By Mark Robinson
MONTEREY, Calif. – Running second in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge championship, Tyler McQuarrie kept the pressure on the front-runners by clinching the Motul Pole Award in qualifying this morning for the two-hour race later today at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
McQuarrie pushed the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine racing Audi R8 GT4 around the iconic road course in 1 minute, 30.400 seconds (89.123 mph) to earn his third pole of the season and second in a row. The gap was a sizable 0.589 seconds over Nate Stacy in the championship-leading No. 60 KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
"The guys at CarBahn Peregrine racing did a great job setting up the car," McQuarrie said. "This is our home track so it’s probably one of the easier tracks for us to set up. The lap was clean, I found a good gap and just did my job. Because of them, I was able to put it on pole."
No. 60 drivers Stacy and Kyle Marcelli lead No. 39 pilots McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal by 20 points in the Grand Sport (GS) class heading into this afternoon’s race that begins at 6:35 p.m. ET and streams live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. McQuarrie and Westphal are the reigning season champions.
In the Touring Car (TCR) class, Harry Gottsacker led a Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian sweep of the top three qualifying spots. Gottsacker collected his second Motul Pole Award of 2020 by negotiating the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit in 1:33.417 (86.245 mph) driving the No. 21 Hyundai Veloster N TCR. Mason Filippi was just 0.101 seconds behind in the No. 98 Hyundai, with Ryan Norman third in the No. 33 Hyundai, 0.244 seconds off Gottsacker’s pace.
"That was a crazy qualifying session right there at Laguna Seca," Gottsacker said. "Our Hyundai Veloster N was really hooked up. These conditions pretty much flip-flopped from yesterday’s practice session. We made a bit of a guess on the setup and we made it to be on the pole."
No. 98 drivers Filippi and Michael Lewis hold an eight-point advantage on Norman and Gabby Chaves in the No. 33 heading into today’s race, the next-to-last on the Pilot Challenge schedule. The season finale, the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120, takes place Nov. 13 at Sebring International Raceway.