Cadillac DPi-V.R Teams to Start One-Two at Long Beach
Cadillac V-Performance racing teams Konica Minolta and Mustang Sampling will start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach first and second, respectively, for tomorrow’s 4 p.m. ET start.
The Konica Minolta Cadillac team is continuing its storied run. Following up on their wins at the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, Ricky Taylor drove the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R prototype to the pole position with a time of 1:13.549. The duo of Ricky and Jordan Taylor led this morning and this afternoon’s practice sessions, and capped the day with a pole run.
“We came here motivated as we won the first two big races,” Ricky Taylor said. “I think this is the most valuable pole of the yea, as track position is so important here. We have won here the last two years. This year is going to be tougher. There are more cars on the track with the addition of the GTD cars. We are looking at two pit stops, the GTD and GTLM cars just one. There has been one yellow the last two years combined. With different pit strategies it can make for a messy race. It is difficult to pass here. I am glad to have the track position to start the race. Last year, I had to make a move on Christian [Fittipaldi] for the lead into Turn 1. Pole is a vulnerable position here. I will have to have a good start. This is our first street race with the Cadillac DPi-V.R. Cadillac has done a great job with car. The confidence it gives you in the seat is just incredible. You feel the bumps here, but it really doesn’t upset the car too much. The first gear we are running is very long, so we have to take care exiting the hair-pin turn. Hats off to the team for giving me a great car.”
Christian Fittipaldi had the wheel of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R for the 15-minute qualifying session. Fittipaldi posted a time of 1:13.753 and will start on the front row in second. Teamed with Joao Barbosa, the team is hungry for an overall win after finishing second at Daytona and Sebring.
“It was a good qualifying run,” Fittipaldi said. “I am happy to start the race tomorrow second. The Mustang Sampling Cadillac, with everything that was mandated for this race, the team finds solutions to lose the minimum amount of performance. We are strong for the race tomorrow, but so is the 10 car. I am happy with the work of the team. I think we went a little backward from practice one this morning. We still need to try adjustments, we could have went quicker. I had a good run, we just weren’t quick enough to beat the 10 car today.”
Eric Curran drove the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R to a fifth place starting position with at time of 1:14.444. Curran will start and then hand it over to Dane Cameron for tomorrow’s 100-minute race on the streets of Long Beach.
“The first practice here is always tough,” Curran said. “When you are the first cars on the track, the streets are dirty and it takes a while to get some rubber down. From where we were this morning to where we are now is better. We have been fighting an unusual brake issue on our Whelen Cadillac. I was skating into Turn 1, so we have to get a handle on that for that race. Cadillacs are one-two and we are fifth. We need to get our brake issue situated, so we can get up front with the other two cars. I love this place. It is a lot of fun coming to Long Beach.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing
WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 qualifies 13th at Long Beach
WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Gunnar Jeannette (Salt Lake City, Utah) will start from the sixth row in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD class for the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach.
MacNeil had the controls of the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for today’s late afternoon 15-minute qualifying session. Early in the session, he was in the top five on the speed charts. And, as the session wore on, he got faster. In fact, he set his fastest lap time of 1:20.363 on the final lap of the session.
“Normally as qualifying goes on, the track, the car, and the tires get hotter and more worn, and you usually go slower,” MacNeil said. “I didn’t have much practice this morning. I’ve had about 20 minutes [of total practice time] before I went qualifying. I’ve been here [at Long Beach] before, but I’m still learning how this car reacts to this track. So, I did the best I could with that learning curve in mind. I just kept pushing it more with each lap – methodically – because I didn’t want to push too hard in one corner, lose the car and crash, and then create unnecessary work for the guys.”
MacNeil likes how the Mercedes-AMG GT3 performed in qualifying despite only having about 20 minutes of practice time today.
“I’m happy with how the Mercedes performed in qualifying today,” MacNeil continued. “It handled really well and drove really smoothly. It did everything I wanted it to do. The Mercedes is adaptable to anything. It’s such a good car. It really does whatever we want it to do.”
“I think qualifying went well,” Jeannette said. “Cooper didn’t get a ton of time in the car in the first practice session. He went more than a second faster [in qualifying] than he did in the last practice session. So, I think he did a really great job. The GTD field is really strong. We’ll see how the race shakes out. Our Mercedes-AMG GT3 is in a really good place. I’m pretty happy with it. So, I think you’ll see us moving forward.”
Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing
Michael Shank Racing Grand Prix at Long Beach Qualifying report
Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian enters Round 3 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Long Beach after two successful outings at Daytona and Sebring with the team’s new two-car Acura NSX GT3 program. The team, which has several starts at the Long Beach track in Prototype competition, took its first GTD laps around the 1.968-mile circuit on Friday – making the most of just two practice sessions ahead of qualifying.
The No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 will start the quick 100-minute race from the fourth row after Legge was tabbed to qualify the Acura machine during the 15-minute session. A fast lap time of 1:20.029-seconds was enough to put her eighth on the grid with the top-10 separated by mere tenths.
The result was all the more remarkable after the car sustained damage in an incident during practice which was held immediately prior to the qualifying session. Lally made slight contact with the wall which was enough to damage a front toe-link. The Michael Shank Racing crew immediately went to work and within 11 minutes had the car ready for qualifying.
“I was pushing the whole way,” said Legge. “Since we lost a bit of practice time, we didn’t really know what to do tire pressure wise so we pumped them up to try to get them to come in because we had been struggling with that. I think we may have gone a little higher than we should have, but we live and learn. It’s a learning process for us. I could have probably put a lap together a little bit better but overall I’m just really proud of the team for hustling to get us back out there in time.”
Meanwhile, Ozz Negri set a best lap time of 1:20.242-seconds to put the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 that he shares with Jeff Segal 12th on the grid as the group continues to dial in the car’s setup.
“We made a change for the qualifying session and I didn’t like it much,” said Negri. “Because of the short time between the practice session and qualifying, we couldn’t do anything to change it. The car wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t do what I needed it to do for what I wanted. The team was telling me to go just two tenths quicker, but I couldn’t get those extra two tenths without putting it in the wall. We’ll regroup and get after it tomorrow.”
Since the debut of the Acura NSX GT3 at Daytona, Michael Shank Racing has made steady progress with the new platform and Team Owner Mike Shank is pleased with the team’s efforts.
“We’re still not where we need to be, but the car is getting better every time we go out and that’s all we can ask,” said Shank. “Andy (Lally) had a little issue there and he hated it, but the boys got it totally back together in time to qualify. Katherine (Legge) did an amazing job considering that we sort of took our thumb to set the toe bars. I’m pleased. We still don’t have the speed that we need – Ozz (Negri) needed a little more there – but I think we’ll be in a decent position in the race tomorrow. We’ll do some strategy. The cars are good – definitely better than Sebring, so we keep moving in the right direction and that’s all we can do.”
Source. Sunday Group
Top-Five Qualifying Effort for Stevenson Motorsports at the Grand Prix of Long Beach
Stevenson Motorsports is set to start from
fifth on the GTD class grid for the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season through the streets of Long Beach. The team was pleased with the top-five qualifying result as the squad makes its inaugural appearance at the southern California circuit.
The 1.968-mile ‘concrete jungle’ is a familiar course to Stevenson Motorsports drivers Andrew Davis and Lawson Aschenbach, both of whom have experience racing at the circuit, although this weekend’s event will mark the first time both drivers make an IMSA start at the track.
Friday’s event schedule left little room for error with only two practice sessions followed immediately by a 15-minute qualifying run. The first practice allowed both drivers to familiarize themselves with the course behind the wheel of a new machine. The dusty circuit left the field wanting for grip, and Aschenbach and Davis initially experienced oversteer but it was solved with some fine tuning by the end of the session.
Practice 2 was immediately followed by qualifying, giving the team little time to make any major changes ahead of the 15-minute qualifying session. Davis opened the second practice and immediately set the quickest time early in the session before turning the car over to Aschenbach who then remained behind the wheel for his first qualifying run of the season. Although lacking straightline speed, Aschenbach used the entirety of the session to lay down his fast time of 1:19.752-seconds on Lap 11, just four-tenths off of the pole time.
“Unfortunately, we just didn’t quite have it today,” said Aschenbach. “The car was pretty good and I am happy with the balance, but we just don’t seem to have the speed the other cars have, especially down the straights. It’s a bit of a struggle for us right now, but it is a long race and we will have a good pit stop. I know Andrew (Davis) will do a great job toward the end of the race and we will have to see what happens.”
