GTLM cars take top seven qualifying times

January 28, 2016

GTLM cars take top seven qualifying times

January 28, 2016


The production-based GT Le Mans machines dominated qualifying in the rain at Daytona International Speedway today with Porsche’s Nick Tandy leading a group of seven cars which were faster than their more powerful and more aerodynamic prototype rivals.

Traditionally the Prototype and Prototype Challenge classes are faster around the Daytona road course than the GTLM entrants but Tandy’s time in wet conditions today was more than four seconds faster than the quickest prototype machines – the Prototype Challenge car of Johnny Mowlem and the Russian-built BR01 Prototype entry of IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin.

tandy_pole_carsAs was the case in last year’s season-closing race at Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, the Michelin-equipped manufacturer entries from Porsche, BMW, Ferrari and Corvette proved to be extremely quick in the testing damp conditions.

Tandy led a Porsche 1-2 in qualifying with teammate Fred Makowiecki recording the second fastest time. Makowiecki was nearly a second off the Englishman’s quick lap which was recorded after the session was disrupted by a red flag caused by a crash from Ferrari driver Gianmaria Bruni.

“In the end it was a really interesting qualifying session. When we went out after the red there was only time for one flying lap,” Tandy said.

“I understood that early so I made some space. It’s always good to follow someone because they take some water off in front of you. The plan wasn’t to be the fastest but be in front of the GTD grid. The risk of going off and being further back on the grid was really high.

“We got the cars one-two on the pole and thats what we wanted. So this overall start first goes well”

The new BMW M6 of John Edwards was third fastest ahead of a pair of Ferraris driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi and Toni Vilander.

Series newcomers Ford had led the final practice session earlier today but could not repeat the performance during qualifying. Joey Hand suffered a spin on the exit of the back straight “bus stop” en route to the ninth-fastest GTLM time ahead of teammate Ryan Briscoe.

While the seven top GTLM cars set the fastest time in qualifying today, the car that will start from pole on Saturday will be the Prototype of Mikhail Aleshin.

The Prototype and Prototype Challenge classes will be in the first wave of cars to greet the green flag, followed by the GTLM and GT Daytona classes.

While weather forecasts for Friday and the race weekend look clear, today’s results did highlight the performance of the Michelin wet tire. The Michelin teams took positions two through nine in the first practice session today; the top five spots in the second session and then the fastest seven times in today’s qualifying.

Night practice is scheduled to begin at 6:30pm for the final 90 minute session of the day.

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