Foley BMW Nets Motul Pole Award in GTD
LAKE ELKHART, Wisconsin. – Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicote arrived at Road America believing their Lexus RC F GT3 would excel in the fast, fast-paced curves of the iconic Wisconsin circuit.
Their confidence was justified. Hawksworth received the Motul Pole Award for the GTD PRO class in Saturday’s IMSA Fastlane SportsCar Weekend Qualifier. The 31-year-old Englishman drove the 14th Wasser Sullivan Lexus on the 4.048-mile track in 2 minutes 5.365 seconds (116.242 miles per hour).
It was the sixth IMSA pole of Hawkesworth’s career. Six of his seven career WeatherTech championship race wins were in Lexus races fielded by Wasser Sullivan.
He cited tire management as the key to his latest pole position as well as an important factor in Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race.
“The car runs very well and it was a great weekend,” Hawksworth said. “Michelin tires are designed for full mileage, but if you want to get that magical lap time, you have to push when the tire is complete.
“We used the first lap to generate tire temperature and then obviously did it on the second lap. It turned out to be the right strategy.”
Matt Campbell (No. 9 in the Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R) was the closest to tipping Hawksworth, but the Aussie spun out of the final corner in an attempt to complete a lap that real-time forecasts could have been fast enough for pole.
Campbell’s best lap of 2:05.829 (116.008 mph) was good for the outside of the front row in the GTD PRO top car he shares with Mathieu Jaminet. Antonio Garcia (Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R GTD #3) rounded out the top three with a speed of 2:05.828/115.814 mph.
Foley puts BMW #96 ahead in GTD
Robbie Foley prevented Vasser Sullivan from completing the GT qualifying run by putting the No. 96 BMW M4 GT3 Turner Motorsport on GT Daytona (GTD) pole, 0.140 seconds ahead of Frankie Montecalvo in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.
Foley, along with all-time IMSA race winner No. 96 Bill Auberlen, completed a lap time of 2:06.084 (115.579 mph) for his third career pole. Robert Megennis qualified third with a time of 2:06.237 (115.439 mph) in the No. 39 CarBahn in a Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
Foley was pleased with the performance of the BMW M4 in its first year of homologation in the WeatherTech Championship. He said a perfect run through Canada Turn, 12th of 14 Road America turns, was the key to his fast lap.
“Of course, getting pole is great,” Foley commented. “It just goes to show how hard these guys are working to make sure our new car is well designed and I love it on Road America.”
Watching the sky
Auberlain and Foley are concerned about their lack of experience racing M4s in wet conditions. There is a high chance of rain for Sunday’s race.
“Under normal conditions, I would have liked it, but we really didn’t drive this car in the rain that much,” Foley said. “We don’t know the recipe yet, but someday you have to learn, right?”
The prospect of rain doesn’t bother Hawkesworth.
“Wet racing is always a bit of a lottery, but we have two Brits in the car,” he joked. “So, I think we’ll do well in the wet and we’ll try.”
The green flag must be raised before the race at 11:40 am ET on Sunday. Flag to flag broadcast is available on Peacock and IMSA Radio. The live broadcast starts at noon on the US network.