Cadillac looking for third win in as many races
Konica Minolta Cadillac and Whelen Engineering Cadillac are one and two in DPi points
Cadillac DPi-V.R gains 10kg (22 lbs.) and lost 4L (1 gallon) of fuel capacity
Long Beach race only 100-minutes long
The 1.968, 11-turn Long Beach temporary street is one of the toughest on the IMSA WeatherTech series schedule. The tight street course and truncated race time will have the teams wearing out their laptops on strategy and the drivers focused on what is around the next blind corner.
Heading west the Konica Minolta Cadillac team of Jordan Taylor and Renger Van Der Zande lead the DPi points championship on the strength of their win at the Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona and their second place run at Sebring. They are followed closely by the Whelen Engineering Cadillac duo of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani with the win at Sebring last month adding to their points total.
The championship points leading Konica Minolta Cadillac team has a rich history at Long Beach. Jordan Taylor and Renger Van Der Zande come into the 100-minute race with pit box choice and momentum.
“Long Beach is always an intense race, and a big change of pace from the first two races of the year,” Taylor said. “Daytona and Sebring are all about survival for the first portion of the race, and then you go racing in the last few hours. Long Beach is an all-out sprint race and street fight from start to finish. There’s no time to hang around and no reason to race cautiously. Our first trip to Long Beach was when we announced our partnership with Konica Minolta and we were able to stand on the podium. Then winning the next three years was obviously great. Two of those years we made moves on track to pass for the win. 2017 was an exciting one where it came down to the last few minutes. Last year we had a tough race, but it was also a fun battle with Ricky over the last spot on the podium. It’s always a nice feeling when you go into a race as the points leader. With track position being so important, having the first pit stall can make or break your race in the pit stop cycles. With how competitive the series is, any little advantage you can get goes a long way.”
The Whelen Engineering Cadillac team of Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani are riding the euphoria of a win at Sebring and looking for some short track success this weekend.
“As any street track, Long Beach always brings another challenge to the game with the walls being so close and zero room for error but despite all that there’s still some good opportunities for passing which makes the race interesting from the beginning to the end,” Derani said. “I think we’ll have a good car to start the weekend with and we’ll work from there on. It’s amazing to have a championship that has races that goes from 24 hours to races under two hours. This definitely changes the weekend’s approach and it brings an extra element to the dynamic of the race.”
The Mustang Sampling team of Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque won the Long Beach race a year ago.
“Last year, I really enjoyed the environment, and I loved the track since my first lap,” Albuquerque said. “It was fantastic to be in an endurance car between walls. It reminded me of times sprint racing in DTM and formula cars. I didn’t really know what to expect before Long Beach, but since I won, I love the sprint races even more! My approach to learning the track worked well, and I will keep fine-tuning that even more this year.”
In the JDC-Miler Motorsports No. 84 Cadillac DPi-V.R Stephen Simpson and Simon Trummer are ready to get on with the two driver format part of the season in their yellow Cadillac.
“I won at Long Beach back in 2016 when we raced in the PC class,” Simpson said. “It was Misha and my second win together and also our second with racing in the WeatherTech Championship for JDC-Miller Motorsports. Long Beach is always a good race, one of the reasons is because it is the first race of the year with the two full time drivers for each car. I am looking forward to Simon and I to getting down to business. With it being a short race and a street race, there are typically some different strategies that will get played out, which is interesting, hopefully we are on the good end of those!”
Tristan Vautier and Misha Goikhberg in the No. 85 Cadillac DPi-V.R JDC-Miler entry are looking forward to the tight confines of the streets of Long Beach.
“I have raced at Long Beach in IndyCar, in a GT3 car as well as in a prototype,” Vautier said. “It is a very challenging race, there is no time to rest. The track is tight and if you don’t qualify well you will have to take chances to pass. We need to keep the car together and hope things fall our way for a result.”
Will Owen will be partnered by Kyle Kaiser in the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R. Owen and Kaiser have experience around the tight Long Beach track and are looking for a strong result come Saturday.
“Long Beach is one of the coolest street courses around,” Owen said. “I am fortunate to have run in the IMSA event here in 2017; it was my first sportscar race and I was totally over my head. The two years of experience I have now will help me attack this course head on and go for a good result. Everyone at Juncos Racing has been pushing hard after Sebring to make the No. 50 Cadillac DPi-V.R the best it can be. I can’t wait to get out there!”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing