Risi Competizione will start Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans from the pole in the GT Le Mans class, thanks to a storming lap by James Calado in qualifying for the season-ending round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The Ferrari factory driver reeled off a class record-breaking 1:15.639 lap time to give the Houston-based squad pole honors in its series return.
It marked Calado’s first career IMSA pole in the Ferrari 488 GTE he will share with fellow factory drivers Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra in the ten-hour enduro at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Calado edged out the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette of Antonio Garcia by 0.063 seconds, who qualified second, with Philipp Eng third in the No. 24 Team RLL BMW M8 GTE.
Five different GTLM manufacturers made up the top-five, with championship leader Laurens Vanthoor qualifying his Coca-Cola-liveried No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR in fourth and Joey Hand fifth in the No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, in the final factory outing for the Multimatic-built car.
The entire class grid was separated by less than seven-tenths.
Lewis Inherits GTD Pole After Technical Infraction for Land Audi
Corey Lewis will start from the class pole in GT Daytona following a penalty by the No. 29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo.
Ricardo Feller recorded the quickest lap of the session, a 1:19.185, although all of the German squad’s times were disallowed due to the team touching the car during a red flag period.
The times from the No. 47 PPM Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Shinya Michimi, who initially qualified third in class, were also disallowed due to the same infraction.
Lewis’ pole-winning time in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini edged out the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Ben Keating by 0.135 seconds.
Newly crowned Michelin Pilot Challenge GS class champion Jeff Westphal, in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 and GTD champions-elect Meyer Shank Racing, with Justin Marks at the wheel of the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 Evo, will start third and fourth in class, meanwhile, with Christina Nielsen completing the top-five in the sister MSR Acura.
The GTD qualifying session was extended by nearly four minutes following a lengthy red for the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Robby Foley, who spun off into the Turn 10a gravel trap early on in the 15-minute session.
Foley was not able to set a time in the session and will start from the rear of the 34-car field alongside the Land Audi and PPM Lamborghini.
The Motul Petit Le Mans gets underway Saturday at 12:05 p.m. ET with live coverage on NBC.