Tandy Sets Daytona GT Le Mans Qualifying Record

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Nick Tandy celebrates after claiming the GT Le Mans class pole for the Rolex 24 (IMSA Photo)
Nick Tandy celebrates after claiming the GT Le Mans class pole for the Rolex 24 (IMSA Photo)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In track record pace, Nick Tandy put the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Le Mans pole Thursday for the 58th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Tandy’s time of one minute, 42.207 (125.392 mph) bettered his own track record set a year ago. And it also marked the fourth time (2013, 2016, 2019, 2020) that Tandy has captured the pole for the WeatherTech Championship season opener, which ties Scott Pruett for the most Rolex 24 pole wins by a driver.

“It’s a great start to the year in our defense of the championship,” Tandy said. “I’ve got some new teammates this year, so it’s great to share it with those guys.

“A new car, and it all starts with a one-two, so I can’t be happier.”

RELATED: Jarvis & Mazda Claim Rolex 24 Pole

As Tandy referenced, the sister No. 912 Porsche GT Team car driven by Laurens Vanthoor completed the front row with a lap of 1:42.256 (125.332 mph).

While the Porsches swept the front row, the Corvette C8.Rs did the same for the second row. Antonio Garcia qualified the No. 3 Corvette Racing in third with a time of 1:42.545 (124.979 mph) and the No. 4 entry driven by Tommy Milner was fourth in 1:42.801 (124.668).

In GT Daytona, the new partnership between Pfaff Motorsports and Motul could not be off to a better start.

The No. 9 Pfaff Porsche 911 GT3 R claimed the first Motul Pole Award of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona season for the Rolex 24.

Motul, already the official motor oil of IMSA, struck up a partnership with the Canadian-based team in December following its first season in IMSA’s top-tier series.

Behind the wheel of the Porsche was Zacharie Robichon, whose time of one minute, 45.237 seconds (121.798 MPH), bested the previous track record by .02 seconds set in 2019 by Marco Gomes. The last time Porsche swept both GT pole positions was at Virginia Int’l Raceway in 2019, with both Tandy and Robichon the successors again in their respective classes.

“Last year, we had a couple of pole positions and that was the beginning of the relationship with Motul,” said Robichon. “As our first official race with them, it was nice to embrace it this way. I think there’s no better way to get the relationship started, but obviously it’s just the beginning and we’re looking forward to everything that comes next.”

In addition to two previous Motul Pole Awards last season, Robichon scored two victories with Pfaff in 2019 and was also crowned the inaugural WeatherTech Sprint Cup champion.

The car had been quick all day at the World Center of Racing on Thursday, with the No. 9 Porsche second on the charts in both of the day’s two practice sessions. Robichon will be co-driving in this weekend’s twice-around-the-clock event with Dennis Olsen, Lars Kern and Patrick Pilet.

While it won’t be hard to spot the plaid on track, it won’t be hard to spot the drivers in the paddock or in the pits as well. In addition to the new sponsorship, Pfaff is sporting new, eye-catching firesuits with bright red plaid from the waist up and dark grey solid print from the waist down.

“It ended up being quite popular last year, so we decided to take it a step further this year and do the suits,” said Robichon. To me, it feels natural. This is basically what I wear at home most of the time. I fit right in. We get a couple looks but I think most people are used to it by now. The first time we wore it, we did get a couple people looking at us sideways, but we cherish it and at least it gets people talking.”