Davis, who took a step back from his customary qualifying role, was pleased with Aschenbach’s efforts and looks forward to anchoring the one hour and 40-minute race.
“It’s going to be a very difficult race,” offered Davis. “This GTD field is so competitive and IMSA has done a really good job at putting this platform out there to see the teams and the caliber of drivers that come to race. It does make for a very close race. Lawson (Aschenbach) did a great job in qualifying and we are very close but it is going to be a fight the entire time. It will be difficult but I know we have a team and the car to do it. We will have to work some strategy and a good pit stop and a little bit of luck to get ourselves a good track position. If we can get up front and we can stay there then that will be the key for us tomorrow.”
Source. Sunday Group
Best 911 RSR starts from second grid row
The best Porsche 911 RSR tackles the Grand Prix of Long Beach in California from the second grid row on Saturday. At his first qualifying as a Porsche works driver, Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) posted the fourth quickest time in the GTLM class on the 3.167-kilometre city course. For this prestigious race, which is regarded as America’s equivalent to the Monaco Grand Prix due to the sun, sea and palms, he shares the cockpit of the 510 hp 911 RSR with the starting number 912 with Kévin Estre (France).
Patrick Pilet (France) was not able to take part in the qualifying: After clocking the fastest lap time during the morning session, the 2015 IMSA GT champion crashed into the wall in the second 911 RSR (#911) fielded by the Porsche GT Team shortly before the end of the second practice. The vehicle was so badly damaged that it couldn’t be repaired in time for the qualifying, which took place soon after. For this reason, Pilet and his teammate Dirk Werner (Germany) have to take up the race from the back of the field.
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport: “The qualifying actually ran as expected. The field was extremely close. In fourth, we’re just one-and-a-half tenths of a second off the pole-setting time. It’ll certainly be a gripping race. The fact that Patrick hit the wall and couldn’t qualify our second 911 RSR was, of course, a setback. The repairs will take quite some time, but we’re feeling optimistic and we expect the car to be ready to race tomorrow.”
Laurens Vanthoor (911 RSR #912): “This was my first ever qualifying session with the 911 RSR, and so I’m feeling pretty happy. On such a difficult track, and one which is new for me, there are always places where you lose some time. In light of this, it went very well. I hope that we can improve even more in the race.”
Patrick Pilet (911 RSR #911): “I can’t pinpoint why I hit the wall. Unfortunately this meant we couldn’t take part in the qualifying and have to start from the back. But anything’s possible in Long Beach. We have to put it behind us now and look ahead.”
The race takes off on Saturday at 13.05 hrs local time (22.05 hrs CEST). Outside the USA, the race can be seen live on http://www.imsa.com.
1. Garcia/Magnussen (E/DK), Corvette, 1:16.909 minutes
2. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, + 0.092 seconds
3. Fisichella/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 488, + 0.134
4. Estre/Vanthoor (F/B), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.147
5. Auberlen/Sims (USA/GB), BMW M6, 0.163
6. Gavin/Milner (GB/USA), Corvette, + 0.206
7. Westbrook/Briscoe (GB/USA), Ford GT, + 0.221
8. Edwards/Tomczyk (USA/D), BMW M6, 0.579
1. Sellers/Snow (USA/USA), Lamborghini GT3, 1:19.243 minutes
2. Alon/Haksworth (USA/GB), Lexus GT3, + 0.033 seconds
3. Morad/Christensen (USA/DK), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.132
7. Henzler/Heylen (D/B), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.642
9. Bergmeister/Lindsey (D/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.906
15. Bennett/Braun (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 3.593
CORVETTE RACING AT LONG BEACH: Magnussen Roars to GTLM Pole Position
Corvette Racing will go for a third straight class victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona from the fourth and fifth rows of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class following qualifying Thursday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.
A trio of practice sessions and time trials will give way to a final single practice Friday before the official start of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on Saturday. When it gets under way, Jan Magnussen will start the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R seventh after a lap of 1:44.359. In the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, Oliver Gavin will roll off ninth from the grid following his best lap of 1:44.685.
Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fässler won last year’s Rolex 24 in GTLM in a thrilling race that saw the two Corvettes separated by just 0.034 seconds at the finish. Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller were runners-up a year after the No. 3 Corvette C7.R won the race in 2015.
For reference the two Corvettes qualified seventh and eighth last season, and the gap to the class pole-winner was much closer Thursday.
The Rolex 24 was the site of Corvette Racing’s debut on Jan. 31, 1999. Since that first race, the team has competed in more than 170 events around the globe with 102 victories worldwide – including five wins in 2016 – along with 11 Manufacturer and Team championships in the American Le Mans Series and WeatherTech Championship to go along with eight victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The 55th Rolex 24 At Daytona is the start of the 2017 IMSA season and is set for 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 28. It will air on live on FOX beginning at 2 p.m. ET with coverage also on FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Sports Go. Live audio coverage from IMSA Radio is available on IMSA.com.
JAN MAGNUSSEN, NO. 3 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SEVENTH IN GTLM: “It’s been a little tougher than everyone expected coming back here for the race weekend. I think everyone left the Roar pretty happy with how the Corvette was handling and how we were stacking up against everyone else. But today for sure, we’ve been struggling a little bit. Qualifying I think is a good indication of where we are right now. It will be a tough race ahead of us.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED NINTH IN GTLM: “The session was OK. We were struggling a little bit with the balance. It seems like this weekend has been very different than how the two tests have gone – the Roar earlier this month and the test in December. It is warmer now, and also the wind direction is very different. There is a lot of sand on the track. That has been playing with us a little bit. I know it is the same for everyone. But I just think we are just slightly outside of our window to get the car to operate in a comfortable spot for us. But as we know, in qualifying here it is nice to be in the front, but it certainly is not everything. This is race is long and tough. There are many sort of treacherous points you have to get through. We are mindful of that and just need to be there at the end to race whoever is left. Hopefully our car will come to us. That is the way we are thinking. Temperatures are certainly going to cool down and we might get some rain. This race, like I said, is long and tough with many hurdles that will be thrown in front of us. No, we aren’t exactly where we want to be. But we know there are many things we an do to changes that we can do to change our position. We will be pushing just as hard as we always do to try and get that Corvette win like we did last year.”
Source. Corvette Racing
BMW Team RLL – 2017 Long Beach Qualifying Report
BMW Team RLL scored its best qualifying effort of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship today in preparation for tomorrow’s BUBBA burger® Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Bill Auberlen, driving the No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM, qualified in the fifth starting position with a lap of 1:17.072 minutes around the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit. John Edwards qualified the No. 24 M6 in the seventh spot with a lap of 1:17.290 minutes. Auberlen will co-drive with Alexander Sims and Edwards will co-drive with Martin Tomczyk. Tomorrow will be the first race at Long Beach for both Sims and Tomczyk. The class pole position went to the No. 3 Corvette of Jan Magnussen with a lap of 1:16.909 minutes.
The Long Beach, California street circuit has been the site of many BMW Team RLL successes since the team’s first season racing for BMW in 2009. The team has finished the race with at least one BMW on the podium every year except last season. The Bobby Rahal-led team has won the street race three times; once with the BMW M3 GT in 2011 and twice with the BMW Z4 GTLM, in 2013 and 2015. Last year, Bill Auberlen qualified the new M6 GTLM racer on the class pole position, but finished a disappointing fifth after multiple contact with competitors ended another podium opportunity.
“We are in the hunt now,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Long Beach is a tough place and the race can be unpredictable, but we will work hard to see some results from our new found competitiveness.”
Bill Auberlen, driver No. 25 BMW M6 GTLM: “I had some good laps. There is always room for improvement, but there is not a great deal left. We are seeing progress and that bodes very well for the race.”
John Edwards, driver No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM: “I am disappointed to be closer to the back of the class than the front, but both of our cars are certainly more competitive than they have been. We can improve our speed a bit more, but starting further back does open certain strategy possibilities here at Long Beach.”
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing Teams Practice and Qualify at Grand Prix of Long Beach
Mercedes-AMG Motorsport Customer Racing teams had strong performances in practice and qualifying on Friday at the 43rd Grand Prix of Long Beach. Ben Keating and Boris Said qualified in the top-10 for Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, while Ryan Dalziel was fastest overall in Pirelli World Challenge practice. This weekend’s Grand Prix of Long Beach includes the third race on both the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Pirelli World Challenge schedules.
Entries from AMG-Team Riley Motorsports, WeatherTech Racing and SunEnergy1 Racing are racing in the GT Daytona (GTD) class in Saturday’s 100-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, while CRP Racing, Champ1 and Black Swan Racing will compete in Sunday’s 50-minute Pirelli World Challenge race in the “GT” and “GTA” classes. All competing series at Long Beach run the same 11-turn, 1.968-mile street circuit.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Keating, co-driving this weekend with fourth-year teammate Jeroen Bleekemolen, qualified the championship-leading No. 33 AMG-Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes- AMG GT3 sixth fastest in a competitive GTD field. Keating’s time of 1:19.876 was turned on his final flying lap in the final 90 seconds of the 15-minute qualifying session. He will start the No. 33 car in tomorrow’s race, joining Bleekemolen and Mercedes-AMG Team Riley in looking for a second IMSA race win in a row after winning the 12 Hours of Sebring last month, the first IMSA win for Mercedes-AMG.
Driving the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, Said turned his fastest lap late in the qualifying run, clocking in a time of 1:20.173. This lap time was good for the 10th-place starting spot in Saturday’s race, where Said will co-drive with Tristan Vautier.
The top-12 GTD qualifiers were within a second of the class pole-winner’s lap time, with Keating a scant 6/10ths out of first and Said just 9/10ths off of the top time.
Cooper MacNeil also qualified for tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech race, turning the 13th fastest lap of the session with a time of 1:20.363 in the No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3. MacNeil co-drives with Gunnar Jeannette.
Pirelli World Challenge
Racing the No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for only the third time this season, Dalziel ran at the top end of the Pirelli World Challenge GT field throughout Friday’s one-hour practice session. Dalziel held the top time for most of the session and withstood some late challenges from the competition with his own final flying lap just minutes from the finish. Dalziel improved to a top time of 1:18.994 on his 31st of 32 laps to finish the session in first place.
Pirelli World Challenge GTA class drivers Pablo Perez Companc, in the No. 69 Champ1 Mercedes-AMG GT3, and Tim Pappas, who competes in the No. 54 Black Swan Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, also participated in the one-hour practice. Companc was fifth fastest in GTA with a top lap time of 1:21.229, and Pappas was seventh quickest in the class with a lap time of 1:21.554.
Grand Prix of Long Beach Race Weekend
Saturday’s schedule begins with a final Pirelli World Challenge practice that leads straight into qualifying from 9:20 – 9:45 a.m. PDT.
The 100-minute IMSA WeatherTech Championship race is scheduled to start on Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. PDT.
Sunday’s 50-minute Pirelli World Challenge sprint race is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. PDT.
Ben Keating, Driver – No. 33 AMG-Team Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It was a really good qualifying session. We made some minor setup changes to the car, it was really comfortable to drive, and I was pretty happy with my early pace. Then Bill Riley got on the radio, said I was seventh, everyone else was starting to go faster, and he asked me for 2/10ths of a second more. I only had time left for about one more lap, I took a little more risk in places, came across the line with a 1:19.8 and I was pumped! It was an unbelievably good lap, just kind of the way you want qualifying. The times this afternoon were much faster than they were this morning. With all the different types of cars here, lots of rubber is going down on the track. It made it much faster.”
Boris Said, Driver – No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is awesome around here. It is one the best cars I have ever raced around Long Beach. It was so close, the field is tight, and I wish I could have had 80 lbs. off of me. I am probably 80 lbs. heavier than most of the other guys! That hurts me a little bit but I think we have a great car for the race. The GTD field is so tight, it is going to be a great race, and I can’t wait to get going in the morning.”
Cooper MacNeil, Driver – No. 50 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “I’m happy with how the Mercedes-AMG GT3 performed in qualifying today. It handled really well and drove smoothly. It did everything I wanted it to do. It’s such a good car and is adaptable to anything. I didn’t have much practice this morning, I’ve had about 20 minutes total before I went qualifying, and I’m still learning how this car reacts to this track. So, I did the best I could with that learning curve in mind. I just kept pushing it more with each lap – methodically – because I didn’t want to push too hard in one corner, lose the car and crash, and then create unnecessary work for the guys.”
Ryan Dalziel, Driver – No. 2 CRP Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It was a great first practice. We didn’t have a good race at St. Petersburg but we realized there was great potential in the Mercedes-AMG GT3. Thanks to a lot of communication and help from Mercedes-AMG we definitely turned things around and ended up the session in P1. We are not perfect, we made some good changes throughout the session, but I think we have a little more time in the car. We were consistently near the top throughout practice and hopefully we can stay there all weekend.”