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Long Beach Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***Cadillac scored its sixth Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach victory out of the last seven years, with Chip Ganassi Racing’s Renger van der Zande and Sebastien Bourdais claiming their second win in the last three years.

***Van der Zande poked fun at his longtime co-driver in the post-race press conference, referencing to last year’s race where Bourdais retired after suffering brake issues at the start. “It seems like if we can get it through the first corner we win races here at Long Beach,” he said. “It wasn’t his fault [last year] so all good!”

***Bourdais revealed that their No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R encountered hybrid-related issues in qualifying that resulted in the Frenchman getting on track late and completing only five laps, which was good enough for third on the grid.

***Pole-sitter Pipo Derani, who controlled the opening part of the race, believed that Action Express Racing’s strategy, which saw the No. 31 Cadillac take on left-side tires during the stop, cost them roughly three seconds on the out-lap, owing to the time it took to warm-up the fresh Michelins.

***Derani pitted one lap prior to Bourdais, which allowed the Ganassi squad to make a different call on tire strategy in what turned into a successful effort to jump the Whelen Engineering-sponsored Cadillac.

***Derani said: “At the end of the day, the position we were in did not allow us to make a risky move on the tires or risk choice on tires. And eventually, by not taking that risk, we ended up finishing second unfortunately.”

***The Brazilian and co-driver Jack Aitken now sit third in the GTP drivers’ championship, 77 points behind leaders Dane Cameron and Felipe Nasr, who scored their third podium finish in as many races this season in the No. 7 Penske Porsche 963.

***Van der Zande and Bourdais, meanwhile, have moved into second in the title race, 58 points behind the Porsche Penske Motorsport duo heading into next month’s round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

***The No. 6 Penske Porsche of Mathieu Jaminet was denied a podium finish after the Frenchman was turned around in the hairpin by the No. 78 Forte Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 of Loris Spinelli with 22 minutes to go, which resulted in a pileup that also collected Connor De Phillippi’s No. 25 Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8.

***Spinelli was handed a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility, while De Phillippi later crashed out of the race after making an initial pit stop for repairs.

***Jaminet said: “I was strong in third place for long stretches until a GT car sent me spinning in the last corner. I could say goodbye to the anticipated podium finish. At least I was able to maintain a decent pace and successfully limit the damage.”

***The No. 40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 of Jordan Taylor and Louis Deletraz, which entered the weekend tied for the points lead with Nasr and Cameron, was the only retirement in the GTP class after Long Beach rookie Deletraz slammed into the Turn 1 wall on Lap 30.

***Deletraz said: “I am still waiting to better understand what happened, but I lost the car before the actual corner on a straight line. I’m not exactly sure what happened, but, obviously, not the end we wanted especially after we had managed to get to P5.”

***Lexus scored its third class win at Long Beach and second consecutive with Ben Barnicoat, who was part of the team’s GTD Pro-winning squad last year with Jack Hawksworth. Barnicoat also scored his second straight WeatherTech Championship win after teaming with Hawksworth and Kyle Kirkwood for top GTD Pro honors at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Cadillac.

***Hawksworth, making a cameo appearance in the No. 12 Lexus RC F GT3, retired with less than 40 minutes to go after sustaining rear suspension damage due to a brush with the wall. It came after co-driver Frankie Montecalvo, who qualified second, was served a drive-through penalty for changing lanes prior to the start.

***Hawksworth said: “About everything that could go wrong did from the start. The No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus guys worked their butts off all weekend so I’m very disappointed for them, but no doubt they’ll come back fighting.”

***The No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Russell Ward and Philip Ellis also lost ground due to a penalty, for having too many crew over the wall during its stop, dashing hopes of a third consecutive class victory. The duo finished seventh in class.

***Ward and Ellis, however, still hold a commanding lead in the GTD standings, with a 185-point advantage over Turner Motorsport’s Robby Foley and Patrick Gallagher in second and Parker Thompson a further ten points behind in third.

***Thompson, who won Saturday’s race with Barnicoat, is now on separate points to usual co-driver Montecalvo due to Vasser Sullivan and Lexus’ strategy to split the two Silver-rated pilots up for Long Beach in order to field two cars.

***Proton Competition scored fifth place class finishes for both its Porsche 963 of Gianmaria Bruni and Mike Rockenfeller and its Ford Mustang GT3 driven by Corey Lewis and Giammarco Levorato. It marked the highest-placed result for the Mustang GT3 in global competition to date.

***The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was denied a likely podium finish when Spencer Pumpelly was hit by the No. 86 MDK Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Anders Fjordbach, resulting in a drive-through penalty for the Dane.

***Pumpelly, who is currently confirmed for Long Beach-only as Roman De Angelis’ Silver-rated co-driver, was the last classified finisher in 23rd as a result.

***The GTD Pro class returns to action alongside the GTP and GTD classes at the next WeatherTech Championship round of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on May 10-12.

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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