Corey Lewis claims IMSA GTD pole for Lamborghini after DQ in Atlanta
Ricky Feller’s pole lap in the No. 29 Montplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 disallowed
Corey Lewis put the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 on the GT Daytona (GTD) pole for the second consecutive IMSA WeatherTech Championship race, setting a class lap record in qualifying Friday at Michelin Raceway.
Lewis circulated the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course in one minute, 19.530 seconds (114.975 mph) to earn the top GTD starting position for Saturday’s 10-hour season finale. The old GTD track record was 1:19.695 set last year by Daniel Serra in a Ferrari 488 GT3.
Friday’s qualifying session was extended due to a red flag caused when Robby Foley went off course in Turn 10 and his No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M8 GT3 became stuck in the gravel trap. No driver had turned a complete lap when the red waved and the No. 96 didn’t return to the track after being carried to the paddock on a flatbed truck.
When qualifying resumed, Ricky Feller posted a sizzling lap of 1:19.185 in the No. 29 Montplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 that would have been good for pole by nearly four-tenths of a second. But all of Feller’s laps, as well as those posted by Shinya Michimi in the No. 47 Precision Performance Motorsports Lamborghini, were disallowed because their crews touched the cars during the red-flag stoppage.
Lewis was happy to accept the lap record anyway, on the heels of the pole and race win he and Bryan Sellers collected last month at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
“It’s special,” Lewis said of the Michelin Raceway GTD lap record. “I didn’t know it until I just got up here, so that’s pretty cool. So to have your name in the record books for qualifying is special for sure. It’s a nice little feather in the cap.”
Lewis also believes the No. 48, with Marco Seefried as the third driver this weekend, has a leg up for the race since Michelin Raceway is the team’s home track.
“We’re based here in Atlanta,” Lewis said. “We’ve done, over the years, a fair amount of testing here. We have a good grip on the track.
“Coming here to Road Atlanta, it’s strong suit for the team. … We have a long way to go tomorrow, but starting on the front row certainly doesn’t hurt.”
With the fallout from the penalties, Ben Keating advanced to second in class with a lap of 1:19.665 (114.780 mph) in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMY Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3. Jeff Westphal qualified third in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 at 1:19.721 (114.699 mph).
Justin Marks put the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura NSX GT3 in fourth with a lap of 1:19.820 (114.557 mph). Mario Farnbacher and Trent Hindman, Marks’ co-drivers, can clinch the GTD driver and team championships when the car starts the race on Saturday.
Lamborghini holds the slimmest of margins, one point, over Acura in the GTD manufacturer battle.
All that remains on the 2019 WeatherTech Championship schedule is a 20-minute warmup starting at 9:30 a.m. ET Saturday, followed by the race. NBC Sports has complete coverage, starting at noon ET Saturday on NBC network with the green flag expected at approximately 12:10 p.m. ET.
Coverage shifts to the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com from 3-5:30 p.m. ET, before NBCSN picks up the broadcast at 5:30 p.m. ET until the race conclusion. IMSA Radio will have live coverage of the entire race on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio.