IMSA: CORE Autosport scores upset pole as Ford, Lexus lead the GT fields at Watkins Glen

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In a season that has been dominated by DPi-spec machinery, it was global LMP2 machinery that went to the fore in qualifying for Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

CORE autosport took its first pole in the Prototype class, with Colin Braun laying down a quick lap of 1:32.350 in their No. 54 Oreca 07 Gibson. It was just barely quicker than Paul Di Resta, who qualified the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 Gibson at 1:32.356.

All told, five thousandths of a second separated the two, and it marks the first time an LMP2-spec platform has scored a pole in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship since the current-era Prototype regulations were introduced.

Acura Team Penske swept the second row, with Ricky Taylor and Dane Cameron qualifying third and fourth in their Nos. 7 and 6 Acura ARX-05 DPi entries. Simon Trummer put the JDC-Miller Motosports No. 85 Oreca in fifth.

In GT Le Mans, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing swept the front row, with Richard Westbrook taking the the pole in the No 67 Ford GT with a time of 1:41.948 – teammate Joey Hand was right behind him in the sister No. 66 entry.

Corvette Racing then swept the second row, with Tommy Milner and Antonio Garcia qualifying third and fourth in their Nos. 4 and 3 Corvette C7.Rs.

Porsche GT Team put the Nos. 912 and 911 Porsche 911 RSRs in fifth and sixth, with BMW Team RLL in seventh and eight with their Nos. 24 and 25 BMW M8 GTEs.

In GT Daytona, Jack Hawksworth took his second pole in three races, putting the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RCF GT3 at the top of the board with a lap of 1:44.499.

Hawkworth beat out Christopher Mies, in the No. 29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3, by just over one tenth of a second – Mies turned in a 1:44.611.

Kyle Marcelli put the sister No. 14 Lexus in third, giving Lexus two of the top three on the grid, followed by the Nos. 86 (Alvaro Parente) and 93 (Lawson Aschenbach) Acura NSX GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing.

Qualifying results can be found here. Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen kicks off at 9:30 a.m. ET.


Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).