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IMSA LAGUNA SECA QUALIFYING ROUND UP

BMW Team RLL Qualifies First and Third at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

BMW Team RLL looks poised to continue its success at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca with a strong 1-3 qualifying effort this afternoon in preparation for tomorrow’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race. Setting a new GTLM class qualifying record of 1:21.557 minutes around the iconic 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit, Jesse Krohn put the all-black liveried No. 24 BMW M8 GTE on the pole position. It was the Finnish ace’s second career IMSA pole (CTMP – 2019) and the 28th for the BMW Team RLL program since its inception in 2009. Krohn shares the No. 24 machine with John Edwards. Tom Blomqvist, qualifying for his first race at Laguna Seca, drove the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE to the third starting position with a 1:21.891 minute lap, only .334 seconds in arrears of his teammate. Blomqvist co-drives with Connor De Phillippi, last year’s GTLM class winner with Alexander Sims.

With today’s result, the winners here in 2015, 2017 and 2018 made sure the rest of the GTLM class knows that tomorrow’s victory will have to first go through BMW and more than likely, just like the previous three wins, a black BMW.

BMW Team RLL drivers currently stand sixth (De Phillippi), seventh (Edwards, Krohn) and ninth (Blomqvist) in GTLM driver points standings.

“The pole was a pleasant surprise,” said Bobby Rahal, Team Principal. “Jesse drove one heck of a lap, but tomorrow is what counts. We have all worked extremely hard this season and I am very proud of our effort here so far.”

Jesse Krohn, driver No. 24 BMW M8 GTE (P1): “Today we had a plan and executed it – one good lap and box. We had the fuel for an extra lap if necessary, but the team had transformed the M8 GTE from the final practice session this morning so one lap was all that was needed.”

Tom Blomqvist, driver No. 25 BMW M8 GTE (P3): “Despite making two mistakes on two consecutive laps, I held on for the third spot. I think I had a car that could have shared the front row with Jesse, but I had gone past the car’s optimum performance.”

Source. BMW

CORVETTE RACING AT LAGUNA SECA: ANOTHER TIGHT QUALIFYING BATTLE IN GTLM

Corvette Racing will look to race its way through the field Sunday following qualifying for the Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Jan Magnussen and Oliver Gavin were sixth and seventh Saturday in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) category of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. It was another classic example of the closeness of GTLM with eight cars within 0.738 seconds.

Magnussen, teaming with Antonio Garcia, will start in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R after a best lap of 1:22.026 (98.22 mph) in the 15-minute session. He was only 0.135 seconds ahead of Gavin in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Corvette C7.R that he shares with Tommy Milner.

Gavin and Magnussen got the most work in Saturday morning’s final practice and set the fastest lap for their respective cars in the session.

The qualifying position could prove important in the GTLM Drivers and Team title races. Magnussen and Antonio Garcia stand third in points in their push for a third straight championship, and victory Sunday would keep hope alive heading into next month’s finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for the 10-hour Petit Le Mans.

Gavin was the GTLM pole winner a year ago, and he and Magnussen both have four career IMSA victories at Laguna Seca. All four Corvette Racing drivers have won races at the circuit.

Of note, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is one of three tracks where Corvette Racing has competed in each season of its existence since 1999 – Sebring and Road Atlanta are the others. In 20 races in Monterey, Corvette Racing has accumulated nearly 12,000 racing miles and more than 5,300 racing laps.

“Another close qualifying session. That’s how it continues to be in GTLM. When things are this close, every little thing makes a difference. We found a few things from the practices that didn’t quite work out in qualifying. But I think we have a pretty good Corvette for the race. We have decent pace but it’s hard to predict how things will go. So sixth isn’t the best position for the start but it’s tight. We can try things on strategy so we’ll see what happens. It should be an interesting race tomorrow.”

OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 MOBIL 1/SiriusXM CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED SEVENTH: “It was a challenging session for us, which it always is here. We’d been working steadily on the car and felt like we were making good process. We were trying to fix one particular issue across the center of the with steady gains. It didn’t all come together in that qualifying and everyone else took some pretty big steps forward. That’s always how our class seems to go. You try to look and see where people are, and they had a little more to give than we did. A lot can happen in the race. There will be a large amount of tire degradation. This place can be pretty mysterious with how it gives you grip or takes it away. It’s frustrating but we’ll keep digging for the race and work the strategy to deliver the best possible result for Corvette Racing.”

