Oliver Jarvis made good on his promising pace from January's blistering Roar Before the 24 run by setting the official Daytona road course lap record in Thursday's qualifying for this weekend's Rolex 24.
Driving the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P DPi, Jarvis completed the 3.56-mile lap in just 1:33.685. This topples the previous benchmark set by P.J. Jones (1:33.875) in the All-American Racers Toyota Mk. III Eagle GTP car, a record that stood for 26 years. While doing so, Jarvis also gave Mazda its first overall pole position at Daytona as a manufacturer—40 years after its first class win at the South Florida track.
“The most important thing for us was to get the pole," Jarvis explained at the end of the session. "Since the Roar, I’ve gotten a better understanding of what it means to have the course record. For that record to stand for 26 years is incredible, and I wasn’t sure that we could beat it today because of the rain that we had this morning. I think for us and for Mazda Team Joest, it’s the icing on the cake because we worked so hard. There’s been no off-season, and this is the result of all the hard work that’s gone in back at the workshop. For me, it’s very special to achieve my first pole with Mazda, but also to beat such a longstanding, impressive record is something special."
Mazda Team Joest will be accompanied on the front row by the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi driven by Helio Castroneves, Alexander Rossi, and Ricky Taylor. The pair of Acura Team Penske entries qualified back to back with the No. 7 machine managing third, again being joined by another Mazda, the No. 55.
The day-long endurance race starts on Saturday at 2 p.m. EST with more practice sessions to come beforehand on Friday.