Porsche IMSA Teams Are Ready For The Challenges Of Long Beach
The shortest race on the calendar will present a big challenge for Porsche's new 911 RSR.
After finishing second at the end of the 24 Hours of Daytona, and coming agonizingly close to victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring, Porsche is banking on the very short 100-minute race in Long Beach, California to provide the team its first win on the season. As the defending Long Beach Grand Prix GTLM victors, Porsche knows how to win this race. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for the race attendees, Porsche's competition has learned a thing or two as well, and won't make the race easy for them. This will be an intense cutthroat battle on the tight and twisting streets of the harbor under the shadow of the great "Queen Mary".
This coming weekend on the unforgiving street circuit, the IMSA sports car championship will be on the docket alongside Indycar and Pirelli World Challenge races (also featuring significant Porsche action), and we'll have a full weekend report for you next week as we are in Los Angeles for all of the racing action. The circuit is just 3.167 kilometers, and features one of the tightest turns on the series calendar, and has been in use, hosting sports car and open wheel races, for decades. There are some that refer to the event as America's Monaco Grand Prix.
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport:
“The opening phase of the IMSA SportsCar Championship throws everything at us: First the long-distance classics of Daytona and Sebring, then the shortest race of the season – they could hardly be more diverse. The very aspect that challenges the drivers and teams is what adds extra thrills and excites the spectators. After the two season-opening races in Florida, we’re now looking forward to showcasing our new 911 RSR to the Porsche fans in California. We’re tackling the Long Beach event as last year’s winners. This is extremely motivating for the entire squad, particularly after our misfortune in Sebring.”
Marco Ujhasi, Overall Project Manager GT Works Motorsport:
“This race puts the whole team under extreme pressure. Because the race is so short, every second you lose in the pits is two times more painful. We normally do just one pit stop. Refuel, new tyres, change drivers – it has to run like clockwork otherwise you’ve already lost. That’s what makes this race so thrilling for drivers and such a huge spectacle for fans.”
Sebastian Golz, Project Manager GT Customer Motorsport:
“The rubber left on the track between the practice sessions and the race changes the surface characteristics more on a city circuit than on a dedicated racetrack. The very slow hairpins require good traction so that the drivers can get back on the throttle as quickly as possible. Thanks to its vehicle concept, our 911 GT3 R certainly has an advantage in this regard.”
Patrick Pilet, Driver, 911 RSR #911:
“The Long Beach city circuit is one of my favourite tracks in the USA. Last year we scored our first win of the season there, and we’d like to do that again with the new 911 RSR. The fans know why they come to Long Beach: To be permanently at the limit on this track is a fantastic challenge for drivers and makes for a gripping race.”
Dirk Werner, Driver, 911 RSR #911:
“Long Beach is a very special place to go racing. It’s a fantastic city circuit and great fun. The comparison to Monaco is really fitting. The racetrack is tricky and the more rubber that’s left on the track, the faster we become from one practice to the next. You have to stay focussed. The special challenge will be to find a perfect setup for our 911 RSR during the short practice session.”
Laurens Vanthoor, Driver, 911 RSR #912:
“I like racing on street circuits. I’m not yet familiar with Long Beach. The fact that we drive with the equally as popular IndyCar series on the same weekend will undoubtedly make Long Beach a highlight of the season.”
Kévin Estre, Driver, 911 RSR #912:
“I love city circuits. They’re something special and a welcome change, particularly for us drivers. You can even overtake in Long Beach, so we’ll definitely witness a riveting race. But it’s not only about that: With its sun and ocean, California is simply fun.”
The race takes off on Saturday, 8 April, at 13.05 hrs Pacific Standard Time.