LONG BEACH, Calif. – Saturday’s Pirelli GT4 America qualifying session on the streets of Long Beach saw The Racers Group’s efforts pay off.
Spencer Pumpelly, driving the No. 66 TRG Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR, scorched to the pole with a best lap of 1:25.916. His lap set a GT4 qualifying record for the circuit.
“The first lap we did the tires weren’t quite up to temp, but it was a decent lap that was good enough for P1 at the time,” Pumpelly explained. “As we went on I knew it wouldn’t hold so I started to prep for a second one, and I got a little worried that we may have used up too much tire trying to get by Ian. (Getting) pole here is important, now that we’re there we just have to make sure that we can make our car last.”
Next to Pumpelly on the front row is Team Panoz Racing pro Ian James, driving the No. 40 Panoz Avezzano GT4. His 1:26.114 lap was just short of capturing the pole, which he exchanged with Pumpelly and others throughout the duration of the session.
“We’re looking forward to tomorrow. It’s going to be tough to overtake but we’ll give it max effort,” said James. “This is GT4 racing, there’s never a time to relax at all. Hopefully we’ll be strong the whole stint and hopefully Spencer (Pumpelly) won’t so we look forward to some good clean racing tomorrow.”
Row two features the highest qualifying Am and James’ Team Panoz teammate Matt Keegan, driving the No. 51 Panoz Avezzano GT4 to a slightly-slower 1:26.285-second lap. Next to him, MarcoPolo Motorsports’ Nicolai Elghanayan will line up with a 1:26.326 effort in the No. 71 KTM X-Bow.
While the top 12 are within one second of each other, with an almost even distribution of Pro and Am drivers, the third row of the grid is locked down by Am drivers Drew Staveley and Jarret Andretti.