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Long Beach Pre-Race Notebook

Adam Saal’s Long Beach Pre-Race Notebook

Photo: IMSA/JJ O'Malley

Photo: IMSA/JJ O’Malley

***The No. 67 Ford GT is repaired and ready to race after yesterday’s fire in morning practice, which was caused by a leaking fuel fitting. Richard Westbrook was unscathed in the incident and praised the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing crew’s quick action. “They could see something on the telemetry,” Westbrook said. “I got a call on the radio to hit the fire bottle and knew, ‘OK, gotta get out of here.’”

***The Ganassi crew began rebuilding the No. 67 right after the incident and were able to start the GT with a new engine, wiring and plumbing last night. Parts were flown in overnight from the Indianapolis race shop and the rebuild was finished this morning. The job took 11 hours and 10 guys with help from many supportive teams in the IMSA paddock.

***After supplying only the Prototype division here the last two years, Continental Tire is also supporting the returning PC class for the first time this weekend at Long Beach. Both classes are on Continental “Blacks,” the same dry-weather compound each division runs at Sebring, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Detroit, and 734 total tires were brought to Long Beach.

***The No. 0 DeltaWing is carrying “Speedy Recovery Kate” on its engine cover in support of team engineer Catherine Crawford who is recovering back home in the U.S. after emergency surgery for a brain tumor last month while traveling in Italy.

***Brit Andy Meyrick is making his Long Beach debut filling in for fulltime DeltaWing co-driver Sean Rayhall, an American who raced in today’s ELMS race at Silverstone in England. “We crossed each other on the tarmac in our planes at Heathrow on Monday, only about 200, 300 meters away from each other,” Meyrick said. “It probably would have been easier if I’d just driven down to Silverstone and he raced here!”

***Meyrick is enjoying his first Long Beach visit. “My first time here and it’s amazing, one of those iconic tracks,” Meyrick said. “I’ve been racing in America since 2010 and for whatever reason I’ve never done this race, so it’s good to finally tick it off the bucket list.”

***Ryan Hunter-Reay is the first driver to do the IMSA/IndyCar double at Long Beach, and the dual effort in the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP and his No. 28 Honda IndyCar is full of firsts. “I haven’t raced a closed cockpit car on a street course, and I haven’t raced a closed cockpit car with right-hand drive on a street course, so it’s going to be a new challenge,” Hunter-Reay said.

***Scuderia Corsa is making its first IMSA start at Long Beach, and first in GTLM, with Alessandro Balzan and Daniel Serra in the No. 68 Ferrari 488 GTE. Scuderia Corsa’s shop is just up the freeway in Los Angeles as is three of the team’s affiliated Ferrari dealerships in L.A., Beverly Hills and the South Bay area.

***Hollywood-based driver Tomy Drissi is making his second IMSA start of the season, joining Johnny Mowlem in the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09 that carries the graphics of the upcoming movie “X-Men: Apocalypse.” Drissi made his first professional race start at Long Beach in 1999.

***Risi Competizione has a strong history of podium finishes at Long Beach and a top-three finish today would be their first of 2016. No. 62 Risi Ferrari 488 GTE drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander have both been on the podium at Long Beach, most recently with Fisichella’s second-place last year. Vilander was third in 2011 and Risi in total has five podiums and a win at Long Beach in 10 starts.

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