Juan Pablo Montoya has earned his first sports car racing pole position by qualifying Team Penske’s No. 6 Acura ARX-05 fastest at Long Beach.
The feat for the 42-year-old Colombian driver marks the first pole for Team Penske since its return to sports car racing with the Acura DPi as well as the first pole of the year for a car other than a Cadillac DPi-V.R.
At 1:12.922, Montoya’s lap during the brief 15-minute Prototype qualifying outing marks an improvement of 0.627 seconds over the previous track record, set by Ricky Taylor in a Cadillac DPi a year ago.
Felipe Nasr could do no better than lapping within 0.187 seconds of Montoya to earn the second position on the grid for the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac. Harry Tincknell added a third DPi manufacturer to the top three as he qualified the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P to the inside of the second row, 0.234 seconds back from Montoya.
Helio Castroneves qualified the second Penske Acura and placed it fourth on the grid for Saturday’s 100-minute race. Ending with Castroneves, the top four drivers broke the previous lap record.
Joao Barbosa rounded out the top five in Action Express’ No. 5 Cadillac, with Renger van der Zande going sixth-fastest in the session in the third and final Cadillac in the field.
Tequila Patron ESM’s pair of Nissan Onroak DPis qualified eighth and 10th behind the second Mazda and were split by the fastest-qualifying LMP2 car: the No. 52 AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 at the hands of Gustavo Yacaman.
Three ORECA 07s from Performance Tech Motorsports, JDC-Miller Motorsports and CORE autosport rounded out the qualifying results, with Jon Bennett nearly five seconds off the pace and slower than the fastest six drivers in GTLM qualifying.
The 14th and final Prototype entry, the No. 85 JDC-Miller ORECA, failed to qualify after stopping on track during Practice 2.
The green flag will fly to begin the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at 1:05 p.m. PDT, five minutes after live television coverage begins on FOX at 4 p.m. EDT.