IMSA Long Beach race day news and notes

Michael Levitt/Lumen

IMSA Long Beach race day news and notes


IMSA Long Beach race day news and notes


Neither of the GTD cars that crashed in qualifying Friday will start Saturday’s race.

Ashton Harrison slapped the wall at the exit of Turn 8 in the No. 93 Racers Edge with WTR Acura NSX GT3 Evo22, and seconds later PJ Hyett nosed into the wall with the No. 80 AO Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R in almost the same spot. AO Racing driver and team owner PJ Hyett was apparently unhurt in the incident, but the car was too damaged for the team to participate further. AO Racing promises to be back for the next event at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

While the damage to the NSX that Harrison was slated to share with Mario Farnbacher didn’t appear too bad, Harrison reports that the half-shaft was driven into the gearbox in the crash, ending the team’s only planned sprint race this season.

The GTP cars have only two sets of tires to get them through qualifying and race.

That’s historically what they would use anyway, the 100-minute affair being usually a one-stop race. Several teams used the first part of qualifying Friday to scrub the second set of tires for the race. Polesitter Filipe Albuquerque said he doesn’t envision any scenario where a team would try to go the whole race on a single set given the lap time delta between fresh and old rubber.

Speaking of tires, Albuquerque says the struggle to get heat into a new set of tires in the GTPs has been especially troublesome at Long Beach, although Friday was a touch cooler than it will be during Saturday’s race. Ultimately he hopes for a mid-race yellow that would allow everyone to go onto the second set of tires at the same time and get a little heat into them before a restart; if the pit stops among the GTP cars are staggered, it could get very interesting with the mix of cold and warm tires.

“I said to Ricky (Taylor), like, ‘Good luck, because I’m not confident at all.’ It’s just super slippery in the beginning of FP1 when we started on new tires. I was talking with Katherine Legge today, and like, ‘Oh, you guys were so slow. I thought you were just warming up.’ No, I was just struggling and I thought it was the track. And she was saying the track was pretty grippy in the beginning.

“It’s something that I wasn’t really comfortable, and we can see as well the other guys moving once the car is going because you have you rely on (traction control) but then the car snaps on you. I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody has a spin or something because then in the end of the day you need to push. But it’s so hard and in between walls there is zero room for mistakes. So let’s hope that there is a yellow so people can put some some energy to that. It still will be hard, but that’s racing.”

GTD polesitter looking to use starting order to his advantage

Marco Sorensen has several GTD PRO cars between his No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage and second-place GTD qualifier Frankie Montecalvo in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F, and he plans to use that to his and teammate’s Roman De Angelis’s advantage on the hard-to-pass Long Beach circuit.

“It was all basically all part of the plan,” he said. “I don’t see the cars as any different than any of the other cars out there. So I’m gonna race them for position – not in class in a way but to keep our track position – and if I can stay in front, depending on obviously a lot of things, then it’ll help us lay down our strategy. I think on a such a short race like this one, it’s going to be a good buffer to have because if we were having a good pace or whatever, then it’s good when you actually come to the pitstop.”

Taylors could separate or keep prior-win tie

In Saturday’s field, the leaders in the previous victory category are Jordan and Ricky Taylor, with three each. Each of those wins came together in a Wayne Taylor Racing prototype in consecutive years, 2015-’17. With Ricky in the polesitting WTR with Andretti Autosport Acura ARX-06 GTP car and Jordan in the GTD PRO No. 3 Corvette, it is possible that the pair could emerge from today’s race in a tie, although it looks pretty good for Ricky to break that stalemate given the strength of the No. 10 Acura so far this weekend. On the flip side, Corvette Racing has achieved a class victory eight times.

Minimum drive times for the 100-minute race are five minutes for GTP and GTD PRO, and 35 minutes for GTD.

How to watch

Saturday’s race will be broadcast on USA Network, as well as streamed on Peacock, at 5 p.m. ET. The green flag is scheduled for 5:05 p.m. ET, 2:05 p.m. local time. IMSA Radio will also carry the race (, and it can also be heard on Sirius 217, XM 207 or on the SiriusXM app on channel 992.