Cadillac V-Performance Racing teams Whelen Engineering Cadillac, Mustang Sampling Cadillac and Konica Minolta Cadillac are headed west to Long Beach, Calif. for round three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix of Long Beach to run April 13-14.
– Whelen Engineering Cadillac team leads IMSA Prototype points
– Konica Minolta Cadillac has won the last three Long Beach races
– Albuquerque, Mustang Sampling, to run Long Beach for first time
Just three Cadillac Racing teams will participate in the season’s shortest race, just 100 minutes. The Spirit of Daytona Cadillac team is repairing the damage caused by their crash at Sebring last month and will sit this round out.
With a truncated race weekend, just two days, the teams will focus on getting up to speed quickly around the 1.97-mile, 11-turn, closed-street course that circulates around the Long Beach Convention Center. Consistent finishes by the Whelen Engineering Cadillac team have them leading the Prototype points championship heading to the west coast. Drivers Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr are looking wipe out last year’s DNF by the team at the concrete lined track with a strong finish.
“Long Beach is an exciting place-you are racing through the streets, so it is an exciting environment,” Curran said. “There is a huge fan base and lots of support from the locals. It is a great vibe with all the events that go on surrounding it, and you really are in the heart of the city right on the water. It is a fast, tricky track that has concrete everywhere, so you have to be on your toes. We don’t have a ton of track time this weekend and the track changes a lot each time you go out as well.
“Long Beach is the first of the short races, so it will be interesting to see how hard every one pushes-it. The race is just over an hour and a half so we expect everyone will be on it at 110 percent. We are focused on the big picture and the championship, but really, we ultimately want to win.”
The Konica Minolta Cadillac team comes in as the defending race winners, in fact having won the last three years. The team is still digging out of a points deficit stemming from their early withdrawal from the Rolex 24 hours in January.
“Street circuits require a bit of patience, and you can get caught out quickly if you are too aggressive,” Taylor said. “The street course weekends always have a very compact schedule, so you have to be on top of your game at all times to get up to speed and develop the car. We are coming back after winning Long Beach three years in a row. Last year we had a tough battle to win the race, so we come back with a lot of confidence on street course events. Since then we’ve had a lot of time to develop our Cadillac, so I’m excited to see how strong our car will be after everything we learned throughout 2017. The tough thing about Long Beach is how much it develops over the weekend. The track is only used one week out of the year, so from the first session of the weekend to the last, the track picks up a huge amount of grip and the balance of the car is constantly changing. Then you add in half the track being used by the drift cars and covered in drift rubber, and you never have a consistent car. I enjoy the history of the event. Growing up watching onboard videos of the track and of the streets. It’s cool to be in the car seeing what those guys saw back in the day.”
“I love street tracks because of the challenge and the evolution of the track gripping up during the race weekend and adapting the car set-up,” Van Der Zande said. “Macau is the craziest track of all and I love going there to race. It is the same as Long Beach, where it comes together with a great city and atmosphere. We performed to the max in Sebring and it just showed our potential that we showed at Daytona. I believe that we have a lot of momentum right now and looking at the record of the team and Jordan at Long Beach, there is a lot of good data to use heading into the weekend. I think there are over 10 cars that can win. It will be about staying out of trouble and waiting for your chances. The competition will be rough.”
The Mustang Sampling Cadillac team led by Joao Barbosa will be introducing teammate Filipe Albuquerque to the Long Beach circuit for the first time this weekend. The team that won the season opening Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona is ready for a weekend of street racing.
“This is my first time racing a sprint event like this since I think DTM in 2014, so I’ve been thinking about that and my time in formula cars to get into the right mindset,” Albuquerque said. “The track will be new, but I’ve been preparing with iRacing because their modeling is very good. Christian (Fittipaldi) will be very important for me and for the team and Joao has a lot of good information, so I am confident we can get up to speed quickly.”
Source. Kyle Chura/Cadillac Racing