MAZDA FOURTH ON GRID IN MONTEREY

Mazda Team Joest will start tomorrow’s Monterey SportsCar Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in fourth and sixth position.

Tristan Nunez was given the qualifying duties in the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P and set a time good for fourth in the Daytona Prototype international field. His teammate, Oliver Jarvis, was quickest in the first practice of the weekend and third-quickest in the second.

Jonathan Bomarito, who grew up in nearby Salinas, qualified sixth in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P. Bomarito and teammate Harry Tincknell were the race winners at the previous IMSA race at Road America, the third in a string of three straight victories for Mazda Team Joest.

QUOTES
John Doonan
Director, Mazda Motorsports
“As always, our objective throughout practice is to refine the Mazda RT24-Ps to the point that we have a car that will be fast over a stint and easy on its tires. We know that WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca presents a big challenge for the drivers and engineers to find a balance between outright speed and speed over a stint, and while we are pleased with qualifying we believe both cars will be very strong in tomorrow’s race. Every driver, engineer and crew member has one goal in mind and that’s to continue the success that Mazda has enjoyed this year.”

No. 55 Mazda RT24-P
Jonathan Bomarito
“It was a really tight qualifying session, and track position here at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca is pretty important but what’s really important is that we have a good car for the race. We are really happy with where we ended up with the setup for our Mazda RT24-P, and we can race forward from sixth place. Harry and I are a really motivated to keep this streak going for Mazda.”

No. 77 Mazda RT24-P
Tristan Nunez
“Overall, it was a strong qualifying session for us. I think fourth place was the most that we could expect in qualifying, so we are happy that we got the most out of the package that we could today. The most important thing for us is having a car that is good for the race and we are confident in our car – we made big improvements in each session so I think Olly and I are in a really good spot for tomorrow’s race and to push for our second win of the season.”

Source. Mazda

Best Porsche 911 RSR starts from fourth grid spot in California

The Porsche GT Team has secured a strong starting position in the qualifying session for the penultimate round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In the hunt for top times at Laguna Seca (USA), Laurens Vanthoor clocked the fourth fastest time at the wheel of the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR. The Belgian currently leads the drivers’ classification with his works driver teammate Earl Bamber (New Zealand). Nick Tandy was plagued by bad luck in the qualifying. The British racer spun in the famous Corkscrew corner, which prevented him from achieving a better result than eighth place.

Tandy, who won last year’s race at the Virginia International Raceway with Patrick Pilet (France), wanted to attack in his second lap. While turning into the right-hander at the crest of the Corkscrew, he lost the rear of the No. 911 ca. 510 hp Porsche 911 RSR. Tandy avoided hitting the barriers, but after the spin, the tyres no longer offered sufficient grip to post fast lap times. Vanthoor gradually got his tyres up to temperature and made his best attempt only in the sixth lap. Putting in a flawless drive in the 911 RSR, which is based on the high-performance Porsche 911 GT3 RS*, the Belgian claimed the fourth grid spot.

The GTD class qualifying was red-flagged after an accident involving Patrick Lindsey in the No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 R. The American, who shares the vehicle fielded by Park Place Motorsports with works driver Patrick Long, was uninjured in the accident. Due to the severity of the damage, the team will not be able to contest the race. Zacharie Robichon (Canada) posted the third quickest lap time in the identical ca. 500 hp GT3 vehicle. Pilet, as the current leader of the IMSA Sprint Cup, shares the cockpit of the No. 9 car run by Pfaff Motorsports with his compatriot Scott Hargrove.

Qualifying quotes
Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “At first glance, the result doesn’t look particularly good, but we’re actually okay with it. Our number 912 Porsche got the most out of it. The championship-leading car will head into the race in front of the Corvette and Ford, and that’s enormously important on a racetrack where overtaking is very difficult. We’ll go all-out right from the start because we should be strong over the distance.”

Steffen Höllwarth (Head of Operations IMSA Championship): “It’s not the best result, but it’s one we can easily live with. Laurens managed to position himself ahead of his toughest rivals in the championship. Unfortunately, Nick was unlucky in the sister car. Everyone is driving at the limit, and at some point all the cars veered off the track. Nick’s vehicle spun unfortunately. As a result, it wasn’t possible to do better. Still, anything can happen in the race. The durability of the tyres will be the deciding factor. By now, we’ve always managed this discipline well.”

Nick Tandy (Porsche 911 RSR #911): “I attacked in my second flying lap and unfortunately I went too far over the kerbs at the Corkscrew exit. I couldn’t prevent the spin. Afterwards I did my very best in renewed attempt but the tyres couldn’t manage another fast lap. Our grid position is obviously anything but ideal.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #912): “We never had the best speed during the individual laps of the session. Our strength, however, is our consistency in the race. With this in mind, fourth place in qualifying is a pretty decent result. We line up on the grid in front of our main rivals in the championship, so we should be pretty pleased about that.”

Qualifying result
GTLM class
1. Krohn/Edwards (FIN/USA), BMW M8 GTE, 1:21.557 minutes
2. Hand/Müller (USA/D), Ford GT, + 0.127 seconds
3. De Philippi/Blomqvist (USA/GB), BMW M8 GTE, + 0.334 seconds
4. Pilet/Tandy (F/GB), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.385 seconds
8. Bamber/Vanthoor (NZ/B), Porsche 911 RSR, + 0.738 seconds

GTD class
1. Sellers/Lewis (USA/USA), Lamborghini Huracan GT3, 1:24.962 minutes
2. Hindman/Farnbacher (USA/D), Acura NSX GT3, + 0.101 seconds
3. MacNeil/Vilander (USA/FIN), Ferrari 488 GT3, + 0.156 seconds
4. Robichon/Hargrove (CDN/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 0.203 seconds
12. Long/Lindsey (USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R, no lap time

Source. Porsche

Acura Team Penske Laguna Qualifying Report

The qualifying session for the Monterey SportsCar Championship presented by McLaren should be viewed as the epitome of team work by Acura Team Penske. While the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 was at the top of the speed charts in each practice session, the No 7 Acura seemed to lack speed to their teammates during Friday’s sessions. A key benefit of a two-car team is the ability to start the weekend with diametrically different setups to see which direction is better before deciding on a final setup for the race. That is exactly what happened in qualifying as Ricky Taylor blistered WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for a new IMSA track record – after finishing with the fastest lap in final practice – using notes borrowed from the setup of the No. 6, which will start the race from the second position with Juan Pablo Montoya giving Acura Team Penske another front row lockout. Sunday’s race will be the 200th sports car start for Team Penske and both teams will look to give Team Penske their first win at Laguna Seca since winning the LMP2 class in 2007

Source. Acura Team Penske

Front Row Start for Meyer Shank Racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

Trent Hindman locked in his fourth front row start of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with the No. 86 AutoNation Acura NSX GT3 on Saturday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

The championship-leading squad made big improvements in the practice sessions ahead of qualifying on Saturday. Mario Farnbacher and Hindman improved a full 1.5-seconds from the first practice session on Friday to the third session on Saturday morning, landing fourth in the order before qualifying.

The 15-minute qualifying run was cut into two segments after a red flag halted the session just six minutes in. In full attack mode early in the session to make the most of the tire performance, Hindman sat atop the times with a quick lap of 1:25.063-seconds when the red flag halted the session. But having not reached the official guaranteed time limit of ten minutes, the field was then awarded four minutes to fight for pole position.

The team made the decision to send Hindman back out on track for one last run. Hindman’s fast time of 1:25.063-seconds held the pole until the final lap of the session with a competitor taking a last lap flyer to claim pole as the No. 86 AutoNation Acura NSX GT3 will to start second for the Monterey SportsCar Championship on Sunday.

