Race Weekend Central

Jack Hawksworth Wins Michelin GT Challenge at VIR Pole

VasserSullivan’s Jack Hawksworth won the pole Saturday (Aug. 26) for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway with a lap at 112.350 mph. It is Hawksworth’s second pole of the season. Hawksworth and teammate Ben Barnicoat also earn 35 more points and expand their points lead to 174 over Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor.

Hawksworth won the pole by .096 seconds over WeatherTech Racing’s Daniel Juncadella. On Friday, Juncadella’s Mercedes caught fire on the pit lane, resulting in a long night of repairs.

Garcia will start third, followed by Patrick Pilet. The five GTD Pro cars were separated by 1.197 seconds.

Teams had to deal with very hot and humid weather at VIR, as the nearest weather station to the track had a temperature of 97 degrees with a dewpoint over 70 during the session. That made for a slippery track that kept speeds down; the pole lap is more than three-quarters of a second slower than last year.

In GTD Pro, Pilet was quick early on in his Porsche before Garcia went fastest. With four minutes to go, Hawksworth put his Lexus on the overall pole, then let the remaining 18 cars take shots at it. No one was able to prevent Hawksworth from taking the pole position.

GTD saw US RaceTronics’ Loris Spinelli put himself on the pole early in the session. However, Madison Snow set a time at 111.875 mph to put his BMW on top. That time held up to give Snow his second straight pole and 11th of his career.

Snow’s lap, good enough for fourth overall, was .153 seconds faster than VasserSullivan’s Aaron Telitz. Spinelli will start third in class, then Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Mike Skeen and Turner Motorsport’s Patrick Gallagher.

There were no red flags during the session, but there were a couple of off-course excursions. Inception Racing’s Brendan Iribe went off the track in turn 1 after going into the turn too fast. Gallagher did a similar move into the Oak Tree turn and went off. Despite less runoff, Gallagher did not hit anything.

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Michelin GT Challenge at VIR Qualifying Results

Of note, the two classes will not be split for Sunday’s race. While the three GTD Pro cars will start in the first three positions, they will be immediately followed by the first six GTD entries.

The Michelin GT Challenge at VIR is scheduled to go green at 2:10 p.m. ET Sunday afternoon. The race will air live on USA Network starting at 2 p.m. ET.

About the author

Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.

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