An Audi R8 LMS has qualified for the pole position in the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona. Piloting the #48 Audi Customer Racing Paul Miller Racing R8 LMS to the fastest qualifying time in the GT Daytona class was Christopher Haase.
The German set the time on his fifth lap, moving the Ferrari driven by Toni Vilander, which had been leading up to that point, into second place. Haase’s time was merely 0.055 seconds faster than that of Vilander.
The rest of the qualifying session remained just as close, with the six fastest GT Daytona sports cars being within 89 thousands of a second of each other, and the best 20 within one second. In addition to Haase’s #48 R8 LMS, the #46 R8 LMS of Fall-Line Motorsports piloted by Oliver Jarvis qualified third, trailing Haase’s time by a mere 0.022 seconds. Meanwhile, Nelson Canache Jr. and Dion von Moltke secured grid positions 21 and 23 for the Flying Lizard Motorsports team. Marc Basseng in the Audi R8 LMS of GMG Racing, after a spin in the chicane, took position 24 – with a gap of only 1.408s seconds between Haase’s time.
Four Audi customer teams are fielding a total of five Audi R8 LMS cars this weekend. Notably, Audi celebrated a one-two victory in the GT class at Daytona in 2012.
The GT Daytona class in which the units of the R8 LMS compete is restricted to production-based sports cars. The class will have the most participants in the 24-hour race, fielding 29 entrants this weekend out of a total of 67 competing in all classes. The event will also debut of the new U.S. version of the Audi R8 LMS for Audi. The mid-engine sports car was further developed by Audi Sport customer racing for the Daytona GT class.
Now in its 52nd running, Daytona 24 Hours marks the beginning of a new era in sports car racing in North America. Its arrival is noteworthy, as it is the first race after the American Le Mans Series merged with the GRAND-AM to form the new Tudor United SportsCar Championship (TUSCC). Once the race gets underway, there will temporarily be two Audi R8s in the front, since a production-spec R8 V10 will lead Christopher Haase’s R8 LMS, as well as other contestants, as the official pace car of the Rolex 24.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona will commence Saturday, January 25th at 14:10 local time (20:10 CET). FOX Network will air coverage of the event in the United States, while MotorsTV will do so in Europe.Live radio and live timing will be available here.