DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Through the eight on-track sessions over the past week – including Roar Before the Rolex 24 testing and BMW Endurance Challenge practice and qualifying – five different IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport manufacturers have set the best lap.
It was capped Thursday afternoon when Kumo Wittmer put the No. 13 AWA McLaren 570S GT4 on pole for Friday’s race at Daytona Int’l Speedway with a lap of 1 minute, 52.773 seconds (113.644 mph). Six marques are represented in the first 11 Grand Sport qualifiers.
It was the second consecutive Motul Pole Award for Wittmer and AWA at the Daytona season opener. They finished a disappointing 26th in the race and were unable to race again the rest of the year due to pandemic travel restrictions.
“The lap was just flat out, right on the bitter edge,” Wittmer said. “I’m just glad to be under these wonderful shoes, these Michelins, and back into some proper racing, some IMSA racing. That’s where we all belong.
“I’m so proud of the team. We spent all year last year not being able to travel, but now we’re just so fortunate to come back and stick it on pole.”
TCR has witnessed similar tight competition among its four makes. In fact, the top four qualifiers in class Thursday were each from a different manufacturer. In the first TCR qualifying attempt of his career, Robert Noaker won the Motul Pole Award with a lap of 1:58.836 (108.124 mph) in the No. 84 Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic FK7 TCR.
“Just to be able to be racing in IMSA, I never thought in a million years I’d be able to be here, let alone get pole,” an excited Noaker said. “It was really all about the draft. Most of the track is just flat out on the straightaway so I was just able to set it up and put the perfect lap together.”
The four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge streams live at 1:30 p.m. ET Friday on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.