DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Alex Gurney drove the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP to the pole position for the 52nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season-opening event for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship scheduled for Saturday.
Gurney, who will co-drive with Jon Fogarty, Memo Gidley and Darren Law in the twice-around-the-clock challenge, toured the 3.56-mile road course on Thursday afternoon in one minute, 38.270 seconds, 130.416 mph.
With Gurney behind the wheel, the No. 99 car, nicknamed the “Red Dragon,” was previously on the pole for the 2007 Rolex 24.
“I’m obviously really happy and pretty excited about it all,” Gurney said. “It’s been a really difficult off-season. I have to say a big thank you to (owner) Bob Stallings and everybody on the team. I think most of the teams worked right through Christmas and New Year’s with no real time off with all the rules changes. This means a lot to all of us and our team. We’re not set for the whole season so this is one of our times to shine. It feels really good to pull it off.”
Gurney said the pole for the No. 99 team, which is committed to a limited schedule of TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races, came as a bit of a surprise.
“We were pretty diligent all through the testing and we were here in December kind of concentrating on full tank runs,” Gurney said. “We never went low fuel and showed what we had. When we pulled the fuel out, the time came. We were pretty happy with the car and it’s nice to get one in there.
Gurney’s father Dan won the inaugural three-hour Daytona Continental (now the Rolex 24) back in 1962. For Alex, he would love to be able to follow his father’s footsteps and win North America’s most prestigious sports car race.
“It would be the biggest thing in my career I think,” Gurney said. “For me personally, it’s the biggest race we do and the one we all want to win.”
In the Prototype Challenge class, Colin Braun, driving in the No. 54 ORECA FLM09, took the pole honors with a lap of one minute, 41.777 seconds, 125.922 mph.
“It is great to be on the pole here at Daytona because it’s a really cool race and as soon as the green flag drops, everyone forgets it,” said Braun, who is co-driving the car with James Gue, Jon Bennett and Mark Wilkins. “We have to enjoy it while we can.”
The No. 48 Audi R8 LMS with driver Christopher Haase took the pole in the GTD (GT Daytona) class with a lap of one minute, 46.973 seconds, 119.806 mph. In the GTL (GT Le Mans) class, the SRT Motorsports No. 91 Viper GTS-R and driver Marc Goossens captured the pole with a lap of one minute, 44.506 seconds, 122.634 mph.
The BMW Performance 200 and Ferrari Challenge
The BMW Performance 200, the season opener to the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, is set to go green on Friday at 1:45 p.m.
Rolling off in the pole position in the 2 ½ hour timed race will be the Grand Sport entry No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang Boss 302 R, which is co-driven by Jade Buford and Scott Maxwell. Buford topped the speed charts during Thursday’s qualifying with a lap of 110.651 mph.
Jeff Mosing, who is co-driving with Eric Foss, was fastest in the Sport Touring class driving the No. 56 Team TGM BMW 328i with a lap of 102.718 mph.
Also on tap Friday will be the first Ferrari Challenge race at 10:30 a.m. and final practice for Saturday’s Rolex 24 at 11:30 a.m.
Tickets for all the Rolex 24 At Daytona Weekend events are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
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