Priaulx Puts Rexy Porsche on GT Pole for Rolex 24 At Daytona

Priaulx Puts Rexy Porsche on GT Pole for Rolex 24 At Daytona

First-Time Pole Winners in Both GTD PRO and GTD Classes

Chalk one up for Porsche – but save some of that chalk for Lexus.

Seb Priaulx led the way for Porsche in qualifying Sunday for the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) class for next weekend’s 62nd Rolex 24 At Daytona, but two Lexus cars weren’t far behind among GT entries.

Priaulx won the first Motul Pole Award of his career en route to the No. 1 starting position in the GTD PRO class with a lap of 1 minute 44.382 seconds (122.780 mph) in the No. 77 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (992). Jack Hawksworth was just a tick behind in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, which will start second in GTD PRO after he was timed at 1:44.462 (122.685 mph).

Meanwhile, Parker Thompson claimed the Motul Pole Award in the GTD class and was third overall in GT in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 with a lap of 1:44.494 (122.648 mph) around the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course. Both Priaulx and Thompson set track qualifying records for their respective classes.

While qualifying for a 24-hour race doesn’t seem consequential, Priaulx said the pole position proved a point of confidence.

“Everything is important,” said Priaulx, who will share the Dinosaur-liveried green Porsche known as “Rexy” with Laurin Heinrich and Michael Christensen when the Rolex 24 starts Saturday afternoon to open the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. “Obviously with this race it doesn’t matter so much how qualifying goes, but we know we have a good car here. It’s confidence-building in what we have.”

Hawksworth, who will co-drive the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus with Ben Barnicoat, Kyle Kirkwood and Mike Conway, followed the team’s championship of 2023 with a solid runner-up effort in GTD PRO qualifying for the 2024 season opener.

Antonio Garcia secured third in class with a lap of 1:44.786 (122.306 mph) in the No. 3 Corvette Racing by Pratt Miller Motorsports Corvette Z06 GT3.R he’ll co-drive with Alexander Sims and Daniel Juncadella.

Sunday’s qualifying session was red-flagged early after David Brule slid off course in the No. 92 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) in the GTD class. The delay threw Priaulx off his rhythm for a moment, but he maintained focus and carried on.

“I kept my head down and focused on what I could do,” Priaulx said. “It worked out today, and I’m really happy.”

Thompson, Lexus prevail for pole in GTD

In his fifth race with Vasser Sullivan, Thompson claimed his first Motul Pole Award in WeatherTech Championship competition. The 25-year-old Canadian, who’ll run the full season for the first time, is co-drivers with Frankie Montecalvo, Aaron Telitz and Ritomo Miyata at Daytona.

“It means everything,” Thompson said. “Two years ago, I was spotting up there, and now I’m down in Victory Lane collecting my first pole. One for one, but I couldn’t do it without … the entire Lexus Racing Vasser Sullivan group. It’s such a solid group.”

Klaus Bachler continued the Porsche vs. Lexus theme by securing the No. 2 GTD starting position with a lap of 1:44.537 (122.597 mph) in the No. 86 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) that he’ll co-drive with Kerong Li, Anders Fjordbach and Larry Voorde.

Katherine Legge brought the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 home third in GTD at 1:44.640 (122.477 mph). She’ll team with Sheena Monk, Tatiana Calderon and Stevan McAleer for the race.

NBC’s live coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona begins at 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday. Flag-to-flag live coverage can be found on NBC Sports platforms. 

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