Qualifying concluded for the 24 Hours of Daytona on Sunday. Former Formula 1 driver, Felipe Nasr came out on top of a tug-of-war between former IndyCar driver Tristan Vautier. Nasr clocked a 01:35.806 in his Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, a lap record for the marquee event.
The 15-minute session had the grand prize of starting position, choice of pit box and garage location on the line. It didn’t come easy for the ex-Sauber pilot. Vautier proved to be a formidable opponent. The two trading positions between 1-2 several times before Nasr claiming the checkered flag all his own.
In speaking with RACER Nasr had this to say: “We felt pretty confident,” Nasr said. “We felt the car was behaving well. Myself and Filipe (Albuquerque) in our sister car gave everything we had. The times were pretty close up in front. Some cars are not showing fully what they can do, but I know we are. I pushed 100-percent – nothing to hide here.”
Throughout the field, with guest appearances by current and former F1 and IndyCar stars, saw new teams struggle to get up to speed. IndyCar drivers Simon Pagenaud and Juan Pablo Montoya paired up with Dane Cameron in the #6 Acura Team Penske and the Acura DPi factory effort. With Cameron, the #6 was able to muster a 01:36.988, a P5 grid position. While IndyCar aces Graham Rahal and Helio Castroneves are partnered with Ricky Taylor in the #7. The sister Acura was right behind in P6, driven by veteran Taylor.
Another IndyCar sensation Spencer Pigot, who’s co-piloting the revamped Mazda Team Joest, brought home to an P8 place starting position.
The F1 fan favorite and current McLaren-Renault driver Fernando Alonso qualified the United Autosport Ligier LMP2 a solid P12. Teamed with McLaren test driver Lando Norris and backed by McLaren boss Zak Brown. United Autosports is looking for a strong result, with Alonso using this opportunity to see if he even wants to pursue endurance racing in the future.
Williams F1 star Lance Stroll is apart of the Jackie Chan DCR JOTA outfit, which brought the ORECA LMP2 home behind Alonso, in the P13. Former F1 driver, Bruno Senna parked the sister United Autosport car in P15. Senna is teamed with fan favorite Paul Di Resta.
On average, the IndyCar driver-led teams out performed the F1 driver-led teams. Mind you, this is just taking into account the top Prototype category. IndyCar drivers will see their cars starting in P2, P4, P5, P6, and P8. While F1 drivers will be starting with teams in P1, P12, P13 and P15, respectively.
The Rolex 24hrs of Daytona kicks off January 27.