IMSA WeatherTech Championship

Heistand, Audi Combination Wins out in Belle Isle GTD Qualifying

The 2019 Detroit Race Winner Puts the New
CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Team on Pole
June 11, 2021
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
DETROIT, Mich. – Something about Richard Heistand, Audi and Belle Isle go well – and fast – together.
Heistand, winner of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s most recent GT Daytona (GTD) class race on the on the island in the Detroit River two years ago, pushed his No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 around the tight street circuit Friday afternoon to capture the Motul Pole Award for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic. It marked the fourth time an Audi has won the pole at Detroit, but the first since 2017.
Afterward, Heistand felt he could have done even better than his fast lap of 1 minute, 30.597 seconds (93.450 mph) during the 15-minute GTD session to determine grid position for the race. The Floridian said he was four-tenths of a second quicker on an ensuing lap, but then had “a little, tiny mistake” that cost him.
“I left a lot on the table, so I’m not so happy about it, but it was enough,” Heistand said about the highly competitive session that saw the top seven GTD cars separated by less than a half second on the 2.35-mile temporary street course.
CarBahn with Peregrine Racing made its WeatherTech Championship debut last month at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, where Heistand qualified ninth and finished seventh with co-driver Jeff Westphal. After winning at Detroit in 2019 when he drove a Vasser Sullivan Lexus with Jack Hawksworth, Heistand said Friday’s pole position is a sign of the progress his new team is already making.
“I knew that if I got in the right situation, that success could continue and there would be additional kind of growth,” he said. “I’m just happy to be on the team – it’s a great team – and happy to be back. We took another step forward today.”
Frankie Montecalvo was second quick in the GTD grid position qualifying session at 1:30.617 (93.359 mph) in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. Roman De Angelis, who hails from just across the river in Belle River, Ontario, Canada, ran third in the No. 23 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 (1:30.671, 93.304 mph).
In the ensuing 15-minute session awarding points, Mario Farnbacher earned the maximum 35 markers for himself and co-driver Jeff Kingsley by taking the No. 76 Compass Racing Acura NSX GT3 around the Belle Isle circuit in 1:29.871 (94.134 mph). GTD points this weekend count solely toward the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup and not the season-long championship.
Aaron Telitz, Hawksworth’s 2021 teammate in the No. 14 Lexus, qualified fifth in the grid position session but damaged the right rear of the car when he brushed the wall late in the session. The car didn’t turn a lap in the points-paying session that followed so, per IMSA rules, will be moved to the rear of the field for the start of the race and receive no qualifying points.
No. 4 Corvette Beats Sister No. 3 in GTLM Qualifying
Nick Tandy edged Corvette Racing teammate Jordan Taylor in GT Le Mans (GTLM) qualifying. Tandy, in the No. 4 Corvette C8.R he’ll share with Tommy Milner, turned a fast lap of 1:27.283 (96.926 mph) with just more than a minute left in the GTLM session. It was 0.323 seconds better than Taylor, who will ride with Antonio Garcia in the No. 3 Corvette on Saturday.
The two Corvettes will compete on their home track in a non-points-paying race on Saturday. The opportunity to bring the iconic GT Corvettes back to Detroit for the first time since 2008 arose when the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the Corvettes are slated to race, was postponed from its traditional June date to August.
Tandy said the tactics for qualifying were no different Friday, even though it was a battle only of teammates.
“There was less competition and you only have to worry about the lap time of one other car,” Tandy said, “but we approached it the same way as we would any other race from an engineering and driving point of view. We’re trying to maximize the package and experiment and get experience for the car on this type of circuit.
“The first time I’ve seen this track was this morning so I’m really enjoying it. It’s faster than it looks on TV. Inside the car, it’s a lot of fun. I’ve been impressed and enjoying driving around it.”
Saturday’s race airs live at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and IMSA Radio.

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