CarBahn with Peregrine Racing faced a final wild weekend out west at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
The No. 39 Audi R8 GT3 LMS finished fifth in the penultimate round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup on the 11 turn, 1.97-mile street circuit. The team showed fortitude and mastery of the course however, overzealous competitors were more willing than usual to bump and push the No. 39 on various accounts. This upset the teams’ initial podium pursuit, but still, they prevailed working back up to fifth position and showcasing the Audi’s stellar setup in the process.
Heistand kicked off the 100-sprint event from the second row, an optimal starting position on the streets of Long Beach. With just over half of his stint remaining he successfully made the pass for second place and began challenging the leader. The short race time reduced the minimum drive time in GTD from 40 to 30 minutes allowing Heistand to pit from second place and hand the reins to Westphal with 63-minutes remaining.
The California native settled into the No. 39 and rejoined the circuit just in time to witness multi-class chaos typical to the streets of Long Beach. The faster prototype cars, GT cars that had not yet pitted, and the leading GT pack, including Westphal, became backed up in the hairpin causing a shuffle of position. This ultimately slowed the No. 39’s momentum which combined with a bump from a competitor in the last 10 minutes caused Westphal to finish in fifth place.
The No. 39 Audi R8 GT3 LMS next heads to VIRginia International Raceway for the GT-only weekend. The event serves as the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup finale concluding the No. 39’s first season in GTD.
“It was a really fun race,” Heistand said. “Early on we could tell that we had a pretty competitive car. Robby Foley was ahead of me and his pace was dropping off, I think the BMW had a brake issue so it was nice being able to get by them. I think we were catching first place and were feeling good in a good spot. We executed a pretty good pit stop, it wasn’t great but it was decent. Some guys went a bit longer and gained some time that way, some guys had a bit faster of a stop than us which ended up costing us. We did a good job this weekend, we had a very quick car but we didn’t do a great job and that’s why we didn’t end up on the podium. That’s the reality of where this series is at and we have to recognize that at all phases we have to execute at the highest level if we want to win championships and win races. That’s where the series is at and I think we’re up to the challenge. This is year one so we need to just work on it and get better.”
“The race just ended here and we finished fifth,” Westphal said. “A top five for us the first time at Long Beach is bittersweet. It’s a home race for us but it was a new track for CarBahn with Peregrine Racing, Richard, and me. It was a huge amount of fun, and I really enjoyed my time here but definitely bittersweet because I think we had a third or a fourth-place brewing. That being said I think this event will force us to reflect on areas we can further improve being a first-year team and how we’re going to put all of the pieces together and make ourselves that much stronger before we come back for the next one.”
Source. CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing