DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Jonathan Bomarito ended Saturday atop the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship time charts at Daytona Int’l Speedway by the slimmest of margins.
Bomarito posted a best lap of 1 minute, 34.533 seconds in the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P Daytona Prototype international during the annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 test.
Bomarito’s time, which came under the bright lights of the 3.56-mile circuit Saturday night, was just one-thousandth of a second quicker than Renger van der Zande’s lap of 1:34.534 in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R from the afternoon session.
Both laps were well under the current WeatherTech Championship track record of 1:36.083 set last year in Rolex 24 qualifying by van der Zande.
Nicolas Lapierre owns the fastest LMP2 lap of the Roar so far with a 1:36.553 in the No. 81 Dragonspeed ORECA. Richard Westbrook is the fastest in GT Le Mans with a lap of 1:43.148 in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT and Trent Hindman tops GT Daytona in the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 at 1:45.533. All three laps took place in the Saturday afternoon session.
– For the second-straight year during the Roar, IMSA has spiced up the schedule by having teams qualify for Rolex 24 pit-road selections.
On Saturday, qualifying was held for the production car-based GT Daytona class, with former IndyCar driver Bia Figueiredo – part of an all-female team from Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian – topping the chart.
“I thought I was P2, but then with the disqualification, this is a very good position,” said Figureido, who will share the car in the Rolex 24 with Katherine Legge, Christina Nielsen and Simona De Silvestro. “It shows that we’re really competitive, so I’m really happy for everybody with our car.”
Qualifying in the WeatherTech Championship’s three other classes – DPi, LMP2 and GT Le Mans – will be held Sunday from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
– Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 2004 champion Kurt Busch was an interested visitor to the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing pits at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. Busch, who is joining Ganassi’s NASCAR Cup Series team in 2019, has raced twice in the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
He drove a Ford Multimatic Daytona Prototype along with fellow NASCAR drivers Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle and sports car ace Scott Maxwell in 2006, then drove a Pontiac Riley DP for Penske-Taylor Racing in the 2008 race, finishing third alongside co-drivers Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves.
“It’s been like a decade since I ran a prototype,” Busch said. “I live just down the road in Wellington, Fl., during the offseason. I saw a practice on the schedule, I love seeing cars, tires and burning fuel, so I’m here checking it out with the Ganassi team.”