Tudor USCC: Long Beach preview
After the 24 and 12-hour events at Daytona and Sebring respectively, this weekend’s 100-minute affair around the streets of Long Beach, California will seem like a sprint race for the 2014 United SportsCar Championship crews.
While endurance is less of a factor for round three though, Porsche North America Racing will still be hoping to continue their winning run as the series races around the famous 1.968-mile street course.
After a famous victory for the #911 PNAR Porsche 911 RSR at the season-opening 24 Hours of Daytona, the sister #912 machine led the GTLM field home in March’s 12 Hours of Sebring, leaving the newly-formed team in something of a purple patch heading into Long Beach.
“I’m hoping Long Beach will be good for us,” Nick Tandy, driver of the #911 car, explained to Total 911. “It’s the straight line speed, and the braking and acceleration.”
The heavy braking zones of turns 1, 6, and 9 should play to the strengths of the latest 911 RSR, while the traditionally excellent traction exhibited by the rear-engined racer should provide an advantage out of the final hairpin.
Combined with the long straight that follows along the iconic Shoreline Drive, and the three Porsche 911 RSRs (two from PNAR, one from Team Falken) should find themselves right in the mix come the one-hour-forty-minute race on Saturday evening.
History too suggests that the Weissach racers should continue their strong run of form at Long Beach. In both 2009 and 2010, Patrick Long and Jörg Bergmeister took GT-class honours around the Californian streets, the former of whom will be piloting the #912 entry alongside Michael Christensen.
What’s more, last season, Team Falken qualified their Type-997 GT3 RSR second, running strongly in the race before the dramas typical of street circuits befell them.
As the first of the shorter Tudor USCC races, all the teams revert to their two full-season drivers, meaning that Tandy and Richard Lietz will line up in the Daytona-winning 911 RSR without Patrick Pilet.
Similarly, Long and Christensen will be without Bergmeister for the street-based sprint. The short race format will likely ensure that the racing will be frenetic, especially when combined with the competitiveness of the GTLM class: expect the BMWs and SRT Vipers to feature strongly.
The first practice session gets underway later today at 10:40am ET (3:40pm GMT), with qualifying for the GTLM class taking place at 8:45pm ET (1:45am GMT). The green flag will drop for Saturday’s race at 6:10pm ET (11:10pm GMT).
As ever, make sure you keep an eye on the Total 911 Twitter feed for up-to-the-minute updates, with a full race report and gallery coming your way on Monday 14 April here at Total911.com.