Nick Tandy qualified the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR third on the grid for tomorrow's Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Keen Leads 11 Porsche 911 GT America Racecars on IMSA GTD Grid
Monterey, Calif. With less than one second covering the top ten of both the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) grids, competition in tomorrow's two, two Continental Tire Monterey Grands Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca promises to be intense. In qualifying, Nick Tandy (Great Britain) placed the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR third in GTLM class. Alex Job Racing's Leh Keen (Atlanta) drove the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America to second on the GTD grid.
As has become a hallmark of the Tudor Championship, the competition between manufacturers was again strong at the 2.238-mile circuit on California's Monterey Peninsula. Tandy's time of one-minute, 22.678 seconds in the works Porsche was a narrow 0.305-seconds off the pole-winning time of Corvette Racing's lap of 1:22.373. The Porsche factory driver's effort was only a tenth of a second from taking the outside of the front row for the two-hour race which will see the top two-tiers of North American sports car racing, GTLM and Prototype (P), racing together at the same time. The GTD class will race earlier in the day in a two-hour event with the Prototype Challenge (PC) class.
Tandy and his Austrian co-driver Richard Lietz are currently tied for second in the GTLM driver point standings. The pairing, along with Patrick Pilet (France), won the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Porsche North America teammate Patrick Long (Playa del Rey, Calif.) was eighth quickest in the 15-minute qualifying session. The gap from the pole position time to the American Porsche factory ace's hot lap was a slender 8/10ths of a second. Long will co-drive with Denmark's Michael Christensen. The pairing, with Jörg Bergmeister (Germany), raced to victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
Team Falken Tire, the sole privateer entrant of the Porsche 911 RSR in North America, will start tomorrow's GTLM/P class race tenth on the 11-car grid. Factory driver Wolf Henzler (Germany), who shares the No. 17 with Bryan Sellers (Braselton, Ga.), qualified with a time of 1:23.660.
GT Daytona - Porsche on the Front Row
In the GT Daytona qualifying session, the No. 22 Alex Job Racing WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America was fastest among the Porsche entries. The qualifying effort of Leh Keen was good enough for a front row spot on the grid for tomorrow's GTD/PC race.
Keen, who will share the car with Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.), turned his fast lap before an eight-minute red flag period ate into the 15-minute qualifying session. With qualifying times being valid by rule only after ten minutes of green flag racing, the sanctioning body extended GTD qualifying by two minutes - enough to give the field ten minutes of green and enable Audi's Spencer Pumpelly to take the pole position on the last lap of extended time.
Jan Heylen, from Tampa, Fla., was the next fastest Porsche in his Snow Racing with Wright Motorsports 911 GT Daytona he will co-drive with Madison Snow (Lehi, Utah), earning a seventh place starting position, while Kuba Giermaziak, from Poland, was eighth in the MOMO NGT Porsche GT America he co-drives with Henrique Cisneros (Miami). Andy Lally (Dacula, Ga.) was ninth in the Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America in the car he will share with John Potter (Salt Lake City, Utah).
Round 4 of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 on Saturday, May 4. The GT Daytona/Prototype Challenge race will start at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, while the GT Le Mans/Prototype race will begin 5:30 p.m. ET/ 2:30 p.m. PT. Live steaming is available on the FOX Sports GO mobile app for North American fans, and on IMSA.com for international fans. The live radio broadcast is available on the Motor Racing Network on IMSA.com, MRN.com, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90). Live timing and scoring is available at http://scoring.imsa.com/.
Nick Tandy, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "This is very promising. Where we lacked a little bit of speed at Long Beach, we found some this weekend. It's still a sprint race so qualifying is important. It's obviously a decent place to start for the race tomorrow. We've been working to get a better qualifying understanding with this car. We're not quite there yet but we are getting better."
Patrick Long, No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR: "We made a choice to go for our lap early and that might not have paid off. I think, as a driver, I left a little out there. We will need to do our homework tomorrow. I think we made big strides forward from the practice to the race. The track changed from when we finished practice to qualifying immensely so it shows potential for a big shift in track conditions in the race tomorrow. That is pretty typical of Laguna Seca, temperatures can drop quickly."
Leh Keen, Alex Job Racing WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America, GTD: "We were looking real good for the pole and then the Audi took it right at the end. We started on the front row at Sebring and here we are again. We were close to pole in the most competitive class in the series and it is going to be like that every race. The guys unloaded the car with a great set-up and we were fastest in this morning's practice. We just tuned on it a little bit and the car responded well. A win tomorrow is the focus now."
Owen Hayes, Director of Operations, Porsche Motorsport North America: "Qualifying was good. You can see between all the manufacturers it's really close. Laguna is one of those circuits that is a little bit difficult to setup for. We've had very little time on circuit and a lot of cars on circuit so we've had very few clear laps. I think all-in-all, it is OK."
Monterey Grand Prix Qualifying
GT Le Mans Results:
1. No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, Antonio Garcia (Spain), 1:22.373
2. No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE, John Edwards (USA), 1:22.578
3. No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, Nick Tandy (Great Britain), 1:22.678
4. No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, Oliver Gavin (Great Britain), 1:22.768
5. No. 55 BMW Z4 GTE, Andy Priaulx (France), 1:22.810
8. No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR, Patrick Long (USA), 1:23.263
10. No. 17 Porsche 911 RSR, Wolf Henzler (Germany), 1:23.660
GT Daytona Results:
1. No. 45 Audi R8 LMS, Spencer Pumpelly (USA), 1:26.696
2. No. 22 Porsche 911 GT America , Leh Keen (USA), 1:26.962
3. No. 48 Audi RS LMS, Chsitopher Haase (Germany), 1:27.101
4. No. 35 Audi RS LMS, Dionne von Moltke (USA), 1:27.121
5. No. 64 Ferrari F-458 Italia, Kyle Marcelli (Canada), 1:27.121
7. No. 58 Porsche 911 GT America, Jan Haylen (USA), 1:27.371
8. No. 30 Porsche 911 GT America, Kuba Giermaziak (Poland), 1:27.416
9. No. 44 Porsche 911 GT America, Andy Lally (USA), 1:27.448
11. No.23 Porsche 911 GT America, Mario Farnbacher (Germany), 1:27.549
12. No. 81 Porsche 911 GT America, Damien Faulkner (Ireland), 129.750
14. No. 73 Porsche 911 GT America, Kevin Estre (France), 1:27.963
16. No. 71 Porsche 911 GT America, Craig Stanton (USA), 1:28.238
17. No. 27 Porsche 911 GT America, Andrew Davis (USA), 1:28.480
19. No. 18 Porsche 911 GT America, Matt Bell (USA), 1:29.581
21. No. 19 Porsche 911 GT America, Dillon Machavern (USA), 1:30.205