LONG BEACH, Calif. – Alvaro Parente posted the fastest GT time in Saturday morning’s 30-minute qualifying session at the Replay XD Grand Prix of Long Beach presented by Cadillac, part of the 42nd Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. Martin Fuentes posted the fastest time in GTA.
The 30-minute qualifying session (divided into two 15 minute run groups) was held under sunny, 55 degree temperatures. The top 13 cars based on the combined fastest times from Friday’s and Saturday’s practice sessions took to the track first for a 15-minute session. Included in that group were Parente, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3, Johnny O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3, Colin Thompson, in the No. 13 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3, Andrew Davis, in the No. 76 Phoenix Performance Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3-R, Patrick Long in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, Michael Lewis in the No. 41 EFFORT Racing/Curb-Agajanian/Porsche 911 GT3 R, Fuentes, in the No. 07 Hublot Underarmour Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, Kyle Marcelli in the No. 2 CRP Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3, Ryan Eversley in the No. 43 Acura/HPD/Red Line Oil/RealTime Acura TLX-GT3, Andrew Palmer in the No. 87 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3, and JD Davison in the No. 33 Nissan/GT Academy Nissan GT-R GT3.
Early on, O’Connell topped the charts with a 1:19.228, followed by Parente who posted a 1:19.634. Thompson then slotted into second with a 1:19.634. In GTA, Fuentes topped the charts early with a 1:20.184.
At the four-minute mark, O’Connell bettered his time to a 1:18.955. Parente then went to the top near the end of the first session with a 1:18.947.
The second run group then took to the track and included Frankie Montecalvo, in the No. 66 Dime R&D Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, James Sofronas in the No. 14 GMG/Spyder/Mobil 1/Thermal Club Porsche 911 GT3 R, Bryan Heitkotter in the No. 05 Always Evolving/Replay XD/Nissan Nismo GT3 GT-R, Adderley Fong in the No. 88 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3, Bill Sweedler, in the No. 11 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia, Tim Pappas in the No. 54 Papent.com Black Swan Racing Dodge Viper GT3-R, Brent Holden in the No. 44 GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3, Jorge De La Torre, in the No. 4 Delgac LLC De La Torre Racing Motor Aston Martin Vantage V6 GT3, Peter Cunningham in the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT, and Austin Cindric in No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3.
The fastest time set in the second group was Cindric’s 1:19.969 good for 10th on the grid. The second session was red flagged briefly with five minutes remaining as Cindric brushed the tire wall through turn 1 and was initally unable to restart the car.
Of note, Michael Cooper, the GT championship points leader coming into Long Beach did not post a qualifying time due to an engine breathing issue with his No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R.
The top 4 in GT (Parente, O’Connell, Thompson, Long) all eclipsed the previous qualifying track record set in 2015 held by Olivier Beretta (1:19.313). It’s Parente’s first career GT PWC pole, while Fuentes scored his fifth consecutive GTA pole of the 2016 season. Results are provisional until posted final.
“It’s a great feeling to be on pole position,” said Parente. “We were so close in St. Petersburg, and we’ve been performing well all the time. This is great for K-PAX Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports. I’m happy to be in this position on a street track. I have raced on many street circuits around the world like Monaco and Macau. So I have some experience on streets. But this is my first ever appearance at Long Beach. It is a well-known racing circuit around the world. It is exciting to race here. I have my family here this weekend so winning would be very special. But Sunday’s race will be very tough. However, starting on the front row is the best place to be here at Long Beach.”
“Everyone at Cadillac Racing does an amazing job, just eight-thousandths of a second off of pole,” said O’Connell. “You have to hand it to Parente and the K-PAX team, they have that McLaren working. I am excited about my Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe. There is no strategy for a race like this. Long Beach is a UFC cage fight at 170 mph. You have to run as hard as you can, hit your marks and make no mistakes for 50-minutes. Usually we are pretty good at that on race weekends.”
“I’m really happy for K-PAX Racing, Flying Lizard and McLaren GT to be on pole with my teammate Alvaro Parente, as well as me being P3,” said Thompson. “It’s exactly where we need to be for qualifying, and to start the race on a street circuit like Long Beach. It’s really hard to pass here, so qualifying is key. We gave it everything we had and times are tight. The top three are within a tenth of a second and it’s going to make for great racing. I won here last year in the GT Cup. Racing at Long Beach is always special. The PWC race will be very competitive on Sunday. I’m so anxious for the race.”
“It was a pretty good day for us yesterday as well as today with the Hublot Scuderia Corso Ferrari,” said Fuentes. “The team won the GT race here last year, so I know we would have a good race car. Last year was my first time at Long Beach and it is such a historic race. It has great atmosphere, it is so important to qualifying up front due to passing being so difficult. I am very happy with another pole position. That is five for five this year so far. This is a very challenging track and the circuit has about every variable. We are in the mix with the GT cars and we have been clean with our driving to get to the finish and collect the points for the championship.”
Drivers now get set for Sunday’s Round 5 race, scheduled for green flag at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern. Watch the race on CBS Sports Network, at 11am Pacific/2pm Eastern.
AP Information Revised 2016-04-16 @ 1800
Long Beach, CA – Results from Saturday, Apr 16, 2016 Pirelli WOrld Challenge Championship GT Qualifying Round 5, part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Pos. PIC, Class, Name, Hometown, Car, Fast Time
1. 1, GT, Alvaro Parente, Porto Portugal, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:18.947
2. 2, GT, Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch GA, Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3, 1:18.955
3. 3, GT, Colin Thompson, Doylestown PA, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:18.988
4. 4, GT, Patrick Long, Manhattan Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:19.273
5. 5, GT, Andrew Davis, Athens GA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:19.538
6. 6, GT, Michael Lewis, Laguna Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:19.669
7. 1, GTA, Martin Fuentes, Mexico City Mexico, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, 1:19.842
8. 7, GT, Andrew Palmer, Los Angeles CA, Bentley Continental GT3, 1:19.901
9. 8, GT, Kyle Marcelli, Barrie Canada, Audi R8 LMS GT3, 1:19.945
10. 9, GT, Ryan Eversley, Atlanta GA, Acura TLX-GT, 1:20.125
11. 10, GT, JD Davison, Denver CO, Nissan GTR GT3, 1:20.154
12. 2, GTA, Frankie Montecalvo, Highlands NJ, Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, 1:20.162
13. 11, GT, Bryan Heitkotter, Fresno CA, Nissan GTR GT3, 1:20.278
14. 12, GT, Adderly Fong, Hong Kong, Bentley Continental GT3, 1:20.358
15. 13, GT, Austin Cindric, Charlotte NC, McLaren 650S GT3, 1:20.768
16. 14, GT, Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee WI, Acura TLX-GT, 1:20.815
17. 15, GT, James Sofronas, Villa Park CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R, 1:21.096
18. 3, GTA, Tim Pappas, Santa Monica CA, Dodge Viper GT3-R, 1:21.736
19. 4, GTA, Bill Sweedler, Westport CT, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, 1:21.950
20. 5, GTA, Brent Holden, Newport CA, Audi R8 GTS LMS GT3, 1:22.227
21. 6, GTA, Jorge De La Torre, Mexico City Mexico, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 1:25.304
22. 16, GT, Michael Cooper, Syosset NY, Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3, 59:59.999