Sunny Fast Friday Highlights First Day of FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix presented by LIQUI MOLY
While light showers kicked off the first day of the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix presented by LIQUI MOLY, the clouds parted and Mother Nature graced Lime Rock Park with a bright day of sunshine as IMSA drivers ran all dry sessions during two rounds of practice and qualifying on Friday. The day featured fast cars and the announcement of a very inclusive new partnership.
Lime Rock Park New Hub for WIMNA
Women in Motorsports North America (WIMNA), a leading non-profit organization dedicated to enabling opportunities for women across all motorsport disciplines, and Lime Rock Park, celebrated the start of an important alliance today.
The Sam Posey straight transformed into a unique gathering honoring the accomplishments of women in various motorsports disciplines, including drivers, engineers, mechanics, safety crew, team owners, among others. During the WIMNA Power Hour, Lime Rock Park CEO and President Dicky Riegel announced that Lime Rock Park will now be an ‘Official WIMNA Regional Hub’, partnering for the development and execution of events, activities, promotions and support of women interested in or already participating in motorsports.
WIMNA Executive Director Cindy Sisson and co-chair and Grand Marshal Beth Paretta, founder, owner and Team Principal of Paretta Autosport – the first woman-owned, woman-driven and woman-forward team in the NTT INDYCAR Series, co-hosted the event and introduced the attendees to various women who work in IMSA.
“On behalf of Lime Rock Park and our staff, we are excited, and I can say we are a proud venue partner with WIMNA with this alliance,” said Riegel. “It is early in the process, but I expect we will have increasingly more to offer female motorsports drivers, workers, crews, and fans of the Northeast as we move forward.”
Fast Flyers Break Multiple Track Records in IMSA Qualifying
WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Ross Gunn found the most speed on the 1.474-mile Bullring, laying down a 50.593-second flyer driving the the No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 on Friday to earn the Motul Pole Award for the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix presented by LIQUI MOLY, a standalone round for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT classes.
The 104.883-mph lap around the seven-turn road course smashed the existing track record for the GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class established by Matt Campbell in 2022 by nearly half a second. It was also nearly two-tenths of a second faster than this year’s second fastest GTD PRO qualifier Jack Hawksworth could manage in the championship-leading No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 he shares with Ben Barnicoat.
All five cars entered in the GTD PRO class broke Campbell’s 2022 track record of 51.079-seconds ahead of Saturday’s 2-hour, 40-minute race.
Mike Skeen, who’s seen success at Lime Rock competing in the Trans Am Series, turned a GTD class track-record lap of 51.157-seconds (103.727 mph) a little more than six minutes into Friday’s qualifying session, then parked the No. 32 Team Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 and waited out the checkered flag. The lap held up – barely – by 0.007-seconds to deliver the GT Daytona (GTD) class pole to Skeen and his co-driver Mikael Grenier and the No. 32 Mercedes. They’ll start sixth overall in the 20-car GT field for Saturday’s race.
The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race begins Saturday at noon ET on USA Network, Peacock and IMSA Radio.
Michelin Pilot Challenge
Mat Pombo sped to his fifth IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Motul Pole Award in six tries this year, leading qualifying on Friday for the Lime Rock Park 100 race featuring only the Touring Car (TCR) class. Driving the No. 37 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic FL5 TCR that he shares with Ryan Eversley, Pombo’s fast lap in qualifying was 53.294 seconds (99.838 mph), breaking the four-year-old track record of 54.034-seconds set by Michael Lewis.
Mark Wilkins, in the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Elantra N TCR, qualified second, just 0.150 seconds behind Pombo. Bryan Ortiz was third in the No. 91 van der Steur Racing Elantra.
Saturday’s 100-minute race will be the first time in IMSA history that the TCR cars will hold a stand alone race. The race will stream live at 4:15 p.m. on Peacock in the U.S. and on IMSA.com/TVLive elsewhere.
VP Racing SportsCar Challenge
The Le Mans Prototype 3 cars made their debut at Lime Rock Park today with Bijoy Garg establishing the benchmark for the series. In the No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320, the Lime Rock debutant toured the circuit in 49.108 seconds (108.055 mph) to collect his sixth pole in seven tries for the new multiclass VP Racing SportsCar Challenge.
In the GSX class, JCD Dubets made the most of his series debut, taking the class pole and leading a BMW barrage atop the timesheet. Dubets turned a best lap of 55.849 seconds (95.013 mph) in the No. 26 Auto Technic Racing BMW M4 GT4 (G82), distancing himself by 0.325 seconds over teammate Jake Walker in the No. 24 Auto Technic entry. BMW swept the top five qualifying spots in the 11-car class.
The new sprint series will host two races on Saturday. The first VP Racing Challenge race begins at 9:05 a.m., with the second 45-minute race starting at 3:05 p.m. Both stream live on Peacock in the U.S. and on IMSA.com/TVLive elsewhere.
Tickets for the FCP Euro Northeast Grand Prix presented by LIQUI MOLY are still available at the gate on Saturday for $90. Active military, veterans and children under 12 receive free admission. On track activities start at 9:00 a.m. with four IMSA races spread throughout the day. For more information, visit www.limerock.com