LONG BEACH, Calif. — Seeking to end a long drought at its “home” race, Acura swept the front row of the starting lineup for the IMSA Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Filipe Albuquerque put the No. 10 ARX-06 of Wayne Taylor Racing on the pole position with a lap of 1 minute, 9.909 seconds — a half-second faster than the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing that Tom Blomqvist qualified second (1:10.583)
Sebastien Bourdais, who staged an impressive comeback from a 21-second deficit to win at Long Beach, qualified third in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing. The next-fastest Cadillac was in seventh after both BMWs and a Porsche.
STARTING GRID: Click here for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach lineup
FULL QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for Friday’s speeds
Cadillacs dominated Long Beach during the DPi era of 2017-22, winning five consecutive times while easily outdistancing the Acuras in the premier prototype division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
But the switch to the LMDh platform in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype category seems to have evened out the competition after Cadillacs were faster than the Acuras by about a second last season.
“The last two years we were always suffering here, but statistics in the first two races this year showed we are really competitive,” Albuquerque said. “But I must say I was not expecting to be so competitive compared to the competitors – especially the Cadillac. (The Cadillac) has no turbo engine, so putting the power down is a strong point for that car. But obviously they are struggling with something.
HOW TO WATCH THE ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Schedules, start times, entry lists
“At the end of the day, it’s about ticking all the boxes on a complex car that everybody is still learning about. I think the communication between Honda Performance Development and the teams is going fantastic and smooth. We did the homework, and it’s paying off. I’m super happy about it.”
Here are the pole-sitters in other categories for the race on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street course:
GTD Pro: Jack Hawksworth, No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, 1:17.817
GTD: Marco Sorensen, No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 1:17.811
Fastest lap by driver after qualifying
Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying
PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II