At the end of the hour-long pre-qualifying session for the Mazda Raceway California 8 Hours four different manufacturers were represented in the top-4, with nine cars within the same second. Quickest of the session was the #29 Audi Sport Team Land R8.
The pre-qualifying session for the third round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge was held in slightly colder conditions than this morning’s free practice session, but that did not influence lap times too much.
Jeroen Bleekemolen (#54 Black Swan Racing Porsche) was the first to set a benchmark time, lapping the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1’24.673. It took the competition several attempts to improve on the Dutchman’s time, but eventually Chris Mies improved to 1’24.317, enough to claim the quickest time of the session. Others came close to the laptime of the driver of the #29 Audi Sport Team Land R8: Alvaro Parente (#9 K-PAX Racing McLaren) came within two tenths of Mies’s time, and in the dying minutes of the session Patrick Long (#58 Porsche Motorsport North America by Wright Motorsport 911) shaved another one hundredth of a second of Parente’s lap time. Behind the Audi, the Porsche and the McLaren, the #43 RealTime Racing Acura of Ryan Eversley made it four manufacturers in the top-4, with the whole of the top-9 within eight tenths of a second of the fastest time.
Bleekemolen’s early lap was still enough to be the fastest of the Pro-Am drivers, with the #26 Rearden Racing Porsche claiming top spot in GT4, right behind both MARC Cars, racing in the invitational class.
Saturday sees 45 minutes of qualifying at 10.45 local time, with the top-15 of that session competing in the Pole Shootout at 13.40. Both sessions will be streamed live on the Intercontinental GT Challenge website and Facebook page, together with the GT World channel on YouTube.