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Austin McCusker Claims Van der Steur Racing’s First Pilot Challenge Overall Pole

Austin McCusker during practice for the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120, 5/12/2023 (Photo: Courtesy of IMSA)

Van der Steur Racing’s Austin McCusker won the pole Saturday (May 13) for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120. It is the first overall pole in Pilot Challenge for both McCusker and Van der Steur Racing.

McCusker won the pole by .063 seconds over Rennsport One’s Eric Filguerias. Murillo Racing’s Kenny Murillo will start third, then Turner Motorsport’s Cameron Lawrence. CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing’s Sean McAlister will start fifth.

McCumbee-McAleer Racing’s Jenson Altzman qualified sixth in his Ford Mustang GT4, then KohR Motorsports’ Bob Michaelian. Alfredo Najri was eighth in his Supra, then TeamTGM’s Hugh Plumb. Winward Racing’s Bryce Ward will start 10th.

In the TCR class, Laguna Seca marks the North American debut for the new FL5 generation of the Honda Civic Type-R TCR, being fielded here by LA Honda World Racing. Victor Gonzalez Racing Team has one as well, but chose not to debut it this weekend.

In qualifying, the new car showed that it will be formidable. Mat Pombo won the TCR pole in his car’s first race with a lap at 87.782 mph, good enough for 11th overall.

Pombo won the pole by .072 seconds over Bryan Herta Autosport’s Mason Filippi. Van der Steur Racing’s Bryan Ortiz will start third in his Hyundai, followed by Harry Gottsacker in the second BHA entry. JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Chris Miller starts fifth in class.

The WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 is scheduled to go green at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday evening. Coverage will be streamed live on Peacock starting at 7:25 p.m. ET.

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