Richard Westbrook Secures Petit Le Mans Pole


Richard Westbrook will start the #90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP from pole position in tomorrow’s Petit Le Mans, whilst Tom Kimber-Smith, Earl Bamber and Cameron Lawrence took the other class pole positions.

Prototype

Times plummeted in the closing stages of the Prototype qualifying session by around three seconds, but it is Richard Westbrook who will start from pole position tomorrow in the #90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP. He led the session for most of the 15 minutes, but his final lap time of 1:27.860 secured him the front position. His next closest competitor was Christian Fittipaldi in the #5 Action Express Racing car, who recorded a 1:28.920. Next on the grid will be Chip Ganassi Racing thanks to Joey Hand‘s third place, ahead of Ricky Taylor‘s fourth position lap time in the Wayne Taylor Racing car.

Neither the Michael Shank Racing nor the SpeedSource Mazda Prototype cars took part in qualifying. The former missed the session whilst it was being rebuilt following its practice crash, whilst the SpeedSource team decided to instead do some pitstop practice ahead of the race.

Prototype Challenge

Only two PC cars were able to set times faster than a GTLM contender. The most successful of these was the #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09 of Tom Kimber-Smith, who recorded a 1:32.378. His main competition throughout the session was Johnny Mowlem, piloting the #16 BAR1 Motorsports entry. The class lead switched between the two British drivers for the entire 15 minutes, but ultimately Kimber-Smith had a lead of over half a second. Championship leaders CORE Autosport will start seventh in class, Jon Bennett only managing a 1:42.775.

Tom Kimber-Smith beat Johnny Mowlem to PC pole (Credit: Scott R LePage/LAT Photo USA/IMSA)
Tom Kimber-Smith beat Johnny Mowlem to PC pole (Credit: Scott R LePage/LAT Photo USA/IMSA)

GT Le Mans

Porsche North America once again dominated qualifying, but for a change it was the #912 car out front. Earl Bamber set a time of 1:30.074, but this time was disallowed when he came off in the Esses, bring out the red flag and ending the session prematurely. His second best time was valid, and it still puts his team on pole position with a 1:30.304. Nick Tandy, driving the sister #911 car, was fastest for the first half of the session until his team-mate took the top spot.

Third place went to Oliver Gavin‘s #4 Corvette Racing C7R, whilst Lucas Luhr‘s #24 BMW Team RLL Z4 and the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia of Giancarlo Fisichella were in fourth and fifth respectively. Despite qualifying on pole, the #912 Porsche will require a serious repair job overnight. Also with damage is the #17 Team Falken Tire Porsche, which sustained damage when Bryan Sellers crashed into the wall on his first flying lap.

GT Daytona

Cameron Lawrence took a last-moment pole position with a time of 1:38.295 in the #93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R. However, it was Leh Keen who had controlled the majority of the session, setting three fastest times simultaneously in his #22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America, but his team will start third tomorrow. Between them is the #73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche, with Spencer Pumpelly going momentarily fastest before his lead was lost to Lawrence.

Notable cars missing from the front of the field are the #007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage V12 and the #48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS. The former was driven by Christina Nielsen who leads the championship by just one point heading into this round, but will only start eighth. The Audi was piloted by Dion von Moltke, and he starts from ninth.