Ferrari teams posted competitive qualifying times on Saturday to earn their starting positions for Sunday’s 100-minute qualifying race, which will set the field for next weekend’s 24 At Daytona.
Qualifying was split by a red flag for a stopped competition, which left competitors with only eight minutes to post a fast time in the 15-minute session – which ended in a light rain.
Saturday opened with a one-hour practice session for all IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams. Both sessions were run in cool, drizzly conditions. The day concluded with a two-hour night practice.
Risi Competizione. Alessandro Pier Guidi earned the fifth starting position in GT Le Mans with a lap of 1:44.277-seconds at the wheel of the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE that he will co-drive with James Calado, Davide Rigon and Jules Gounon.
“That was a very strange qualifying session,” said Pier Guidi, the most recent class winner for Ferrari in this 24 Hours (2014). “The grip was very low. With the 24-hour race coming up, I didn’t want to take any stupid risks in these conditions. We could have been better, but with these conditions, it was very tricky. There was big traffic with the GTD, as well. It was not easy.”
Earlier, Pier Guidi’s lap of 1:44.965-seconds was sixth-best in the morning practice.
AF Corse. Simon Mann will start the race on the outside of the front row in the GTD class, turning a best lap of 1:47.095-seconds in the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 that he shares with Nicklas Nielsen, Matteo Cressoni and Daniel Serra.
“At the beginning, it was OK, with just a few drops [of rain],” Mann said. “The last two laps it started to rain more. Basically, it was all about keeping temperature in the tires. It was manageable for most of the session, before the rain picked up.”
“I’m used to racing in Europe, so this is a huge step for me in every way,” Mann continued. “The paddock, the track, and even the car feels a bit different. But it’s a great, awesome experience. I’m trying to learn as much as I can. Today, qualifying went really well for me, personally and for the team. Now I’m just looking forward to getting tomorrow’s race done, and then looking ahead to next week and getting everything we can to prepare for the race."
Serra was fastest in the morning practice with a lap of 1:46.495-seconds.
Scuderia Corsa. Bret Curtis qualified 12th, running 1:48.019-seconds in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 that is co-driven by Ryan Briscoe, Marcos Gomes and Ed Jones.
“The car was good, but there are a few changes we’ll want to make before tomorrow,” Curtis said. “The track was pretty good. There were a few spots where it was wet, but nothing major. We lost a bit of time with the red flag, but I’m not sure it would have mattered too much. I was happy to get in a few clean laps. I’m looking forward to tomorrow, but even more so to the Daytona 24 Hours.”
Briscoe was seventh in the morning practice with a lap of 1:47.024-seconds.
Schedule. Daytona International Speedway parts from tradition on Sunday by holding a unique 100-minute qualifying race, which will set the field for the 59th 24 Hours at Daytona. Sunday’s schedule opens with a 20-minute warm-up for all competitors at 10 a.m. (all times ET), with the Pole Award 100 taking the green flag for 100 minutes of racing at 2:05 p.m.
After a three-day rest, teams return to action on Thursday, Jan. 28, with opening practice at 11:05 a.m. The 2021 running of the 24 Hours at Daytona will take the green flag at 3:40 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30.