Snow, No. 1 BMW takes first place in GTD
BRAZELTON, Georgia – The late Al Davis, founder of Oakland, ne Los Angeles, ne Oakland, and now the Las Vegas Raiders, is known for his mantra, which he taught to his coaches and players: “Just win, baby.”
While it is highly doubtful that Jack Hawksworth would be able to single out the late Mr. Davis from the cast (let alone George Bland, Ken Stabler, or Derek Carr), he will nonetheless appreciate Davis’ feelings. After all, with the GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship almost backed by the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, the best thing Hawksworth and the Vasser Sullivan Racing team can do is take second place in the race. points. And the best way to do that is to win Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Hawkesworth took the first step towards that goal on Friday by passing the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 at Michelin Raceway in 1 minute 18.835 seconds (115.988 mph) to pick up the Motul Pole Award ahead of the No. 23 Heart of the race team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 by Alex Riberas.
“We got off the trailer quickly yesterday and had a really good weekend,” Hawksworth said. “The guys did a good job and all I had to do was show a good lap. It’s good to start early; You may not get into trouble on the first lap and then be in a good position to score some points. But regardless of the points, this is a race you really want to win.”
Hawksworth is aiming not only to win the Motul Petit Le Mans and take second place in the GTD PRO standings, but also to beat his closest and most respected rival at the same time.
“We have a lot of respect for Corvette (Racing),” he said. “Beating them for second place in the championship would be a good way to end the year and the best way to do that is to win the race.”
For its part, Corvette will start fifth on the GTD PRO grid after Antonio Garcia posted a lap of 1:19.444 in the #3 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD and will take the green flag with the #23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin. , BMW M Team RLL No. 25 BMW M4 GT3 and No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 between them and the pole winner. Any hope of Garcia challenging Hawksworth for the Motul Pole Award was dashed when he ran into slower cars in his qualifying run.
“My lap was decent, but I feel like I had a little more,” he said. “It was difficult to understand how the car behaves and what the movement is like. The interaction with the road was not very good and it killed the momentum a bit. It’s the same for everyone.”
Snow Storms Pole GTD
Madison Snow did a test lap in the middle of qualifying and none of his GT Daytona (GTD) rivals could outshine him, let alone come close to him. However, Snow put an exclamation mark on the session with an even better lap in the closing moments of the session, finishing in 1:19.118 (115.573 mph) in Paul Miller Racing’s No. 1 BMW M4 GT3 to take class pole. Together with co-drivers Brian Sellers and Erik Johansson, Snow will set out on Saturday for the team’s third victory in 2022.
“We were good when we showed up in Paul Miller’s car,” Snow said, “and we stayed at the top of the timesheets throughout practice. So we knew we had something good and we just had to not mess it up, which made me a little nervous. This is the team’s home track, so obviously we want to do well here.
“My third lap went pretty well,” he continued, “and in the middle of the session I wanted to get into the pit lane because I didn’t think I could do it again. I kept asking the team, “Should I come in? Should I enter? They said, “Stay away.” So I did another lap and removed a couple of small things from the previous lap.”
Snow was almost four-tenths of a second faster than qualifying runner-up Robert Megennis in the No. 39 CarBahn in a Peregrine Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3. Jaden Conwright confirmed Lamborghini’s speed by finishing third in the No. 42 Huracan NTE/SSR.
The WeatherTech Championship GTD title is still open after qualifying. The points-leading 27th Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 qualified fourth in the hands of Roman De Angelis, two places better than its closest rival, 32nd Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 Stevan McAleer. Porsche 911 GT3 R Wright Motorsports at number 16 (third in points) starts ninth, two places behind Mercedes-AMG GT3 Winward Racing at number 57 (fourth in points).
Forty-three cars compete in five classes competing at Michelin Raceway. Live coverage of NBC races runs from noon to 3 pm ET on Saturday. The US Network will begin broadcasting at 7:00 pm via the checkered flag. Peacock and IMSA Radio broadcast flag-to-flag broadcasts starting at noon.