WEC: Porsche storms to 1-2-3 in 6 Hours of Spa qualifying


Porsche sent out a strong statement of intent in qualifying for the second round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday by securing the top three positions on the grid ahead of tomorrow’s six hour race.

The German marque displayed a good pace throughout pre-season testing at Paul Ricard in France, and put its superior, straight-line speed to good use through the Ardennes forest in qualifying.

After a wet Thursday practice, conditions were dry and cool on Friday, allowing the drivers to smash the WEC lap record at Spa-Francorchamps by four seconds.

Porsche remained in control for the entire session, and it was the No. 17 car of Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley which secured pole position. Mark Webber will join the duo for the race on Sunday.

Joining the No. 17 on the front row is Porsche’s third car entry for Spa, the No. 19, piloted by Nick Tandy and Force India F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg. The German will start his first ever WEC race from second place on the grid ahead of the no. 18 of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.

Audi was unable to answer the pace shown by Porsche on Friday, finishing seven tenths of a second adrift of pole position. The No. 7 of Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer will start fourth on Saturday ahead of the No. 8 of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis.

Toyota’s miserable weekend continued in qualifying as the No. 1 car of Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson – reduced to a two-man effort after Kazuki Nakajima’s crash in practice – finished sixth ahead of the sister No. 2 car in seventh place. Audi’s third car, the No. 9, will start eighth.

G-Drive resumed normal service in LMP2 by claiming class pole with the No. 26 of Roman Rusinov, Julien Canal and Sam Bird. KCMG will start from second in class with the No. 47 ahead of Team SARD Morand’s no. 43 and the second G-Drive car in fourth place.

Aston Martin Racing’s strong showing in GTE Pro at Spa continued in qualifying as the No. 99 of Fernando Rees, Alex MacDowell and Richie Stanaway edged out Ferrari’s AF Corse team for pole position by just 0.070 seconds. Defending WEC champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander will start from second place on the grid ahead of the No. 97 AMR car of Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Rob Bell.

In GTE Am, there was yet more delight for AMR as Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda claimed the class pole position, beating the Larbre Competition Chevrolet by 1.1 seconds at the top of the timesheets.

For the complete results from qualifying, click here.

IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

AUTO: NOV 13 IMSA - Motul Petit Le Mans
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Start times, TV schedule: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will conclude the 2022 season this weekend with the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta, which also will mark the end of the line for the DPi class.

The premier Daytona Prototype international category, which started in 2017, will be replaced by the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with its LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to Le Mans.

For the third time in four years, an Acura will be crowned the champion in DPi as the No. 10 of Wayne Taylor Racing holds a 19-point edge over the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing.

Last year, WTR’s No. 10 entered the season finale with a 19-point lead but lost the title to the No. 31 Cadillac of Action Express.

Full-time WTR drivers Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor (who will be joined by Brendon Hartley in the No. 10 this weekend) have a series-leading four victories this season. The MSR duo of Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves this weekend) won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and have five runner-up finishes this year.

Championship scenarios in the other four categories:

GTD Pro: Points leaders Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet will clinch the title by starting in their No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

–GTD: There are 140 points separating the top four teams with Roman De Angelis and the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 leading by 45 points.

–LMP2: John Farano is first in the driver standings by 33 points over Dwight Merriman and Ryan Dalziel. In the team standings, the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports leads by 19 points over the No. 8 Tower Motorsport (Farano’s team).

–LMP3: No. 54 CORE autosport drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun lead by 83 points over the No. 74 Riley Motorsports of Gar Robinson.

With the 10-hour race requiring an extra driver, several stars from other racing series have been added. In addition to Castroneves, Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as third drivers in Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Cadillacs.

Jimmie Johnson also will be making his last DPi start in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac with Mike Rockenfeller and Kamui Kobayashi. Petit Le Mans could mark the last start in an IMSA prototype for Johnson, who has said limited inventory likely will keep him out of the GTP category in the Rolex 24 next year.

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta (all times are ET):

Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. ET

Race distance: Ten hours on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile road course

TV: Noon-3 p.m., NBC; 3-10:30 p.m., USA Network. Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have streaming coverage of the event from flag to flag beginning at noon. Leigh Diffey and Dave Burns are the play by play announcers with analysts Calvin Fish, Townsend Bell, James Hinchcliffe and Brian Till. The pit reporters are Kevin Lee, Hannah Newhouse, Dillon Welch and Matt Yocum.

IMSA.com live TV qualifying stream: Friday, 3:35 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions are live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at noon (XM 207, Internet/App 992).

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 63 degrees with an 85% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 48-car field for the IMSA Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

Daily schedule IMSA Petit Le Mans

Here’s a rundown of the Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia:

Wednesday, Sept. 28

9:30 a.m.: Mazda MX-5 practice

10:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup

12:30 p.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

1:15 p.m.: Mazda MX-5 practcice

2 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:30 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

Thursday, Sept. 29

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge practice

9 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

9:50 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

11:40 a.m.: Prototype Challenge qualifying

12:10 p.m.: Michelin Challenge practice

1:50 p.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 1

2:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

5 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

6 p.m.: Michelin Challenge qualifying

7:30 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

Friday, Sept. 30

8 a.m.: Prototype Challenge race

9:50 a.m.: Mazda MX-5, Race 2

10:55 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 2

1:10 p.m.: IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race

3:40 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

Saturday, Oct. 1

9:15 a.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

12:10 p.m.: Petit Le Mans