Michael Shank Racing will kick off its new era by starting the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona from the pole position, following a quick lap by Ozz Negri in qualifying for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season-opener.
The Brazilian recorded a best lap of 1:39.194 in his No. 60 Ligier JS P2 Honda in the 15-minute prototype qualifying session, edging out the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford of Scott Dixon by 0.108 seconds.
It marked the first pole for a P2 car at Daytona and also in the team’s debut outing with the Onroak Automotive-built prototype, following more than a decade of running DP machinery in GRAND-AM competition.
Negri will share the P2 entry with John Pew, AJ Allmendinger and Matt McMurry this weekend.
Dixon, who reeled off a 1:39.302 in his DP car, was second, followed by the sister Ganassi entry, qualified by Scott Pruett in third.
Defending Rolex 24 winner and Prototype class champion Joao Barbosa was fourth in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, while the No. 0 DeltaWing DWC13 of Andy Meyrick completed the top-five.
Olivier Pla made it two Ligiers in the top-six, pedaling the No. 57 Krohn Racing entry to a 1:39.683 lap time, followed by Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP.
The top-seven qualifiers all broke the 1:40 barrier and were separated by less than seven tenths of a second.
In Prototype Challenge, Johnny Mowlem claimed top qualifying honors in his return to full-time sports car racing in North America.
The Englishman reeled off a quick lap of 1:42.318 in the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09, bumping the No. 54 CORE autosport entry of Colin Braun to second in the closing moments of the session.
It marked the first pole for the Brian Alder-led team in TUDOR Championship competition. Mowlem will share driving duties this weekend with Alder, Tom Papadopoulos, Tomy Drissi and Martin Plowman.
Mowlem edged out defending class winner and champion Braun by 0.180 seconds, with the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry of Tom Kimber-Smith clocking the third quickest time.
Renger van der Zande took his Martini-liveried Starworks Motorsport entry to fourth, while Plowman – listed to drive in both cars – who made it two BAR1 entries in the top-five.
The 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona gets underway Saturday at 2:10 p.m. ET, with live coverage on FOX. Flag-to-flag coverage will also be available on IMSA Radio.