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Michelin Long Beach Notebook

Pre-event news, notes, stats ahead of this weekend’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach…

Photo: Michelin

Long Beach, Where the Streets are the Track

There are about four million miles of paved roads in the U.S., including 396,000 miles here in California.

About 95 percent of roads are made up of stones, sand, and gravel, with 5 percent of asphalt heated to liquify, holding it all together.

This weekend, Michelin is laser focused on just 1.968 miles of California roads that comprise the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach circuit.
Qualifying and Track Position Really Counts in Long Beach

Only once in the past seven races has the Long Beach race produced more than two full course caution periods.

The 2017 race saw five cautions worth nearly 49 minutes. Teams shouldn’t expect six restarts this race or a late restart either. Five of the past seven races haven’t seen time under yellow in the second half of 100-minute race.

This means qualifying and track position will be far more important than the two endurance races that started the season.

The Pit Stop

22 out of the 26 cars took only one pit stop in the 2021 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. As a result, pit crews potentially have one chance to shine, unlike the Rolex 24 where the winning DPi stopped 42 times!

Photo: Michelin

LIFO, FIFO, and Race Strategies

Race strategists may borrow a pair of inventory management accounting terms; FIFO (First in – First Out) and LIFO (Last in-First Out) in planning pit stop timing here at Long Beach.

Being one of the first to pit (FIFO) can be helpful if a car is stuck in traffic and the driver returns to a clearer track. If the car is quick enough, positions will be regained when others pit, especially under a full course caution.

The LIFO approach could be well suited to a front runner extending a lead to open a gap and then covering the field before any full course yellows disrupt the proceedings.

Of course, all bets are off once the race starts, and any FCYs occur.

Zero, One, Two, Four

Depending upon chassis set-up, tire wear and the number and timing of any full course yellows, teams may change anywhere from zero to all four tires on a pit stop. The 100-minute race has seen winners in GTD category use every option.

Cadillac Undefeated in DPi Era

Cadillac has won every Long Beach race since the DPi was introduced in IMSA. Filipe Albuquerque of Wayne Taylor Racing shared with Sportscar365 that Acura is unlikely to end the streak in 2022.

Photo: Michelin

Six Teams, Six Manufacturers

The GTD Pro entry list features six teams and each one represents a different manufacturer with Chevrolet, Porsche, Lexus, Aston Martin, BMW and Mercedes. Last year, the top GT class, GTLM, saw three entries representing just two manufacturers.


DPi: Helio Castroneves/1:11.332/2019
GTD: Laurens Vanthoor/1:18.957/2021

DPi: Pipo Derani/1:11.932/2019
GTD: Bryan Sellers/1:20.138/2021

Tire Allocations

DPi: 8 sets – IMSA Medium
GTD Pro: 5 sets – Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M
GTD: 5 sets – Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M

The latest news, photos and video features from the trusted Sportscar365 web staff.

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