The defending polesitting and race-winning No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP for Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) will start Saturday’s Bubba Burger Grand Prix at Long Beach from the outside of the front row after IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying Friday afternoon on the Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.) street circuit.
Ricky Taylor, who won the pole for this race a year ago and went on to capture the victory with his brother and co-driver Jordan Taylor, turned a fast qualifying lap of 1 minute, 15.133 seconds at 94.297 mph on the 1.968-mile, 11-turn seaside layout. It was good for second-fastest overall among 25 car-and-driver combinations that will take the green flag Saturday for the one-hour, 40-minute sprint race.
“The car was a pole car but, unfortunately, I brushed the (turn-eight) wall early on, which really messed up the toe and ruined our qualifying,” said Ricky Taylor, who also finished a close second co-driving with his brother in their Long Beach debut in 2014. “I feel bad because it should have been an easy pole and I just went for too much too soon. If you’re going to hit the wall, you should hit it at the end, not at the beginning, so you can give yourself a chance. I guess that’s a little bit of a lesson, but the car was a pole car, for sure, which gives us confidence in the race. I’m going to try to get by him (today’s pole-winner Christian Fittipaldi). I know our pit stop will be faster, but I want to pass him on the track.”
The top-five qualifiers for Saturday’s Bubba Burger Grand Prix at Long Beach are:
1. Action Express Racing (No. 5 Corvette DP) with Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa (1:14.962 at 94.512 mph)
2. Wayne Taylor Racing (No. 10 Corvette DP) with Ricky Taylor and Jordan Taylor (1:15.133 at 94.297 mph)
3. Mazda Motorsports (No. 70 Mazda) with Tom Long and Joel Miller (1:15.641 at 93.663 mph)
4. Action Express Racing (No. 31 Corvette DP) with Eric Curran and Dane Cameron (1:15.741 at 93.540 mph)
5. Mazda Motorsports (No. 55 Mazda) with Tristan Nunez, Jonathan Bomarito (1:15.792 at 93.477 mph)
Race time is 7:05 p.m. EDT Saturday with a live television broadcast on FS2 beginning at 7 p.m. The race will be rebroadcast on FS1 at 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions is available at IMSA.com and the IMSA smartphone app.