By now, everyone should know that Mazda Team Joest has what it takes to outright slay the Daytona roval. Driver Oliver Jarvis proved himself once more on Thursday, earning pole for this weekend's Rolex 24 in his No. 77 Mazda DPi with a 1:33.711 lap around the track. A promising Roar Before the 24 in January previewed the outfit's blistering pace, and the crew was able to make good by besting the field of Cadillacs and Acuras before the upcoming season-opener.
Jarvis' time fell just one-tenth short of beating his record lap from 2019, which toppled a benchmark that stood previously for 26 years.
"What a car they gave me,” Jarvis exclaimed. “This year feels different, it feels business-like—last year there was so much emotion. This feels like a job, and we’ve done it. The track all day hasn’t been perfect. We have new Michelins that are quicker, so the lap record was definitely under threat, but it doesn’t matter—I still have the record."
“We’re really optimistic ahead of the race.”
Mazda will be joined on the front row by Acura Team Penske's No. 6 DPi, which was driven to second place by Juan Pablo Montoya. The Colombian set a best time of 1:34.154—nearly half a second behind Jarvis.
It was Montoya's teammate, though, who had the largest impact on Thursday's qualifying session. Ricky Taylor was driving the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi near the track's Bus Stop section when he binned it into the wall, throwing a red flag with only two minutes left. This put a stop to any additional runs and ensured Jarvis walked away with pole position.
Of course, 24 hours is more than long enough for this order to change time and again. Racing at the Rolex 24 starts on Saturday, Jan. 25 around 1:40 p.m. Television coverage begins on NBC with every hour streaming on the channel's website.