Visit Florida Racing has been ruled out of tomorrow’s Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach following a weekend-ending accident for Renger van der Zande in opening practice for the third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Van der Zande’s No. 90 Riley Mk. 30 Gibson made heavy contact with the Turn 1 wall early into the two-hour session, with the Dutchman reporting brake issues with the LMP2 contender.
“I was able to catch it three of four times with a big snap oversteer, then I was just a passenger from there on,” van der Zande told Sportscar365.
“We’re still looking into what the issue was and trying to find out why it happened. But you can see clearly on the data that the front was back to zero and the rear was up to pressure, then straight into the wall.
“The car is just too broken to race the rest of the weekend, so that’s a real shame.”
Tub damage was sustained to the left-front pickup point, and with no spare Riley LMP2 chassis on-site, even from the Mazda camp, it’s left the Troy Flis-led team to be packing up early.
“We knew it was a hard hit but we didn’t think it was that hard of a hit to hurt the tub, but it definitely did,” Flis told Sportscar365.
“It’s part of the new era. I think it’s going to be more calls to make sure you have a second car I guess. We never had these issues with the DP.”
According to Flis, the brake issue is still being identified.
“We can’t put our finger on just yet,” he said. “We’ll look into that and once we can find it out, we’ll go from there.
“It’s a bad weekend for us, coming all this way, and getting knocked out of the first practice session.
“Thank goodness the car was strong enough and [Renger] was OK. No fault to him. I think we had a decent race car. We were just starting to work on it.”
The Visit Florida Riley was one of three cars to get caught out in Friday’s opening practice session, including the No. 14 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3, which sustained considerable left-side damage from an impact by Scott Pruett.