Corvette & Lamborghini Bank Long Beach GT poles
Jordan Taylor gave Corvette Racing another pole at Long Beach on Friday. (Photo IMSA)
LONG BEACH, Calif .– Corvette Racing continues to drive the hot hand of qualifying for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Jordan Taylor.
Taylor put the # 3 Corvette C8.R in GT Le Mans (GTLM) pole position for the fifth race in a row with Friday’s qualifying effort at the Acura Grand Prix in Long Beach. The Floridian completed the quick lap of the 15-minute session, at 1 minute 16.801 seconds (92.248 mph), to clinch the 21st pole of his IMSA career.
“Track position is obviously crucial here,” said Taylor. “It’s good for us to be on pole and to have another one-two for Corvette Racing, it’s the first time we’ve taken this C8.R to Long Beach. It suited the trail very well; we got out of the strong truck.
“Street racing is great and we love coming there,” he added, “but as a driver it’s very stressful having to get the most out of the car in a session like qualifying. It’s always nice to get out of it unscathed.
Taylor and co-driver Antonio Garcia – the defending GTLM season champions – will continue their fifth victory of 2021 in Saturday’s 100-minute race on the tight and ruthless temporary street course of 1,968 miles, 11 turns. Taylor exudes confidence for racing, knowing that the simulator work and scrutiny of engineering the Corvette team took ahead of the race weekend have already paid off.
“To be honest, this is probably the best car I’ve ever had in Long Beach,” he said. “I’ve been here a few times and it’s the nicest car I’ve driven. It was probably one of the easiest cars I’ve driven and still fast, so I think that says a lot about the car’s setup.
“Long Beach is still a one stop race. It’s all about executing in this stop and maintaining the position on the track, so qualifying is always a bonus. … I think we are well placed for tomorrow.
Tommy Milner qualified the No.4 sister Corvette in second with a lap of 1: 17.098 (91.893 mph). Cooper MacNeil finished third in the # 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 at 1: 19.686 (88.908 mph).
Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers retained Paul Miller Racing’s # 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 in the GT Daytona (GTD) title race without winning a race yet in 2021. Snow put them in position to clinch that first victory and fill in their points deficit when he won the Motul Pole Award in Friday’s qualifying.
Snow clocked a lap of 1: 19.475 (89.145 mph) two minutes from the end of the qualifying session on the GTD grid to clinch his second pole of the season and the fifth of his career in the WeatherTech Championship. Snow edged out Robby Foley (# 96 BMW M6 GT3 Turner Motorsport) by 0.134 seconds for the honor.
“It’s always an advantage to start up front, but I would say even more being a street course where it’s hard to pass,” said Snow. “But I think the most important thing is that it is risky to pass on street courses. It’s really wonderful to start at the front.
In the ensuing GTD points qualifying segment, Laurens Vanthoor clocked a record lap of 1: 18.957 (89.729 mph) to lead the 17-car field and collect the maximum 35 points for the # 9 Porsche 911 GT3R in Pfaff Motorsports. This allowed Vanthoor and co-driver Zacharie Robichon – who are leading a two-game winning streak – to climb within 20 points of Foley and # 96 BMW co-driver Bill Auberlen for the GTD championship lead.
Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn of the Heart of Racing No.23 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 team are third in the standings, 54 points from the lead. Sellers finished second to Vanthoor in the GTD points qualifying session to pull the No.1 Lamborghini within 82 points of first place.
“The points for the top four (teams) in our GTD class are all very tight so that gives us a good advantage before the race,” said Snow. “It’s the best foot forward we can follow for tomorrow, so we’ll see.”