First LMDh to qualify for the 24 Hours of Daytona: Here’s what the drivers are saying!

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( – The 61st edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona on January 28 and 29, 2023 marks the beginning of the new LMDh era of the IMSA series, the new flagship of which is the GTP. Acura clinched pole position in the new class with Meyer Schunk, while Porsche had its first accident at the Daytona Le Mans chicane. BMW brought the rear in qualifying. But how do the drivers and teams interact?

Acura took its first GTP pole in the LMDH car with Meyer Shank

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Meyer Schanck took pole at the Long Distance Classic in Florida at the last second with his Acura. It was Tom Blomqvist who had the best tarmac time on his last fast lap, after a late stage red. “It was so crazy,” the columnist told IMSA TV. “I didn’t have a real reference, to be honest. I had to improvise.”

According to Blomqvist, the Acura was set up “very well,” but the tires weren’t at the optimum temperature on his latest attempt. “So I just had to give it a shot and go to the extreme,” said the Briton of Swedish descent, who also spoke of “promising” training and qualifying before the actual 24 Hours of Daytona.

Porsche has to deal with its first GTP accident

Nick Tandy is the first driver to hit a LMDH car with a wall in an official IMSA session. According to his own statements, the Porsche driver was on his way to pole position when he lost control of his 963 at the Le Mans chicane and hit a tire wall. The Brit was also the trigger for the late red stage in GTP qualifying.

“I want to thank the team for the great car they’ve allowed me to drive here,” says Tandy, who will start the race from seventh on the grid. “I’ve never seen a Porsche 963 so fast and so balanced in conditions like this before. The car was fantastic. The lap times were good too and fortunately the car didn’t get too damaged.

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Seventh place in the GTP grid is not the end of the world for Tandy, as the starting position in a 24-hour race does not play a major role. Penske-Porsche at least achieved a good starting position with its sister car. Ex-Formula 1 driver and two-time IMSA Champion Felipe Nasr placed a second 963 seconds in second place, 0.083 seconds slower than Meyer Schunk’s Acura.

BMW brings the qualifiers to the rear

BMW had sand in the gears during qualifying, because the two M Hybrid V8s would start at 7:40 p.m. Saturday German time in Daytona as tail lights. But the team will not bury their heads in the sand and will try to find their way in the race.

Philip Eng led the fastest qualifying lap in a BMW and was 0.7 seconds slower than Tom Blomqvist in pole position. Brandon Fry, BMW LMDh Technical Director: “We worked a lot on both cars during the race. The focus was always on performance in the race. We had good laps and collected a lot of data. We also worked on preparing for the improved race step by step.

LMDh Dallara chassis supplier on tour

BMW is completely focused on the 24-hour race, which is won not only by sheer speed, but also by smart decisions and a solid car. “We are sure that cars can do a lot in racing,” said Fry. As a reminder, BMW struggled with the car’s durability during the Sebring test and the second car was only ready for the Daytona test.

The engineer, who was the winner in his class at Daytona in 2019, remains optimistic: “Of course it was nice to start the race from the front, but in a 24-hour race the starting position doesn’t matter that much. Don’t pay attention to the speed,” it’s about predictable behaviour. car and easy to drive. That’s the key to being successful in endurance racing – especially with a new car.”

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