The streets of Long Beach California come alive for this weekend’s BUBBA burger SportsCar Grand Prix at Long Beach as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship begins the first of three consecutive sprint races on the 2018 calendar. Twelve Hours of Sebring race winners and Round 2 champions of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, Tequila Patrón ESM is ready to get back on track for Round 3 of the IMSA Championship.
First held in the late 1970s, the Grand Prix of Long Beach is a team and driver favorite, transforming the streets of downtown Long Beach into a temporary 1.968-mile, 11 turn-race course. Florida-based Tequila Patrón ESM celebrated success here last year, when Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel finished their No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi prototype in second place. Eager to recommence the on track action, Sebring 12 Hour winners Johannes van Overbeek and Pipo Derani will command the No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi.
This weekend, the competitors are trading in permanent road courses and their wide runoffs for the everyday city streets surrounded by concrete. Not only will passing be challenging, but the tight course can often be unforgiving. Only two of the three IMSA Championship classes are competing in the event, with 14 Prototype and eight GT Le Mans entries.
The progress of the Nissan NISMO development program continues to show as Tequila Patrón ESM currently holds two wins in the last three IMSA events. While Sharp, Dalziel, and van Overbeek all have ample experience on the course, this will be Derani’s first time at the Long Beach Grand Prix.
No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi
Long Beach is one of our most aggressive, no holds barred races. Due to its short duration, there is no time to wait. Tequila Patrón ESM is on a great roll after Sebring. With the recent BOP (Balance of Performance) changes from IMSA, the field is wide open this weekend and there could be some real surprises.
Long Beach has always been a great race for me. We came so close last year to winning our first race with the Tequila Patrón ESM NISMO Onroak DPi finishing second. Street courses have not been our strongest venues but since last year, we’ve worked a lot on our suspension and low grip set ups so we believe we have made gains but we won’t know till we get in track Friday. We obviously have huge momentum as a team after winning the Twelve Hours of Sebring, so our team are ready to continue that success.
No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi
Johannes van Overbeek
Long Beach is one of my favorite races of the year. I attended this event has a boy and it’s a dream come true to participate in it now. This year is running a special meaning as it’s also my birthday. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday then to race in Long Beach with Tequila Patrón ESM and Pipo. We’re ready to go.
I’m super excited to come to Long Beach. It will be my first time at what seems like one of the best street circuits in the world. Last year the team looked strong with a second place finish. I hope we can start the weekend with a strong car out of the box and fight for another win!
Source. KBru Communications