Starting lineup grid for IMSA at CTMP: Acuras sweep front row as Blomqvist breaks record

IMSA CTMP starting lineup

Acura swept the front row of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starting lineup for the second consecutive race as Tom Blomqvist set the fastest lap in series history at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP).

With the pole position in the No. 60 ARX-05, Blomqvist and Meyer Shank Racing teammate Oliver Jarvis cut into the championship lead of No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura teammates Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor, who qualified second.

By earning his second consecutive pole, Blomqvist turned a track-record lap of 1 minute, 4.394 seconds at an average speed of 137.427 mph — breaking the mark (136.792 mph) previously set by Javis in a Mazda for the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

CTMP STARTING GRID: Click here for the Chevrolet Grand Prix starting lineup l Lineup by car number


“Wow, I gave it absolutely everything I had out there,” Blomqvist said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to survive the session, and there were definitely a few hairy moments out there. I had to just close my eyes and be very, very brave.

“Our Acura has been really fast, especially in the last sector. The entire team has given us a really fast package and it’s showing with our results. We’ve made such great improvements from the start of the season, so we’re really getting into a nice groove. We’ll have to make a few adjustments for the race tomorrow, but I know we have a fast race car.”

Blomqvist and Jarvis have notched four consecutive runner-up finishes and reduced their points deficit by three points to 14 behind Taylor and Albuquerque.

The WTR duo has won three of the past four races, including last Sunday at Watkins Glen International.

It’s the third time this season that Acuras took the top two starting positions (including at Watkins Glen). Taylor qualified second with the second-fastest lap (137.327) in IMSA history.

“We had a very good car in qualifying,” Taylor said. “Unfortunately, we were just short of pole, but it’s good to have our teammates up there on the front row with us. I think we’ve shown this year we favor the races and often times they favor the outright lap time. We’re going to have a big fight I’m sure. A clean fight between the teammates.

“Hopefully we can get the Acuras to the top of the podium. Traffic is going to be the big factor (Sunday). The closing speeds are very, very high here so it’s going to be difficult. I forgot how fast this place was. It takes a little bit to recalibrate your brain. It’s such a fast, fun track to drive on. It’s all commitment and you have to have a lot of confidence in the car. I love those styles of tracks.”

With IMSA holding its first race weekend at CTMP in three years, all six DPi entries broke the track record on the road course in Bowmanville, Ontario.

JDC-MIller Motorsports’ No. 5 Cadillac will start a season-best third ahead of the No. 02 Cadillac of Chip Ganass Racing.

Qualifying in other divisions:

LMP3: Gar Robinson, co-drivin with Scott Andrews, was awarded the pole position in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 with a lap of 1:13.174 after Jarrett Andretti’s No. 36 was disqualified for a non-compliant suspension component, per the IMSA Wire Service. The Andretti Autosport entry will start at the rear of the six-car LMP3 field.

GTD Pro: Mathieu Jaminet, who is co-driving with Matt Campbell, took the pole with a 1:15.468 lap in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

GTD: Frankie Montecalvo, who co-drives with Aaron Telitz, qualified first with a 1:15.633 lap in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.

Sunday’s broadcast of the Chevrolet Grand Prix will begin at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”