“Qualifying today was kind of like a mirror image of the 86 car from last year, minus the pole,” said Hindman. “We are totally happy where we’re at. Yesterday was a struggle, but we made good improvements forward for today, another good step in the right direction. Now we change the mindset from a one-lap speed to saving the tires, that’s the most important thing for the race tomorrow. It’s nice to have the AutoNation Meyer Shank Racing NSX back on the front row.”

Source. Sunday Group

WeatherTech Racing to Start Third at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Toni Vilander (Kankaanpää, Finland) will start tomorrow’s running of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Monterey SportsCar Championship Powered by McLaren at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca from third in GTD.

MacNeil had the controls of the No. 63 WeatherTech Racing Ferrari for the 15-minute qualifying session. The session was red flagged with four-minutes remaining due to a crash on track. MacNeil pitted the Ferrari and the team chose to stand on his time, at which he was second. With just a few minutes remaining the IMSA Officials restarted the session. One competitor was able to get ahead of the Scuderia Corsa prepared Ferrari moving MacNeil to third. The second row starting spot is the team’s best on the year.

“Best qualifying effort for the team this year,” MacNeil said. “I am glad that I was the one to be able to get that for the team. The Scuderia Corsa guys have been working so hard, I rewarded them with a trip to tech. We are starting from a podium position in third. We have a lot of good potential for tomorrow. We decided to save the tires for the race, which is why we didn’t go back out in the final minutes. I agree with the engineers decision to save the rubber. It is going to be a hot one. The track temp will be high, but the Michelin tires have been holding up for us. I am going to try and keep the car upfront, out of trouble and turn it over to Toni in a good position so he can go for the win.”

Source. Kyle Chura/WeatherTech Racing

Konica Minolta Cadillac to Start Third at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R driven by Jordan Taylor will start the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca from the third tomorrow.

IMSA WeatherTech DPi WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Qualifying Results:
1. No. 7 Acura DPi 1:15.035
3. No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R, 1:15.488
5. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R, 1:15.610
7. No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R, 1:15.757
8. No. 85 JDC-Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R, 1:16.176
9. No. 84 JDC-Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R, 1:16.348

Jordan Taylor posted a time of 1:15.488 that will have he and Renger Van Der Zande starting from the second row for tomorrow’s running of the Monterey SportsCar Championship Powered by McLaren. Taylor, last year’s pole sitter, had to give way to his brother Ricky for the top spot on the grid this year. The Wayne Taylor led Cadillac team is poised for a strong finish tomorrow.

“I think it was a good session,” Jordan Taylor said. “Top Cadillac. P3. Good place to start. I do not think the fastest car will necessarily win this race. I think we qualified with a quick car, but I think we have an overall strong race car. In the long run I think our Cadillac is going to be very strong tomorrow. It would have been nice to be on the front row, but I think we will have a good view going into Turn 1 with a lot of guys behind us and hopefully we can keep it clean the first couple laps and run our race.”

Felipe Nasr had the wheel of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R for the 15-minute qualifying session. He and teammate Pipo Derani are second in IMSA Championship DPi points. Nasr put in a lap of 1:15.610 that will have him starting from the third row in fifth.

“We made a few changes, and the Cadillac felt better than it had during the last practice session,” Nasr said. “We went in the right direction and I qualified fifth. Not fantastic, but still not too bad.
I feel the race itself is going to be the big point here. There’s a lot of tire degradation that I can see across most of the competition, and I feel we work pretty well over the race stuff. I think starting fifth will give us a good position to fight, and we can go from there.”

The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R was driven in qualifying by Filipe Albuquerque, who will make his first start at the storied west coast circuit tomorrow. He drove a lap of 1:15.757 that have him starting from seventh. He will hand off to teammate Joao Barbosa for the finish.

“I was expecting more in qualifying,” Albuquerque said. “Not a pole position, for sure, but better than P7. I did everything I could. I can’t understand what was going on. Starting seventh is not the place to be to achieve our goal, but everyone is so close. We just need to analyze what is going on for the race. Last year was not a great one, starting in the back. We’re starting in the back again this year. We need to be aware of problems, for sure. Everyone will be aggressive in the beginning. But one thing that makes us stronger than the other guys is we are not fighting for anything in the championship. We will go flat-out, while the other guys need to protect their championship points. Normally, that never attracts trouble, so let’s hope it’s like that!”

