Mustang Sampling Racing will look to make the most out of the penultimate round of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as the team looks forward to Sunday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix featuring America’s Tire 250 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
With two wins thus far in the season, the team enters the race weekend holding second in the Prototype point standings. Filipe Albuquerque (PRT) has scored 221 points in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R co-driven by Joao Barbosa (PRT), just seven points adrift of the championship lead.
While it will be the first visit to WeatherTech Raceway for Albuquerque, he already has learned a wealth of information about the famed 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit located on the scenic Monterey Peninsula by reviewing race footage, working with the team, and utilizing simulator time to be ready to go this weekend. The process is one that is now familiar for Albuquerque as he makes another first visit to a track in his first full season of IMSA competition.
“Laguna is one of those tracks that everyone knows, either from racing there or from the simulator because it’s so famous,” Albuquerque said. “I heard it’s a bit slippery, but it has an amazing layout.”
Teammate Barbosa has plenty of racing experience at the circuit. He joined Christian Fittipaldi in finishing fourth at WeatherTech Raceway in 2014 and 2015, and placed fifth last year after the duo started from the front row in the Cadillac DPi-V.R.
“It is a beautiful race track, with one of the most iconic corners in the country with the corkscrew,” said Barbosa. “We’ve not had the best of racing luck there, so it is one of those tracks that we know we have to keep working on to be strong there. We are heading in the right direction with the Cadillac Prototype and have learned so much with the car since we were there last, so hopefully we can keep that progress going this weekend.”
The Mustang Sampling team is coming off a seventh-place finish in the most recent Prototype event at Road America in August and will look to return to the front at the fabled Monterey circuit on Sunday.
“We were very competitive in the last event – we were running in second for a long part of the race,” Albuquerque said. “Unfortunately, the last 20 minutes didn’t go the way that we had hoped. IMSA competition is so close that we lost several positions and some points at the end, but I am optimistic about the coming race.”
Albuquerque will arrive at the track buoyed by the birth of his second daughter over the weekend as the arrival was well timed ahead of his heading to California for the Laguna Seca race weekend.
Practice will open the weekend on Friday, with Saturday’s 15-minute qualifying session setting the grid for Sunday’s 2 hour, 40-minute race.
Source. Sunday Group