Back to the Beach
The Grand Prix of Long Beach is returning after a 29-month absence. Also making a comeback for the first time since 2017 is GT Daytona. This means that two of IMSA’s most successful drivers are racing close to home.
The winningest driver in IMSA, Bill Auberlen, is from nearby Redondo Beach. The BMW legend competes with Turner Motorsport in GTD.
Patrick Long grew up in the area and resides in Manhattan Beach. The Porsche factory driver races with Wright Motorsports in GTD. Both Long and Auberlen have won twice at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Cadillac Looks to Continue Dominance on Street
Cadillac is going for its fourth consecutive win at Long Beach. The last two have been won by Action Express Racing. The Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing entry won the other street race on the schedule in 2021—at the Detroit Grand Prix.
With a wide variety of cars and tire makes in everything from the Historic Formula Atlantic class to Stadium Trucks, Time Attack entries, Super Drift, and Indy Cars all on the Long Beach street circuit at various times, the IMSA teams expect different conditions every time that they are on track. The interactions of the various tire compounds will be an unknown.
Without a Saturday warmup for the WeatherTech Championship, teams will make their best estimates of how the track will likely evolve from Friday’s afternoon’s qualifying to the Saturday afternoon race start.
Counting Up and Counting Down
At just 100 minutes, the WeatherTech Championship teams will be counting the race time both up and down from the 2:05 pm (PDT) start of Saturday’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach race.
The minimum drive time of 35 minutes for GTD entries leaves a wide range of strategy options on the 1.968-mile circuit. Teams will risk going a lap down on a green flag stop. Stopping at 35-40 minutes may mean a slightly quicker fuel stop, but a longer stint on tires. And any full course cautions will have the pit box strategists adjusting on the fly.
Going for No. 4
Tommy Milner (GT – 2012; GTLM – 2017, 2018), Jordan Taylor (P – 2015, 2016, 2017), and Ricky Taylor (P – 2015, 2016, 2017) have the most wins as active drivers at the Grand Prix of Long Beach with three.
Can’t stop a Plaid Train
Pfaff Motorsports in the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R looks to win three consecutive races this season at Long Beach. Drivers Zach Robichon and Laurens Vanthoor are now in second in the GTD standings. The two trail Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley of BMW Turner Motorsport by just 27 points.
DPi: 8 sets – Hard
GTLM: 9 sets GTLM range
GTD: 5 sets – Michelin Pilot Sport GT S9M