Misha Goikhberg in the yellow No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsport Cadillac DPi-V.R drove to a 1:16.176 qualifying time that will have him starting from the fourth row for the two-hour and-forty-minute race. He is teamed with Tristan Vautier.

“It was a pretty qualifying session,” Goikhberg said. “We had a good car off the truck and we worked on it in practice. I felt comfortable pushing hard in qualifying and get some lap time out of it. The JDC-Miller Cadillac was easy to drive. I think we will have more for them tomorrow.”

The No. 84 JDC-Miller Cadillac DPi-V.R had Simon Trummer taking the qualifying duties will start ninth based upon a fast lap of 1:16.348. Trummer will hand off to Stephen Simpson tomorrow afternoon.

“It was a disappointing session,” Trummer said. “We have really struggled the last two days. We have a lot of oversteer in the car. It is difficult to drive right now. We need to work on it and see what we have for the warm-up and the race.”

Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing

Paul Miller Racing’s Corey Lewis scores pole at Laguna Seca

Paul Miller Racing has scored its first pole position of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season with Corey Lewis setting the fastest time in the GTD class in the penultimate round of the championship.

Lewis stopped the clocks at 1 minute, 24.962 seconds at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca – clinching the top spot by .101 of a second.

The 27-year-old Pennsylvania racer will now lead the field to the green flag aboard the 1st Phorm / Total Lubricants-sponsored Lamborghini in tomorrow’s two-hour, 40-minute race.

Lewis and teammate Bryan Sellers impressed in all three practice sessions so far this weekend – leading the times in both of yesterday’s practice sessions and finishing second-fastest in this morning’s final practice.

The Paul Miller Racing driver set the pole position on the final lap after the 15-minute session was red-flagged for a single-car crash at the bottom of the famous Laguna Seca corkscrew. Once the session was restarted, there were four minutes on the clock but that’s all Lewis needed to put the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO on the pole.

“Corey, Bryan and the entire team have done an awesome job so far this weekend and we’re thrilled to be starting on pole tomorrow,” Paul Miller Racing founder, Paul Miller said.

“But, the real job starts now. We’re chasing a race win here at Laguna Seca and the entire team will be doing their utmost to make that happen tomorrow.

“It looks like we have a really strong package but the race win is what we came here for so we’ll be going all out to make that happen on Sunday.”

Corey Lewis

“I’m beyond ecstatic for the first pole position for myself and for the team for the season.
“Bryan and I have been working great all weekend long, the team has given us exactly what we’ve needed both on and off the racetrack.
“We’ve got one more box to check off tomorrow, in the main race where we’d love to end up on the top step, but I thinktomorrowmay be a bit of a challenge because of the heat and making sure we keep the rear tires underneath us.
“I think everyone will be struggling with the same thing but I’m extremely happy with how today went and we’ll focus on tomorrow, tomorrow.”

Source. Paul Miller Racing

Performance Tech Earns LMP2 Pole at Laguna Seca

Performance Tech Motorsports takes home its third pole of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Kyle Masson scored his second, Performance Tech Motorsports’ third, Motul Pole Award in the LMP2 Class for tomorrow’s Monterey SportsCar Championship Powered by McLaren. Masson turned a lap time of 1:16.817 to get the job done. His previous pole came at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course earlier this season. James French earned the team’s second pole award at his home track of Road America.

Masson and co-driver Cameron Cassels will battle it out tomorrow to take over the championship lead in the LMP2 Class. A win will give the team the upper hand as it returns to MICHELIN Raceway Road Atlanta for the season finale.

“The track with the downforce and speed it produces, it’s just an all-around technical track,” Masson said. “We came into the weekend with a good car, and we capitalized with track time and made the car even quicker. Heading into the race, I think tire degradation is the most difficult thing that everyone’s going to have to manage. Having a big cushion in terms of pace will be a big benefit for us because I’ll be able to have the pace without pushing over the limit of the tires. I’ll be able to save my tire wear longer into the stint than our competitors will. So, with that in mind, I’m confident heading into the race that we will be better off with tire wear than most others, and I’m not worried about it at all.”

