Cadillac Racing leads field into Rolex 24 qualifying


In a qualifying session for Rolex 24 At Daytona qualifying, drivers of the five Cadillac DPi-V.Rs stood out.
Tristan Vautier drove the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R to the pole position in the 15-minute prelude to the 100-minute qualifying race Jan. 23 that will determine the pole winner and set the field for the 60th anniversary of the twice-around-the-clock race.
The fourth-year JDC-Miller MotorSports driver recorded the quickest lap on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course at 1 minute, 34.034 seconds.
“It was still really cold. It was still damp on the curbs and stuff, so it was important to work the tires to get them up to temp quick,” Vautier said. “There was quite a lot of traffic with 15 cars, so you knew you had to put a lap in because there was a chance of a red flag, which actually happened. When I got to the Bus Stop, I knew the lap was good and I was thinking, ‘Don’t mess this up! You just have one corner to go.’ The car felt great.
“The team has been working really hard. We made a step last year at Petit Le Mans, and it seems to be helping here.”
A Cadillac DPi-V.R claimed three of the four spots on the grid. Alex Lynn drove the No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R to a best lap of 1:34.259 and will start third in the car campaigned by Chip Ganassi Racing. Tristan Nunez, who registered a best lap of 1:34.440 in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R for reigning DPi team champion Action Express Racing, will start fourth.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson drove the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R for Action Express Racing to fifth place at 1:34.941. Renger van der Zande was sitting second with 5 minutes left in the session, but hard braking entering Turn 5 caused the No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R to nose into the tire barrier. Van der Zande was uninjured, but by bringing out a red flag he lost his quickest lap.
The 100-minute qualifying race airs live at 2 p.m. ET on Peacock and IMSA Radio. A Cadillac DPi-V.R has won the Rolex 24 pole three times since the latest iteration of the Prototype class was established in 2017.
Cadillac Racing results with starting position and best lap time:
  • No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R (JDC-Miller MotorSports)
Tristan Vautier, Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval, Ben Keating
Starting: 1st … Best lap time: 1:34.034
Tristan Vautier: “The lap I did felt good so I knew it would be tough to improve. It’s good and important for us to validate our speed, but it’s early. This is qualifying for a qualifying race. There is a lot of work ahead. Although we are happy, we don’t have much time to celebrate with another practice very soon. The celebration is for the win and not the qualifying for the qualifying race. We are really focused. IMSA has a good handle on the BoP in DPi; the teams know it and it’s the last year of these cars so everyone is pushing really hard from the get-go. I’m pushing hard and having fun. It’s the last year for DPi so as a driver I’m always giving it all, but I know I have to do well and I’m really trying to give my best and earn my spot in LMDh. I want to shine. We have a good team and good teammates.”
  • No. 02 Cadillac Accessories Cadillac DPi-V.R (Chip Ganassi Racing)
Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Marcus Ericsson, Kevin Magnussen
Starting: 3rd … Best lap time: 1:34.259
Alex Lynn: “I’m satisfied, I wouldn’t say happy. I think the car was really tight and the field was super tight, so a couple of improvements from my side probably would have made the difference. But I’m sure every driver could say that. Overall, a good start.”
  • No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R (Action Express Racing)
Pipo Derani, Tristan Nunez, Mike Conway
Starting: 4th … Best lap time: 1:34.440
Tristan Nunez: “I think the toughest part was all of the traffic. Having the first pit box is good if you have an issue during the race you can right to the garage. During qualifying it means you have to start behind every DPi and P2 car. It was tough to get some temperature in the tires while trying to maintain a gap to the cars in front. I am pretty happy with that being my first qualifying run in the Whelen Cadillac. Now I have the confidence knowing what the car can do in flat out qualifying.”
  • No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R (Action Express Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
Starting: 5th … Best lap time: 1:34.941
Jimmie Johnson: “The damp, cold conditions are kind of tough with these light cars. As much as I was nervous about it, I was happy to get some experience doing it. I ended up running my fastest lap I’ve ever run around here. I am happy to see my progression. Happy that the team keeps giving me these opportunities to learn. Starting fifth for the qualifying race. We will go for more tomorrow.”
  • No. 01 V-Performance Academy Cadillac DPi-V.R (Chip Ganassi Racing)
Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais, Scott Dixon, Alex Palou
Starting: 10th … Best lap time: 1:38.593 *
* – quickest lap disallowed for creating a red flag by going off course
Renger van der Zande: “I got stuck in a wall basically in Turn 5. Turn 1, 2 and 3 was really good, but I braked too late for Turn 5. Overall, the car felt really nice. I don’t think it’s drama, but it is a bit of drama.”

Team Chevy PR