Three Mercedes-AMG cars clocked the three fastest average times during qualifying for the Laguna Seca Raceway California 8 Hours. The fifteen fastest cars – all GT3 machines – will now participate in the Pole Shootout session later today.
It was no surprise that the fifteen fastest cars of the qualifying sessions proved to be all GT3 machines. The fastest average time was set by the drivers of the #43 Mercedes-AMG Strakka Racing machine, just edging in front of their Mercedes-AMG colleagues of the #175 Mercedes-AMG Team SunEnergy1 Racing and the #44 Strakka Racing machines. Eleven of the GT3 cars were within the same second on average, which holds a lot of promise for this afternoon's Pole Shootout.
The class pole positions were also decided in the Qualifying session. In GTC the #6 US RaceTronics Lamborghini was quickest, GT4 pole position goes to the #51 Team Panoz Racing Avezzano, while TCR honours were taken by the #99 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai.
Richard Antinucci (#6 US RaceTronics Lamborghini, 1st GTC): “We decided to do all three qualifying sessions with the same set of tyres, since we don't really have competition in our own class and the GT3 cars are too far in front. This gives us more fresh tyres for the race, which is the important part of the weekend. If we can keep out of trouble, we might beat some of the GT3 cars after the 8 Hours.”
Ian James (#51 Team Panoz Racing Avezzano, 1st GT4): “Pole for an 8-hour race is not that important, but it's nice to have the bragging rights. I really like this average qualifying system, for endurance racing is a real team sport. This race will not be easy, for we have to fight our own fight and keep an eye in the mirror for the faster GT3's.”
Mark Wilkins (#99 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai, 1st TCR): “The i30-N is a real competitive car, both in sprint and endurance racing. The main issue for this 8-hour race will be tyre longevity, we'll try to keep out of trouble and get the best result possible.”