Cadillac, Corvette lock out IMSA front rows at Laguna Seca

Pipo Derani’s streak of pole positions in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was halted at three, but it will still be an all-Cadillac front row for Sunday’s Motul Course de Monterey Powered by Hyundai N. Sebastien Bourdais posted a new-track-record time of 1m12.445 (111.21mph) in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R to pip Derani in the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing entry by 0.112s.

“It definitely wasn’t that easy,” Bourdais said. “Quite a few mistakes, which is pretty typical of this place when you’re trying to hustle around big cars like that with banking, compressions, a fairly narrow line and high speed and big commitment. It’s always pretty rewarding when you put it together and you make it work.

“I wouldn’t say it was the cleanest lap, but it was good enough, so really happy for everybody at Cadillac and Ganassi Racing because we’ve been very close this year, but so far we have not been able to put it up top and it feels great.”


Bourdais said he locked up at the top of the Corkscrew on his best lap, citing one of his mistakes.

“I almost didn’t make the Corkscrew. When you just kind of miss the apex after that lockup, you lose the steering over the hump, so at that point you’re along for the ride. Thankfully it was not all the way over. Then you lose time because the [traction control] comes in and you’ve got a pretty tight right to make, but it all worked out,” he said.

Philip Eng, who posted the quick time in the second practice, put the No. 24 BMW M Team RLL M Hybrid V8 on the inside of the second row with a 1m12.649s lap. The No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 will start alongside thanks to Mathieu Jaminet’s 1m12.664s time. The third row will look very much like the second, with the No. 25 BMW (Connor De Phillippi) on the inside and the No. 7 PPM Porsche (Dane Cameron) on the outside.

The two Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06s will start on row four, ahead of the two privateer Porsche 963s from JDC-Miller MotorSports and Proton Competition. The entire GTP field qualified with a spread of 0.869s.

Nicky Catsburg not only obliterated the GTD PRO track record, he put a three-tenths gap on the rest of the field as the Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Z06 GT3.Rs locked out the front row of the GT field. Catsburg, in his first qualifying session since joining Corvette Racing, posted a 1m19.727s (101.05mph) to claim the GTD PRO and overall GTD pole in the No. 4 Corvette, 0.311s better than Antonio Garcia in the No. 3.

“It was my first first qualifying in IMSA and I must say I was a little bit nervous before the session, so it was very nice to to come back with with a good result,” said Catsburg. “The guys had a very difficult day; they had to change the engine after practice for qualifying, so they did an amazing job. We made some small changes to the to the setup as well, trying to get it dialed in for qualifying. We knew that track position is going to be very, very important here because it’s not so much of a drop off anymore. The track is much faster and the tires will last a lot longer, so it was important to us to to do that.”

Pfaff Motorsports, which had been the only team to score a GTD PRO pole at Laguna Seca, will start on the inside of the second row courtesy of Marvin Kirchhofer’s 1m20.244s in the No. 9 McLaren 720S GT3 EVO. Jack Hawksworth put the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 alongside the McLaren on the outside of the second row. Seb Priaulx (No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R) and Mario Farnbacher (No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo) will occupy the third row, and the last GTD PRO cars before the quickest of the GTD qualifiers.

Shortly before he was to head to the green on the outside of the front row for the first Lamborghini Super Trofeo race of the weekend, Danny Formal scored his first WeatherTech Championship pole position for Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti in the No. 45 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2. He also has a new track record to go with the pole position at 1m20.866s. Formal will start the Lamborghini on the inside of the fourth row of the GT field.

“Today was a great day,” Formal declared. “Practice two, we kind of prepared for this qualifying – we had decided that I was going to qualify the car and the car felt extremely good. It was a little cooler out and [it] kind of benefitted our car. I had difficulties getting a good lap in qualifying – it was quite dusty, and I just couldn’t get the rear tires activated. So yeah, the last lap was kind of [to] cool it off and I pushed pretty hard in the last sector to start the lap and so my tire pressure was an ideal number and I was able to get 0.2s in the last lap and get that pole position that my team truly deserves.”

Patrick Gallagher briefly held the fast time in GTD in the No. 557 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3, but will have to settle for starting alongside Formal’s Lamborghini after falling 0.129s short.

Russell Ward was third in GTD for Winward Racing and will start the No. 57 Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo next to GTD PRO seventh-place qualifier Madison Snow’s No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3. Ward’s 1m21.019 was 0.032s better than Spencer Pumpelly, who put the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage on the inside of the sixth row, with Frankie Montecalvo in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F GT3 on the outside.

The 2h40m race, the fourth round of the WeatherTech Championship, kicks off at 12:10pm local time, 3:10 ET.


Story originally appeared on Racer