August 5, 2021

IMSA Roar: Nasr puts AXR Cadillac on pole for qualifying race

With 17 cars on track for the Prototype session – seven LMP1, 10 LMP2 – the 3.56-mile Daytona road course was busy in the closing minutes of the session, but Felipe Nasr picked his way through the traffic to land pole for AXR.

Oliver Jarvis’ last ditch effort in the sole Mazda RT24-P came up 0.131sec short and was only just enough to keep Tristan Vautier’s JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac in third, ahead of IMSA newbie Kevin Magnussen in Chip Ganassi Racing’s Caddy.

The Acura ARX-05s of Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing will fill the third row, while seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Jimmie Johnson was seventh, 1.377sec off teammate Nasr.

Ben Keating landed LMP2 pole for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports with a 1min37.589sec lap, almost a second faster than Dennis Andersen’s High Class Racing entry with Cetilar Racing’s Roberto Lacorte a further half second behind and just ahead of John Farano in the Tower Motorsports by Starworks car.

In LMP3, Moritz Kranz of Muelhner Motorsports was the only driver to eclipse all the GTLM times, first with a 1min42.782sec lap, then with a 1min42.384 – 0.6sec ahead of the GT pacesetter. Former Indy Lights driver Ryan Norman was second fastest, over 1.2sec behind in the similar Duqueine-Nissan of Forty7 Motorsports.

Fastest of the Ligiers was Rasmus Lindh of Performance Tech Motorsports, mere hundredths behind Norman, while Jon Bennett was 2.6sec down in the CORE autosport entry but way ahead of Lance Willsey of Sean Creech Motorsport.

With Daniel Morad in the GTD Alegra Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3 having stopped on track in the third sector before anyone had set a representative time in the GT session, this obliged 25 cars to try and set a time in just eight minutes.

In the end, GT Le Mans saw a good deal of separation between the four marques represented. Marco Wittmann and Timo Glock scored a 1-2 in the RLL-run BMW M8s, 0.363sec apart, and with Wittmann 0.65sec clear of the next non-BMW.

Corvette Racing newcomer Alexander Sims laid down a marker by beating reigning champion teammate Jordan Taylor by one-tenth in their C8.Rs.

Alessandro Pier Guidi was more than half a second adrift of Taylor – and 1.3sec off Wittman – driving the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488, while Cooper MacNeil was a further 1sec back in the WeatherTech Racing Proton Porsche 911 RSR.

In GT Daytona, Ryan Hardwick, who won the last IMSA race – the 2020 Sebring 12 Hours – with teammates Jan Heylen and Pat Long, excelled himself again for Wright Motorsports this afternoon. Hardwick scored top time by more than a quarter second ahead of Simon Mann’s AF Corse Ferrari 488, while Madison Snow’s Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan was less than 0.1sec further back.

Russell Ward (Winward Racing Mercedes) and Ian James (Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage) made it five different constructors in the top five places.

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