.R on class pole, ahead of Joey Hand in the #66 Ford GT and the #912 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Laurens Vanthoor starts 3rd in class demonstrating strong balance between the individual manufacturers in GTLM. BMW RLL on the debut of the M8 GTE start 8th and 9th in class. In the GTD class, it was the #51 spirit of race Ferrari 488 GT3, driven in the session by Daniel Serra who took class pole.
It might be a little disheartening for F1 fans to see Fernando qualify in 13th but this is Daytona, it is a 24 hour race and lots can and quite possibly will happen. The race starts on Saturday, see your local listings for times. It will be broadcast on the Fox sports family of channels in the US and streamed at IMSA.com internationally.
I can’t wait! The beginning of a new race season and one of my favorite races of the year. I cannot wait to see how it all plays out. One of these years I’m going to make the trip from Texas to Florida to see this event . . . definitely on my bucket list.