Records fall in GT class as Tandy leads Rolex 24 at Daytona qualifying

by Vince Pettit

While the talk of Daytona this week was the 26-year-old overall lap record falling to Mazda Team Joest and Oliver Jarvis, the GTLM class records was beaten by another Brit, Porsche’s Nick Tandy who will be taking on the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona with Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki.

Driving the #911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR Tandy topped the timesheets with a time of 1:42.257, eclipsing the previous record of 1:42.779 set by Jan Magnussen in the #3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R last year.

“We knew the Vettes were going to be together, so it creates a double kind of draft,” Tandy said. “Then I got the perfect tow, the perfect slipstream down the front straight, obviously with the pair of them in front.

“I was watching the lap time in the car and thought this was going to be a good one. It was probably worth a half second or so”

GTLM class shows diversity at the front

Credit: LAT Images / Michael L. Levitt

While Tandy and Porsche stamped their authority in qualifying to take pole position, the overall picture looks set for an exciting race with four different manufacturers occupying the top four grid positions in the GTLM class.

0.326 seconds behind Tandy was the #3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R driven by previous lap record holder Magnussen, who will be joined by Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller for the race.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing with their Ford GT ended the session in third place with Ryan Briscoe setting a time of 1:42.634 in the #67 car that will see Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon share seat time throughout the race.

Davide Rigon made it the fourth manufacturer in the top four with the #62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE. Miguel Molina, Alessandro Pier Guidi, and James Calado will share the car with Rigon this weekend.

The #912 Porsche and #66 Ford occupy fifth and sixth in class before the BMW Team RLL duo in the BMW M8 GTE start from seventh and eighth.  The #24 car with John Edwards, Chaz Mostert, Alex Zanardi and Jesse Krohn will hold the advantage at the start, ahead of the sister #25 car and the #4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R.

Via Italia Racing tops GTD class with Ferrari 488 GT3

Credit: LAT Images / Jake Galstad

In the GTD class Marcos Gomes took the #13 Via Italia Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 to class pole position in record setting pace, marking the second straight year that the class pole speed record had been broken.

It wasn’t only the Ferrari that lapped faster than the record from last year which was set by Daniel Serra with the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3, the top nine GTD cars all recorded faster times than 1:46.049.

“It’s my third time driving at Daytona, I’m getting better all of the times I’ve got in the track,” Gomes said. “The GTD class is the most difficult because we have the most cars, and it’s the most competitive, too, and to fight for the win on Saturday and Sunday will be very difficult for all the drivers and all the teams in the class.”

Gomes will share the car with Chico Longo, Victor Franzoni and Andrea Bertolini.

As with the GTLM class, there was four different marques in the top four, the #33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 secured second place with Ben Keating behind the wheel. The #86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 took third with Trent Hindman in control and in fourth place was the #46 EBIMOTORS Lamborghini Huracan GT3.

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