Jeff Westphal scooped a surprise pole position for Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus in the 45th Nürburgring 24 Hours, with a last-gasp effort in the Top-30 Qualifying session.
Driving the No. 704 Lightspeed Racing Glickenhaus SCG003C, Westphal was fourth after the first runs were completed, then improved to the top spot with a time of 8:15.427 on his second lap.
That put the 30-year-old Californian six tenths ahead of the No. 29 Audi Sport Team Land R8 LMS driven by fellow American Connor De Phillippi.
De Phillippi was unable to improve on his second run, allowing Westphal to become the second winner of the Glickenhaus Trophy, awarded by Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus owner James Glickenhaus to the pole-winning driver.
The road-legal SCG003C, which set the fastest lap in the six-hour qualifying race in April, is entered in the SP-X class for non-homologated machinery.
“I can’t even begin to explain the release,” Westphal told Sportscar365. “It’s been so many steps and often at times when you’re developing a car it’s two steps forward and one step back to go a different direction, but ultimately we found our way to the top of the heap against the best in the world, so for me this is huge.”
Glickenhaus added: “I’m just amazed that a small team of very passionate people from all over the world can race together against 40 factory cars, I can’t believe it.
“This is what motorsports is [all about], it’s really wonderful.”
Audi benefitted from a late switch to Dunlops to fill four of the top six positions.
Robin Frijns was third in the No. 9 WRT R8, completing a Dunlop clean sweep of the top three, with Jochen Krumbach fourth in the No. 22 Wochenspiegel Team Monchau Ferrari 488 GT3 which topped Qualifying 2.
Nico Mueller was fifth in the No. 10 WRT Audi, with Mike Rockenfeller sixth in the No. 5 Phoenix Racing example.
De Phillippi explained the decision to change tire supplier came after practice and praised the Glickenhaus team’s achievement.
“We drove both the cars back to back to see the strengths and weaknesses, then for qualifying we decided to run the Dunlop and I was quite happy with it,” he told Sportscar365.
“I think it’s really a great day for motorsport, it’s really cool to see a small team on top and the fact that it’s an American team also has a cool flair to it.
“That’s the beauty of the event, you run what you’ve brung and you just leave the organization to do a proper job to balance everybody, which they’ve done.
“At the end of the day you have to show up and do your job and they were the ones that did the best job today. Overall I’m happy for them. Being P2 is certainly nothing to be ashamed of.”
The race gets underway Saturday at 3:30 p.m. local time.