Winning at home is important for sports teams. On one side of Los Angeles, there’s a team that dominates at home: the Los Angeles Dodgers, boasting a near 70 percent win rate. On the other side of Los Angeles, there’s another team: Acura, which holds a win percentage of zero at its home race in Long Beach.
Since the introduction of DPi in 2017, rival manufacturer Cadillac has dominated in Acura’s backyard, winning the last three races at Long Beach. In 2018, the first year with Acura as a DPi manufacturer, the pair of Acura Team Penske entries finished a disappointing fifth and sixth. A year later, another Cadillac won, but this time with Acuras finishing a close second and third.
While IndyCar will decide its 2021 champion on Sunday, the IMSA race on Saturday could go a long way to determining who gets to hang the “2021 IMSA DPi Champions” banner in the workshop.
“Long Beach is a big home race for Acura and over the past two attempts, victory has eluded us. The circuit has been dominated by Cadillac,” Wayne Taylor Racing’s Ricky Taylor said.
Taylor and Albuquerque lead the DPi standings and have slowed the No. 31 Whelen Engineering’s Cadillac’s momentum after its win at Laguna Seca. Prior to Laguna Seca, the No. 31 Cadillac had won the last two races at Watkins Glen and Road America.
“With only two races remaining in our season, a win would not only be sweet for victory on Acura’s home soil, but also take the pressure off us going into the Petit Le Mans endurance race in November,” Taylor explained. “We finally flipped the momentum mid-season, and are back to winning. It feels good to be back on the right side of it, but we need to keep our heads down because we still have a big target on our backs.”
We’re moving from the @WeatherTechRcwy corkscrew to the Streets of Long Beach.
— Wayne Taylor Racing (@WayneTaylorRcng) September 20, 2021
The suspension of the Cadillac DPi-V.R. is widely regarded to be the best over the bumps. In addition, the V8 engine produces a significant amount of torque that helps it accelerate out of slow corners, which Long Beach offers plenty of.
“Cadillac has developed a car that can handle the bumps very well,” Pipo Derani told IMSA.com.
“When we talk about street tracks like Long Beach, normally those track surfaces are not very smooth. It’s not designed for race cars; it’s normal streets that are being turned into a racetrack for a few days.”
The IMSA race at Long Beach will be the shortest race of the season at 100 minutes. The GT Le Mans and GT Daytona field will go to VIRginia International Raceway in October before the full field meets again for Petit Le Mans on November 13. The question of which DPi teams arrive in Georgia in control and which teams descend on Road Atlanta feeling like long shots will likely be determined this weekend.