SEBRING, Fla. – It was a banner day for Acura and Acura Team Penske Friday in qualifying for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.
Dane Cameron scored his third IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Motul Pole Award and will lead the 38-car grid to the green flag for Saturday’s 12-hour race with a lap of one minute, 45.865 seconds (125.837 mph) in the No. 6 Acura DPi for Acura Team Penske.
Acura also scored the pole in the GT Daytona class with Trent Hindman in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 for Meyer Shank Racing. It is the first time the manufacturer has sat on the pole in both classes on the same weekend.
It was Cameron’s third career Sebring class pole, also earning the top spot for Genoa Racing in 2011 and Turner Motorsport in 2014. His lone Sebring win came from the pole in 2011. He will be joined in the Twelve Hours by co-drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud.
“There is nothing better than the view in the front,” said Cameron. “I’m super, super proud of this effort. “Acura Team Penske has been doing a good job. Last year was good, but definitely not up to our standard. We worked super hard over the winter and worked with HPD to try to make improvements to figure out our weaknesses. We started strong at Daytona and starting strong again here. I’m just really proud of the effort and to be strong in year two making sure we’re improving on the things we learned from last year.”
Mazda Team Joest continued to show the speed it displayed back in Daytona with Tristan Nunez qualifying the No. 77 Mazda DPi in the second position, one race after Oliver Jarvis put it on the pole at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Nunez’ lap of 1:46.011 was 0.146 behind Cameron’s pole-winning time.
Helio Castroneves made it two Acura DPi’s in the top three in the No. 7 Acura DPi, while Action Express Racing’s pair of Cadillac DPi-V.R.s rounded out the top five. Filipe Albuquerque qualified the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi fourth, while Pipo Derani drove the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi to fifth.
Derani enters the weekend as the winningest active driver in terms of overall victories at Sebring, winning in two of his three career starts (2016, 2018).
The Rolex 24-winning No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. of Wayne Taylor Racing qualified sixth. The team has won the last two IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races, the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (Oct. 2018) and January’s Rolex 24. The car also finished second at Sebring one year ago.
In the LMP2 class, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports narrowly missed the Motul Pole Award one race ago in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, qualifying second in the prestigious season-opening race.
Setting out to improve on that position Friday in qualifying for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts at Sebring International Raceway, the team did just that with Matthew McMurry laying down a flyer right at the checkered flag to score his first Motul Pole Award.
That lap of 1:49.728 in the No. 52 ORECA LMP2 edged out Kyle Masson in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports LMP2 by just .011 of a second. Leading much of the session, McMurray was jumped by Masson with just two minutes remaining and achieved the pole-winning time on the final lap of the 15-minute session.
“It was a fun qualifying, it was very close between me and Kyle, going back and forth,” said McMurray. “I got him back by a hundredth at the very end. It was a different qualifying experience than the previous years. The Michelin comes in much quicker and in total, holds its grip a little longer. It was fun to see how much the track changed since this morning’s practice.”