Vasser Sullivan Lexus, Paul Miller BMW nab IMSA poles at VIR

The current points leaders in both GTD PRO and GTD demonstrated a good part of the reason they’re at the front by taking the Motul Pole Awards for Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway. In high temperatures that produced different track conditions than the drivers had seen so far this weekend, Jack Hawksworth took the GTD PRO and overall pole for the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus squad, bringing his total pole count to 10. He would have tied Madison Snow in that statistic, but Snow added another to his total by putting the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 on the GTD pole, qualifying fourth overall.

Hawksworth’s best lap of 1m44.780s — 112.35mph around the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit — didn’t match the quick times from Saturday morning’s session and were well off the 1m43.356s record held by Ross Gunn, thanks to the hot weather. It was enough, though,  to snatch the pole by 0.096s from Daniel Juncadella in the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes AMG.

“Can’t get better than pole, right? So that was good,” declared Hawksworth. “Mega weekend so far. It’s been brilliant and the boys have been fantastic and the car has been working really well. Heads down for tomorrow now, but very happy with it.


“The temperature outside is absurd. The track grip was a lot different than we had in practice two. It was greasy and I just tried to put a clean lap together. The guys obviously gave me a really fast car; the Lexus was working really well. Just tried not to make any mistakes. It was easy to overdrive, I think.”

For Juncadella, who was quickest in the morning session after the No. 79 suffered a fire yesterday, the results were a disappointment.

“First, great job by the crew to get the WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG GT3 back together after what happened yesterday,” Juncadella said. “I didn’t have the smoothest qualifying session. I think Road America was better. It was so close to pole that it hurts. Third time this year I have just missed out on pole. I made a small mistake, then on the last lap I was able to get close. It’s a shame to miss out on pole by such a small margin.”

Antonio Garcia was third in the No. 3 Corvette Racing C8.R with a 1m45.133, the last PRO car before six GTD cars. Patrick Pilet (No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R) and Gunn (No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3) were 10th and 11th overall, respectively.

Snow’s 11th pole position, and second of 2023 – the only GTD driver to have more than one so far this season – came courtesy of a 1m45.225s lap to best Aaron Telitz in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 by 0.153s. Telitz’s second attempt at a flyer was hurt by running wide at the exit of Oak Tree. Loris Spinelli qualified the No. 78 Forte Racing Powered by USRT Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo2 third with a 1m45.416s lap.

“The track was definitely slippery out there,” Snow explained. “I had two mock qually runs in the first practice, so I definitely went into qualifying knowing exactly where my brake points were and what I needed to do. [At] he beginning of qualifying, I went out on my first good lap and immediately went wide in [Turn] 1 and realized, ‘OK, I’m going to need to reevaluate what I’m doing out here.’ Just accept the track for what it was, and it was slippery. Super hot, but that is what it is. It was about not making mistakes and just putting a lap together.”

Mike Skeen (No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3) and Patrick Gallagher (No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3) completed the top five in GTD. Gallagher had been near the top of the time sheets in the two previous practice sessions, but an off-course excursion during qualifying likely scuttled his chances for pole.

Up Next: A 20 minute warmup at 8:15 a.m. ET ahead of a 2:10 p.m. race start.


Story originally appeared on Racer