GT Le Mans class points leader Patrick Pilet has scored the pole for Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas, courtesy of a first lap flyer of 2:04.396 in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR.
The pole position for Pilet is both his first of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season and in the series as a whole.
It’s also the fourth in a row for the factory Porsche North America team, with teammate Nick Tandy (CTMP, VIR) and Earl Bamber (Road America) also scoring poles.
Incidentally, Pilet had scored the pole at COTA in 2014 in a third factory Porsche 911 RSR, but had his time disallowed in post-qualifying technical inspection.
The pole also comes after Porsche was issued a 20 kg minimum weight increase prior to COTA, and after Michelin’s two-race experimental “single stinter” tires would not be used past Virginia International Raceway.
Dirk Werner came close to overtaking Pilet but came up just over a tenth short, at 2:04.490 in the No. 25 BMW Z4 GTE.
The second factory Porsche qualified by Earl Bamber, the No. 3 Corvette C7.R qualified by Antonio Garcia, and the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR qualified by Wolf Henzler completed the top five.
Henzler’s practice time of 2:03.521 was the fastest GTLM time of the day.
The top seven cars were split by 0.849 of a second.
Dion von Moltke secured his fourth pole position of the season and fourth in the last five qualifying attempts in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS in GT Daytona.
Von Moltke’s best time of 2:11.097 occurred on his fourth of six completed laps. He’ll share the car with Christopher Haase as the pair seek their first victory of the season.
However in the 90-plus degree heat of the afternoon, the time was some 1.6 seconds slower than Haase’s practice leading time of 2:09.365.
Local driver Ben Keating, who seeks his third win at Circuit of the Americas in as many years, qualified the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R second at 2:11.658, with Bill Sweedler clocking in third in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia on his final lap at 2:11.729.
The No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 and No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America completed the top five.
Of note, Dan Knox qualified the No. 80 Lone Star Racing Dodge Viper GT3-R in seventh for that team’s TUDOR Championship debut, while the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS is 11th in its first start since Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.