By IMSA Wire Service
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada – For the second consecutive year, the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR will lead the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans (GTLM) class to green at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix.
While Dirk Werner delivered the pole for the Porsche GT Team in 2017, it was Nick Tandy behind the wheel Saturday afternoon, posting a best time of one minute, 13.517 seconds (120.412 mph). The pole position is Porsche’s first of the season and Tandy’s first since he unconventionally took the overall pole in the No. 911 Porsche at the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
“I mean, qualifying is one thing,” said Tandy. “It’s going to be hot this weekend. It’s good we can bring our tires up to temperature and the Porsche is obviously really good on this track. We showed that last year. But the race is obviously not one lap long, so we’ll see what the pace is going to be on the long run.”
Tandy and co-driver Patrick Pilet are seeking their second win of the season at CTMP, after besting the GTLM field at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts in March. The duo also took the 2015 GTLM victory at CTMP, after Tandy started from the pole position in that race as well.
However, the Englishman knows it won’t be easy to repeat the team’s success.
“I’m sure we won’t have such an advantage and I’m sure it’s going to be a close race,” said Tandy. “I’m sure it will be enjoyable to watch. Hopefully we can stay out front. We qualified on pole here in 2015 and won the race, so we hope to carry on that stream.”
Starting alongside Tandy and Pilet will be the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, who took the pole one week ago at Watkins Glen International. Briscoe’s time was .314 seconds shy of Tandy’s, with a lap of 1.13.831 (119.900 mph).
Making it three different manufacturers in the top three starting positions is the No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia with the former posting a time of 1:13.934 (119.733 mph).
Additionally, the top five starting drivers in qualifying for Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix all toppled Werner’s previous track record of 1.14.085 (119.5 mph).
Hawksworth Scores Series-Leading Third Motul Pole Award In Lexus
Jack Hawksworth became the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s first three-time Motul Pole Award winner this season in qualifying Saturday for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
It was the second consecutive GT Daytona (GTD) class pole for Hawksworth in the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 co-driven by David Heinemeier Hansson, with the duo also starting last weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen from the top spot. His other pole came at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in May.
“We knew this would be a track that really suited us,” said Hawksworth. “It’s almost designed for our car, this type of track. We knew we were going to be strong. I’m really happy with how well we’ve been performing this whole week. We’ve been fast since the moment we came off the truck.”
Hawksworth’s lap of one minute, 15.581 seconds (117.124 mph) was 0.439 seconds quicker than teammate Dominik Baumann, 1:16.020, in 3GT Racing’s No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 co-driven by Canadian Kyle Marcelli.
The Lexus front row sweep fittingly comes one year after the manufacturer scored its first GTD class pole with Sage Karam at the wheel.
Series points leader Bryan Sellers qualified third in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 co-driven by Madison Snow with a lap of 1:16.386. With six races remaining in the WeatherTech Championship season, a heavyweight title fight is setting up between Sellers and Snow and the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 of Katherine Legge, who is co-driving in Sunday’s race with Alvaro Parente.
Sellers and Snow have finished on the podium in every race this season, but still only sit one point ahead of Legge who has finished second or better in four of races. Parente will roll off the grid sixth Sunday in the sixth position.
The top six cars broke the existing class track record set by Karam last season.
The two-hour, 40-minute Mobil 1 Sports Car Grand Prix begins at 2:05 p.m. EDT and will be televised on FS1 on a delayed basis beginning at 4 p.m. ET. It will be carried live by IMSA Radio on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio (Sirius 138/XM 202/App 972, including all of Canada).