Mazda Team Joest did not go quite as fast Thursday (Jan. 24) as they did during the Roar Before the 24. Despite that, Oliver Jarvis turned in a lap at 136.799 mph in qualifying. Not only was that lap fast enough to win the pole for Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, but it will go down as the fastest lap ever turned on Daytona International Speedway’s road course. The lap officially broke PJ Jones’ track record, which had stood since 1993.
“I just feel proud that I was able to reward he boys and girls who’ve worked so hard,” Jarvis said after the session concluded. “This has been a serious effort to come here, over the winter, all of last year. To put it all together. To put it on pole, we know it doesn’t mean much in a 24 hour race, but I think it represents what we’re here to do. We’re here to show that we’re capable of winning races. Hopefully we can do it here, but I think people now realize we’ve made that step that we needed to make last year.”
Jarvis’ lap was two-tenths of a second faster than Acura Team Penske’s Ricky Taylor in second. Juan Pablo Montoya, despite minimal practice in his No. 6 Acura ARX-05, will start right behind in third. Jonathan Bomarito, who was fastest in Practice No. 2, qualified fourth. While the lap was quicker than in Practice No. 2, he was nearly a second off what he did at the Roar. Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr, who was fastest in the morning, qualified fifth in the best of the Cadillac DPi-V.R.s.
All but one of the DPi teams set times in the session. The sole team that failed to post a time was Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Cadillac for Filipe Albuquerque. Albuquerque took his Mustang Sampling-sponsored car out on track, but noticed a lack of power exiting the bus stop chicane. He then pulled the car into the pits. As a result, the No. 5 Cadillac will start the race at the rear of the prototypes.
In LMP2, DragonSpeed’s James Allen claimed the pole with a lap at 133.634 mph, good enough for 10th overall. The lap was a half-second faster than PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Gabriel Aubry. Roberto González was third in class in the second DragonSpeed entry.
The trend of smashing track records continued in GT Le Mans, where Porsche GT Team dominated the session. Early on, Earl Bamber was fastest in his No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR. With a few minutes remaining in the session, Nick Tandy put down a record lap at 125.331 mph to earn the class pole.
Tandy’s lap, which was good enough for 15th overall, was nearly a third of a second faster than Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen. Magnussen was able to snag second with a quick time late in the session that included the fastest first sector in the class.
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing IMSA’s Ryan Briscoe will start third in class in his Castrol-sponsored Ford GT, followed by the Ferrari of Risi Competizione’s Davide Rigon. Bamber ended up fifth quickest. The nine cars in the class were separated by just under one second.
GT Daytona saw Ferrari top the charts for the third year in a row. This year, it was VIA Italia Racing’s Carlos Gomes who was fastest with a lap of 121.759 mph, once again a track record.
Gomes’ lap was six-hundredths of a second faster than Riley Motorsports’ Ben Keating in the Wynn’s-sponsored Mercedes. Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s Trent Hindman, who was fastest in class at the Roar, qualified third in his Acura. Giacomo Altoè was fourth fastest in his Lamborghini for EBIMOTORS, while GRT Grasser Racing Team’s Rolf Ineichen was fifth.
Turner Motorsport was fastest in class in Practice No. 2 Thursday. Unfortunately, they were unable to set a time during the session.
An unforeseen mechanical issue in qualifying prevented us from running the laps we wanted so looks like we’ll be starting from the back of the GTD field P23 for the #Rolex24 on Saturday. No worries, it’s a long race, we will fight back to the top 💪🏼. #bmw #liquimolyusa pic.twitter.com/tmckQOs9R3
— Turner Motorsport (@Turnermotrsport) January 24, 2019
As a result, the Liqui-Moly-sponsored BMW M6 GT3 will have to start at the rear of the field on Saturday. They’ll have plenty of time to make up track position.
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams have night practice scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. That session is scheduled for 90 minutes and will be covered with the rest of Thursday practice from Daytona.