Source. Performance Tech Motorsports

Nasr fifth-fastest for Whelen Engineering in Laguna Seca qualifying

Felipe Nasr earned a third-row starting position for Whelen Engineering Racing in Saturday’s qualifying for the Monterey SportsCar Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Looking to gain ground towards a second-consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi title, Nasr qualified fifth fastest with a lap of 1:15.610-seconds in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R that will be co-driven by Pipo Derani.

The team enters Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race second in the DPi standings, trailing the leaders by only seven points with two races remaining in the season.

“We made a few changes, and the car felt better than it had during the last practice session,” Nasr said. “We went in the right direction and I qualified fifth. We would like to be further up front to start, but still it is not too bad.”

“I feel the race itself is going to be the big point here,” Nasr continued. “There’s a lot of tire degradation that I can see across most of the competition, and I feel we work pretty well over the race stuff. I think starting fifth will give us a good position to fight, and we can go from there.”

Only the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Oct. 12 remains on the 2019 schedule following Sunday’s race.

Whelen Engineering Racing is in the running for both the season title along with giving Action Express Racing its sixth consecutive Michelin Endurance Cup, a unique competition encompassing the four longest races on the IMSA schedule. Whelen Engineering Racing took season titles in 2016 and 2018, in addition to winning the Michelin Endurance Cup the past two seasons.

Source. Sunday Group

Mustang Sampling Cadillac Takes Seventh in Laguna Seca Qualifying

Filipe Albuquerque turned in the seventh-fastest time in qualifying for Sunday’s Monterey SportsCar Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in a 15-minute session on Saturday. Sunday’s race is the penultimate round of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and will be aired live on NBC starting at 3:00 PM ET.

Albuquerque recorded a best lap of 1:15.757-seconds on the 2.238-mile circuit in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R that will be co-driven in the two-hour, 40-minute race by Joao Barbosa.

“I was expecting more in qualifying,” admitted Albuquerque, who will be making his first start at the scenic race track. “Not a pole position, for sure, but better than P-7. I did everything I could. Starting seventh is not the place to be to achieve our goal, but everyone is so close. We just need to analyze what is going on for the race.”

The goal for Mustang Sampling Racing is a victory, following the team’s triumph on the streets of Long Beach in April when the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship last visited the state of California.

A year ago, Albuquerque was left on the sidelines at Laguna Seca when Barbosa was taken out on the front straight before even taking the green flag – eliminating the team from the running for a third IMSA Prototype title.

“Last year was not a great one, starting in the back,” Albuquerque said. “We are starting in the back again this year. We need to be aware of problems, for sure. Everyone will be aggressive in the beginning. But one thing that makes us stronger than the other guys is we are not fighting for anything in the championship. We will go flat-out, while some of the other guys need protect their championship points. Normally, that never attracts trouble, so let’s hope it’s like that!”

Source. Sunday Group

Heinricher Racing Starts Seventh at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

In her seventh start for Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing, Christina Nielsen qualified the No. 57 Caterpillar Acura NSX GT3 seventh for the Monterey SportsCar Championship on Sunday (NBC 3:00pm ET).

Over three weekend practice sessions, the race crew made numerous adjustments that kept the Heinricher Racing No. 57 car improving on the time sheets. Ultimately, Katherine Legge and Nielsen found a good balance with the setup ahead of Saturday’s qualifying session.

Nielsen has made many strong qualifying runs for Heinricher this season and headed into the session with high hopes. She quickly set a fast time of 1:25.331 seconds, putting the team in fourth position, when a red flag came out.

With just four minutes remaining when the session went back to green, Nielsen tried to improve her position. At the end, only 0.7 seconds separated the first eight cars, and Heinricher Racing landed seventh on the grid.

“Position-wise, P7 is not where we want to be,” said Nielsen. “The time gap between all the cars is so tight, but we’re happy with the performance and I’m feeling good about our race car. What’s going to matter tomorrow is tire management and getting through the mayhem at the start. We’ll focus on the checkers from there.”

Source. Sunday Group

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