Records fall in Glen qualifying as Deletraz takes pole for Acura

Deprived of a proper qualifying session for last year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen due to inclement weather, the GTP runners made up for it with an exciting session where every driver was under the existing track record, set during the race last year. Louis Deletraz came out on a top of a rapid-fire fast lap rotation to take the GTP pole with a 1m32.309s lap, good for a 132.6mph average around the 3.4-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International circuit.

“It’s great to be on pole,” said Deletraz. “The car was fast today — very fast — and I felt good, so I could really push straight away, get the grip and put it on pole, so that’s nice. But we know what’s important is Sunday and the race; the points are tomorrow, so to be sure winning in Sebring was nice, but it’s quite far away. We had some harder weekends in Laguna and Detroit, so we’re looking forward to bouncing back here.”

Renger van der Zande, making his first qualifying appearance for Cadillac Racing since Daytona in 2022, held the top spot briefly in the No. 01 V-Series.R before Deletraz pipped him by 0.038s. The No. 01 will start on the outside of the first row.


Jack Aitken posted a 1m32.519s lap to start the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac Racing V-Series.R on the inside of the second row. The No. 85 JDC-Miller MotorSports Porsche 963 found itself the best of the four 963s in the field courtesy of Phil Hanson’s 1m32.525s to put the car outside the second row. It will be the two Porsche Penske Motorsport 963s on the third row, Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 6 besting teammate Felipe Nasr in the No. 7 by 0.069s.

Philipp Eng, in the only BMW M Team RLL M Hybrid V8 to qualify, will start seventh, and the Lamborghini SC63 will start ninth after Andrea Caldarelli qualified the car with a time identical to Gianmaria Bruni in the No. 5 Proton Competition Porsche. Caldarelli posted his time first, so he gets the better grid position. Those identical times were 0.714s off Deletraz’s pole time, and that was the margin for the whole GTP field.

PJ Hyett put the No. 99 AO Racing ORECA known as “Spike” on top, then kept lowering his best time to take the LMP2 pole — his second of the season — by an impressive 0.682s over Daniel Goldburg in the No. 22 United Autosports ORECA. Hyett’s 1m35.925 was good for a 127.6mph average around Watkins Glen. It’s Hyett’s second consecutive pole in three LMP2 races, the first coming at Sebring.

“I got my first racing license when I was 38 years old…I’m 41 now so haven’t been doing this for very long,” explained Hyett. “It’s one of those…unbelievably magical things about motorsports. I wouldn’t call that a perfect lap. There are still 12 things I think I could have done better about that lap, but when you see the time after you go over the start finish…yeah, it’s a magical feeling.”

Steven Thomas qualified the No. 11 TDS Racing ORECA at 1m36.609s. Nick Boulle was fourth in the No. 52 Inter Europol by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports entry, followed by Ben Keating in the No. 2 United Autosports ORECA.

Jake Galstad/Lumen

IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup team Risi Competizione will start the Six Hour on the GT pole after Daniel Serra set a new GTD PRO record in qualifying. Serra’s 1m44.203s (117.46mph) in the No. 62 Ferrari 296 GT3 beat a two-year-old record set by Connor De Phillippi in a BMW M4 GT3, as well as the GTD record set by Loris Spinelli last year in the Forte Racing Lamborghini Huracan.

“The track was quite different from this morning and everything that we changed worked very well,” said Serra as Risi looks to back up its Daytona win and second at Sebring. “I think the starting position doesn’t decide your end position in the race; it’s six hours of racing. We have a lot to do tomorrow, but of course it’s better to start in the front; track position is quite important especially at this track where it’s very difficult to overtake. I’m very happy and I have to say thank you to the team that gave me a really nice car.”

Parker Thompson was the sole GTD interloper in the GTD PRO top 10, scoring his third pole of the season in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. His 1m44.642s time was good for sixth overall in the GT field. He’ll start on the outside of the third row of the GT cars with a nice buffer of GTD PRO cars between him and the closest GTD competitor, putting the No. 12 in good position to defend its victory from last year.

“We know our Lexus RC F agrees with Watkins Glen. It agreed today in qualifying,” Thompson said. “This place is unbelievable for a qualifying lap. It’s fun to drive in the race, but for one lap, squeezing everything you can out of it, it’s probably the best one lap you could ever get as a race car driver — tons of commitment. Glad I got it done today for the No. 12 team, but nobody remembers who wins the pole; they only remember the guys in victory lane, so we’ve got a job to finish tomorrow.”

Despite having a puncture on the left rear of the No. 3 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Z06 GT3.R and losing the carcass on the track as the checker fell on the session, Alexander Sims qualified on the outside of the front GT row with a time 0.114s off Serra’s. Ross Gunn put the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo on the inside of the second row with a 1m44.387s. Jack Hawksworth will start alongside Gunn in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Racing Lexus RC F. The second Corvette, the No. 4 Z06 GT3.R qualified by Nicky Catsburg, will be inside Thompson’s Lexus on the third row.

Onofrio Triarsi put in his best qualifying performance to qualify the No. 023 Triarsi Competizone Ferrari 296 second in GTD with a 1m45.242s (identical to the time Franck Perera turned in the No. 19 GTD PRO Iron Lynx Lamborghini). The time was the twelfth-fastest in the GT field as a whole, and the Ferrari will start outside the sixth row. It’s two GTD Mercedes AMGs in the row behind; the seventh row will be the No. 32 Korthoff Preston Motorsports entry (Mikael Grenier) and the No. 57 Winward Racing car (Russell Ward).

The Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen is scheduled for a green flag at 11:10 a.m. ET on Sunday.


Story originally appeared on Racer