The SportsCar Grand Prix Live IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship at Long Beach, run on a street circuit in the city. Jordan and Ricky Taylor won this IMSA event. Juan Pablo Montoya Gives Acura First IMSA Prototype Pole in Long Beach Joey Hand leads GTLM class for Ford.
Juan Pablo Montoya knows a thing or two about racing at Long Beach, as evidenced by his recent induction into the track’s Motorsports Walk of Fame. His latest accomplishment came Friday afternoon, with the Acura Team Penske driver scoring his first career IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Motul Pole Award and the first pole for Acura’s ARX-05 Protoyype in its first season.
Montoya was one of four drivers to better the previous Long Beach track record with a lap of 1 minute, 12.922 seconds (97.155 mph) in the No. 6 Acura DPi he co-drives with sports car veteran Dane Cameron. Ricky Taylor previously held the record, lapping the 1.968-mile street circuit in 1:13.549 in 2017 while driving the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. for Wayne Taylor Racing.
“Acura and Team Penske have done such a good job on the car this weekend,” said Montoya, who also scored his first career pole at Long Beach in any series. “It’s reminds me of driving a Formula 1 car, you can hustle it around and you still have to manage it. I’m really looking forward to the race tomorrow, it should be a lot of fun.”
Montoya and Acura Team Penske teammate Hélio Castroneves both were inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame on Thursday. Montoya won the 1999 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach en route to capturing the 1999 CART FedEx Championship Series ttle and finished third at Long Beach in 2015.
He will look to return to the top step of the podium at Long Beach, this time in the WeatherTech Championship, in Saturday’s 100-minute BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach that will be televised live on FOX at 1 p.m. local / 4 p.m. ET.
Live IMSA Radio coverage also is available on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio.
Montoya will be joined on the front row by the No. 31 Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R. of Felipe Nasr with a lap of 1:13.109 (96.707 mph). Nasr and co-driver Eric Curran enter this weekend’s race leading the WeatherTech Championship standings. Harry Tincknell qualified third with a lap of 1:13.156 (96.845 mph) in the No. 55 Mazda DPi making it three different Prototype manufacturers in the top three.
Castroneves rounded out the top two rows with a lap of 1:13.346 (96.594 mph) in the No. 7 Acura DPi he co-drives with three-time defending Long Beach race winner Ricky Taylor.
In the GTLM class, Joey Hand took the class pole in the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT; Laurens Vanthoor, Patrick Pilet, Jan Magnussen and Magnussen’s teammate, Oliver Gavin, rounded out the top five.
Acura Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya came out to play on Friday afternoon in Long Beach. After topping the charts in Practice No. 2, Montoya turned in a lap of 72.922 seconds (97.156 mph) to win the pole for Saturday’s BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.
To Montoya, snagging the pole and throwing the Acura ARX-05 around is nothing but pure fun.
“Acura and Team Penske has done such a good job on the car this weekend,” Montoya said after qualifying. “.”It’s the most that reminds me of driving a Formula 1 car, you can hustle it around and you still have to manage it. So it’s a lot of fun.”
Montoya’s pole time was nearly two-tenths of a second faster than Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr in the Whelen Cadillac DPi-V.R. Mazda Team Joest’s Harry Tincknell will start third, followed by Helio Castroneves in the second Acura. Jõao Barbosa in the No. 5 Cadillac will start fifth.
The top eight Prototypes were DPi entries. AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Gustavo Yacaman was the fastest LMP2 driver, placing his Ligier JS P217-Gibson ninth on the grid.
The No. 85 ORECA 07-Gibson for JDC-Miller MotorSports did not set a time after grinding to a halt during the second practice session. Simon Trummer will have to start the race on Saturday from the rear.
In GT Le Mans, Porsche GT Team’s Laurens Vanthoor dominated much of the session, posting faster and faster times. However, Vanthoor pulled in with two minutes remaining. That was more than enough time for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing IMSA’s Joey Hand to operate.
On his final lap of the session, Hand posted a time of 76.869 seconds (92.167 mph) to snatch the pole away from Vanthoor with the checkered flag out. The lap was one-seventh of a second faster than Vanthoor. Patrick Pilet was third quickest in the No. 911 Porsche. Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen was fourth quickest, while Oliver Gavin will start fifth in class despite having three laps invalidated for track limit issues.