In the heat of the Central Florida afternoon at Daytona International Speedway Saturday (July 4), Acura Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves won the pole for Saturday evening’s WeatherTech 240 at Daytona. Castroneves won the pole with a lap at 135.777 mph in his No. 7 Acura ARX-05.
It didn’t take long for the speeds to get right up in there in the heat of the day. Castroneves and Mazda Motorsports’ Jonathan Bomarito were over 134 mph on their first lap at speed to set the pace.
Castroneves’s pole lap came at the halfway point of the session. At that point, Castroneves pitted and let everyone try to beat him.
The man who came closest was Mazda Motorsports’ Oliver Jarvis, who was fastest in the final practice session. Jarvis ended up only three-hundredths of a second behind Castroneves, but couldn’t put together a quicker lap to beat the Acura. Bomarito will start third in the second Mazda, while Juan Pablo Montoya will start fourth. Wayne Taylor Racing’s Ryan Briscoe will start fifth in the fastest of the Cadillacs.
GT Le Mans saw the different manufacturers use three distinct strategies. Corvette Racing chose to go out immediately, while Porsche GT Team chose to wait about five minutes before going out in the 90-degree weather. BMW Team RLL chose to wait until the final five minutes of the session to go out and set a time.
As a result, it was Corvette Racing that posted the quick times for BMW and Porsche to challenge. Oliver Gavin was quickest at first, then teammate Jordan Taylor was able to eclipse that. Shortly afterwards, Gavin improved to a lap at 125.339 mph. That was enough for Gavin, who pitted.
Ultimately, no one was able to beat Gavin, who claimed the first-ever class pole position for the new Chevrolet Corvette C8.R. Despite the summer weather, the pole lap was just five-hundredths of a second slower than the GT Le Mans pole lap back in January.
Gavin’s lap was over a quarter of a second faster than Taylor. BMW Team RLL’s Jesse Krohn will start third, while Porsche GT Team’s Laurens Vanthoor in fourth was just one-thousandth of a second slower than Krohn. Bruno Spengler will start fifth in the second BMW.
Telitz set the pace early on and continued to improve his pace to an eventual 119.606 mph. Fergus then bettered his time and eventually set a lap at 119.759 mph. That held up to give both Fergus and Compass Racing their first-ever GT Daytona class pole.
Fergus was one-eighth of a second faster than Telitz in the No. 14 Lexus RCF GT3. Turner Motorsport’s Robby Foley was third fastest in the sole BMW M6 GT3 in the field, while Frankie Montecalvo in the second Lexus was fourth. Scuderia Corsa’s Cooper MacNeil will start fifth.
The WeatherTech 240 at Daytona is scheduled to go green at 6:10 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The race will air live on NBCSN.