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Continental Tire Long Beach Post-Race Notebook

Continental Tire Post-Race Notebook for Long Beach…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

***The last-lap melee in the hairpin, which cost Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen the GT Le Mans class victory, ended in controversy post-race, although IMSA has stood by its ruling of not to make any changes to the result. An IMSA spokesperson told Sportscar365 that despite the local yellows, passing was allowed as it was an incident-in-progress. A full-course caution was not called as the overall winner had already taken the checkered flag.

***The incident gave Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin class honors, with Garcia settling for fifth after getting blocked by the three-car GTD pileup. 

***Tequila Patron ESM’s two-stop strategy, which saw the No. 2 Nissan Onroak DPi of Ryan Dalziel take fuel-only on its final stop, nearly paid off for Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp, who finished a season-best second. “Our strategy was always going to be that, so we gambled on hoping there’d be a yellow sometime between 15 and 45 minutes and short-fill the end,” Dalziel told Sportscar365.

***Dalziel carved his way from 19th overall on the second-to-final restart, which saw the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona class cars out front overall due to the pit sequence and restart rules. “The carnage that comes from us starting behind GTs, hurting their race as it hurts ours, just makes no sense,” he said.

***ESM team owner/driver Sharp said was proud of the steps made in the Nissan DPi package, with both cars not hitting any mechanical issues after a tough two first races. “It was a big step forward for the team this weekend,” Sharp said. “We’ve been working on our reliability, and that went forward.”

***Mazda scored its long-awaited first overall podium finish in series competition, with a third place finish for the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P of Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez. The pairing previously notched a third in the P class, but seventh place overall result at Detroit last year in their Lola-based Mazda prototype.

***Dane Cameron’s race-ending accident in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R marked the first retirement for the Whelen-sponsored entry since moving to Action Express in 2015. Defending P class champions Cameron and Eric Curran have slipped to fifth in points as a result, 26 points behind Ricky and Jordan Taylor.

***An electrical issue denied the No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM car of Martin Tomczyk a long-awaited GT Le Mans class victory when the car slowed from the lead with ten minutes remaining. The DTM ace managed to recover to finish seventh in class alongside co-driver John Edwards, with Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims recording a season-best fourth in the No. 25 car, thanks to the final-lap chaos.

***A first-lap accident by Toni Vilander, who made contact with the No. 22 ESM Nissan DPi of Ed Brown after jumping into the GTLM class lead, ended in retirement for the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE. Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella, which entered the weekend third in the championship standings on the heels of two podium finishes, leave California fifth in title race. 

***Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller remain out front in GTLM points, despite an eighth place class finish on Saturday in their battered Ford GT. The No. 66 entry ran most of the race without its hood after Hand was collected in the Lap 1 melee with Vilander and Brown, while Mueller was later spun around by the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR of Dirk Werner in the hairpin, with Werner having been handed a drive-through penalty for the contact.

***Cooper MacNeil earned his first class victory in WeatherTech Championship competition, thanks in part to a perfectly executed race for the Riley Motorsports-run team, which gave Mercedes-AMG back-to-back class wins in GTD. MacNeil, who started from the rear of the field due to a post-qualifying tire change, pitted at the 18-minute mark to hand over to co-driver Gunnar Jeannette.

***Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington served as the race’s grand marshal and honorary race starter (pictured above). The California-based rock band has a promotional partnership with Mercedes-AMG, with members of the band having designed the livery for one of Black Falcon’s entries in last year’s 24 Hours of Spa.

***Andy Lally has launched “MotorCrush”, a smartphone app for modern performance car enthusiasts. The app, now available on iOS and Android devices, allows car-based check-ins, meet-ups, and users to make high-performance parts available for sale. Click Here for more details.

***An April Fool’s article posted by another media outlet indicating that Volvo is closing in on a DPi program, gathered mainstream media attention and even made it on to Saturday’s FOX broadcast. Contrary to the reports and confusion, it’s understood the Swedish automaker is not currently looking at an effort in IMSA.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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