Cadillac V-Performance racing teams Konica Minolta, Whelen Engineering and Mustang Sampling are heading to California for round three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Bubba Burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach to run April 8.
Coming off of their second win in as many races the Konica Minolta Cadillac team is heading to Long Beach looking for a third win in the series and to defend their win at the 1.9-mile, 11-turn circuit that surrounds the Long Beach Aquarium. Jordan and Ricky Taylor are carrying the momentum from their wins at the Rolex 24 and the Sebring 12 hours. Having won the two longest races on the schedule they are coming to the shortest, just 100-minutes long. In pursuit will be Dane Cameron and Eric Curran in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R and Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R.
The Cadillac DPi-V.R has received yet another balance of performance (BOP) adjustment by the IMSA officials. The fuel cell capacity has been reduced since Sebring (from 68 liters to 66) and IMSA has mandated a gear set.
Ricky and Jordan Taylor are looking to extend their dream start to the season with another win at Long Beach.
“We couldn’t ask for a better start to the year, Ricky Jordan said. “We have great momentum and have proven the strength of the new Cadillac Dpi-V.R right out of the box as a dominant competitor in the class. Combined with having a beautifully designed racecar, the team itself has been performing incredibly well, without missing a beat over the entire first 36 hours of racing. Long Beach will be a different challenge for us with the new car as this track it’s the first street course. I think the track type will still suit our car as the Cadillac makes great mechanical grip, which you really need around a street course like Long Beach where the track grip is often very low. The performance of our 6.2 liter V8 will also help us to accelerate well out of all of the very slow corners, especially the famous hairpin leading onto the front straight.
“It does not matter how much BOP we have leading into the race, our team will still perform at their best and execution will still be rewarded. So far this season, the other teams have not been able to execute nearly as well as the Cadillac teams and that has been the main explanation for the results so far in addition to Cadillac’s immense preparation for the challenges of endurance sports car racing.”
“We go from our two longest races of the year to our shortest race of the season,” Taylor continued. “A lot more emphasis will be placed on qualifying and track position. We will have to be much more aggressive to maintain position on track because it is such a short race and so hard to overtake while also not making any mistakes because street courses are so unforgiving.”
The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac team of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa are coming off of two straight second place finishes and is ready to take the top step at Long Beach.
“We are preparing the same for the 100 minute Long Beach race as we did for Daytona and Sebring,” Fittipaldi said. “We have what we have from a BOP standpoint. We could write a book about the adjustments we have to make. There is a long championship ahead of us, so crying about won’t change anything. If you have a mechanical problem at Daytona or Sebring you can fix it and get a good points result. If you have an issue at Long Beach the chances for a good finish are very small. There will also be 35 cars on the track this weekend. So there will probably be some more yellows. There were some years that we ran when we didn’t have a single caution. We will have to qualify well and start at the front and have some luck to be in a position to take advantage of strategy. Hopefully we will give Cadillac another great result this weekend.”
The No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac team of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran is looking for a strong weekend on the beach. Some small issues at Daytona and spin at Sebring set the team back.
“In the last few years, qualifying in Long Beach has been super important as there really hasn’t been much passing and the races have typically gone close to fully green from flag to flag,” Cameron said. “I expect this year to be a very different race with the addition of the GTD class, much more traffic and cars in general will likely shake things up. The entire weekend is very compact in Long Beach. You really don’t get much track time, so it is essential to hit the ground running and come out of the gate with a good balance as you won’t have much time to correct it if you get it wrong. We are trying to use all the information from the past as well as everything we’ve learned this year to be as prepared as possible for our first street course race in our new Cadillac DPI V.R. All three Cadillacs have been very strong all year thanks to the early preparations of our partners. For our No. 31 Whelen Cadillac to come out on top we need be perfect all race long, we have shown great pace, but have had some troubles in the first two rounds so Long Beach seems like the right time to turn it around and get our first win of the season.”
Long Beach holds a special place in Cameron’s heart.
“I raced there for the first time in 2008 in Formula Atlantic,” he continued. “In 2014 I ran in GTLM with Risi Competizione, my only start in GTLM. In 2015 and 2016 in Prototype with Action Express Racing our best result was third. Also, I was born in nearby Newport Beach so it’s always been a bit of a home race for me. It was really special to me to have my first Formula Atlantic start there, that series is so special to my family with the Lynx Racing program it was really cool to have raced here in that category.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing