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About the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)

International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) was originally founded in 1969 and owns a long and rich history in sports car racing. Today, IMSA is the sanctioning body of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the premier sports car racing series in North America. IMSA also sanctions the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA VP Racing SportsCar Challenge, as well as four one-make series: Ferrari Challenge North America, Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and Porsche Carrera Cup North America. IMSA – a company within the NASCAR family – is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.



Entry List Notebook – Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

GTP and GTD Cars Will Take It to Streets of Famous Circuit on April 19-20

April 10, 2024

By Mark Robinson

IMSA Wire Service

Entry List (Click Here)


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes the action and drama of North America’s most popular and competitive sports car racing series out west next week for the first of two California races in a four-week span. The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is set for April 19-20 on the iconic street course near Los Angeles.


Two WeatherTech Championship classes – Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) and Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) – and a total of 27 cars will attack the tight and challenging Long Beach temporary street circuit for the 100-minute, all-out sprint on Saturday, April 20.


Porsche Penske Motorsport seeks to repeat its overall and GTP class win from a year ago, when No. 6 Porsche 963 co-drivers Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet succeeded with the assist of the team’s decision not to change tires on their lone pit stop. There will be no repeat winner in GTD; Paul Miller Racing, which won the last three GTD races at Long Beach, is no longer competing in the class.


There have been a few changes within the GTD class for Long Beach. Flying Lizard Motorsports makes its return to the WeatherTech Championship with the No. 28 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo to be driven by Elias Sabo and Andy Lee. Veteran driver Spencer Pumpelly joins Roman De Angelis in the No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin, and Stevan McAleer returns to the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 to drive alongside Sheena Monk.


Practice and qualifying take place Friday, April 19. The race airs live on USA Network, Peacock and IMSA Radio at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 20.


Here’s what else you need to know heading into race week:


Fast Facts

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Long Beach Street Course – Long Beach, California

April 19-20, 2024

  • Race Day/Time: Saturday, April 20 – 4:35 p.m. ET

  • NBC Sports Coverage: USA Network and Peacock from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

  • Live Qualifying Stream: Friday, April 19 – 7:55 p.m. ET on Peacock (U.S.) and IMSA.tv (globally)

  • IMSA Radio: All sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage begins Saturday, April 20 at 4:30 p.m. (Sirius 211, XM 206, Web/App 996)

  • Circuit Type: 1.968-mile, 11-turn temporary street course

  • Race Length: 100 minutes

  • Classes Competing: Grand Touring Prototype (GTP), Grand Touring Daytona (GTD)


Track Social Media: 

Event Hashtags: #IMSA, #AcuraGPLB


WeatherTech Championship Track Records

  • GTP: Filipe Albuquerque, Acura ARX-06, 1:09.909 / 101.343 mph, April 2023

  • GTD: Marco Sorensen, Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 1:17.811 / 91.051 mph, April 2023


2023 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Winners:

  • GTP: Nick Tandy/Mathieu Jaminet, No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963

  • GTD PRO: Jack Hawksworth/Ben Barnicoat, No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3

  • GTD: Bryan Sellers/Madison Snow, No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3




Who’s Hot?

  • No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: Russell Ward and Philip Ellis head to Long Beach on the strength of back-to-back GTD wins to start the season, allowing them to open a sizable lead in the class standings. The duo has finished 14th and fifth at Long Beach the last two years.

  • No. 7 Porsche, No. 40 Acura: The co-leaders in GTP – the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 and No. 40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 – have swapped first- and third-place finishes in the two races to begin the season, the only teams in the class to have achieved two podium results thus far.


Who’s Good Here?

  • Tandy and the Taylors: With his GTP victory in 2023 with co-driver Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy earned his third Long Beach victory; the first two coming in the former GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. Tandy joins brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor as the active drivers with the most wins on the street circuit. The Taylors accomplished theirs together from 2015-17 driving for the team they’re both back with in 2024, though they’ll race in different GTP cars this time.


Previous Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Winners in 2024 Field (12)

  • Nick Tandy (3): GTLM – 2016, 2021; GTP – 2023

  • Jordan Taylor (3): P – 2015, 2016, 2017

  • Ricky Taylor (3): P – 2015, 2016, 2017

  • Filipe Albuquerque (2): P – 2018; DPi – 2019

  • Ben Barnicoat (1): GTD PRO – 2023

  • Sebastien Bourdais (1): DPi – 2022

  • Pipo Derani (1): DPi – 2021

  • Misha Goikhberg (1): PC – 2016

  • Jack Hawksworth (1): GTD PRO – 2023

  • Mathieu Jaminet (1): GTP – 2023

  • Felipe Nasr (1): DPi – 2021

  • Renger van der Zande (1): DPi – 2022


Previous Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Pole Winners in 2024 Field (8)

  • Jordan Taylor (2): GTLM – 2021; GTD PRO – 2022

  • Ricky Taylor (2): P – 2015, 2017

  • Filipe Albuquerque (1): GTP – 2023

  • Sebastien Bourdais (1): DPi – 2022

  • Jack Hawksworth (1): GTD PRO – 2023

  • Felipe Nasr (1): DPi – 2021

  • Marco Sorensen (1): GTD – 2023

  • Nick Tandy (1): GTLM – 2019


Previous Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Winning Teams in 2024 Field (9)

  • Action Express Racing (3): P – 2018; DPi – 2019, 2021

  • BMW M Team RLL (3): GT – 2011, 2013; GTLM – 2015

  • Chip Ganassi Racing (3): DP – 2006; P – 2014; DPi – 2022

  • Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti (3): P – 2015, 2016, 2017

  • Flying Lizard Motorsports (2): GT2 – 2009; GT – 2010

  • Penske Racing (2): P2 – 2007; GTP – 2023

  • Heart of Racing Team (1): GTD PRO – 2022

  • JDC-Miller MotorSports (1): 2016 – PC

  • Vasser Sullivan (1): 2023 – GTD PRO


Previous Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach Winning Manufacturers in 2024 Field (11)

  • Chevrolet – 10

  • Porsche – 10

  • Cadillac – 5

  • BMW – 5

  • Acura – 3

  • Aston Martin – 2

  • Ferrari – 2

  • Lexus – 2

  • Ford – 1

  • Lamborghini – 1

  • Mercedes-AMG – 1


Flying Lizard Returns at Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Iconic Team Set for First WeatherTech Championship Start Since 2016

April 9, 2024

By Tony DiZinno

IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The history of North American sports car racing can’t be written without Flying Lizard Motorsports. Its IMSA legacy dates back 20 years to the American Le Mans Series era and its current program is spread across IMSA and SRO America paddocks.


However, it hasn’t made an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship start of any kind since the 2016 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, in a joint effort with Krohn Racing, with an Audi R8 LMS Ultra.


That will change with next week’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, when the Lizards will field the No. 28 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo with drivers Elias Sabo and Andy Lee in GT Daytona (GTD).


It will mark both Sabo and Lee’s WeatherTech Championship debuts, but it also is a welcome return for the Lizards both at Long Beach and for its program manager Darren Law.


Sabo, who joined the Flying Lizard fold in 2022, has progressed through his sports car career first in GT4 machinery and then this year up to GT3. The Southern California native had this race circled as a career “bucket list” item, and as Law explained, the stars aligned for what, at the moment, is a one-off WeatherTech Championship race.


“It’s close to home and something he’s always wanted to do,” Law said. “One of his companies, 5.11, is located in Southern California. There are suites, corporate personnel, lots of guests and a new GT3 car, so it all worked out!


“It’s a pretty big project for one race, but that’s the commitment we’ve shown for this effort. You have to sort things for IMSA like electronics, series monitoring and a different tire.


“But it’s important for Elias as a home race,” continued Law. “And important for us where it’s a homecoming back from the American Le Mans Series days to be back in IMSA!”


Law joked that while he couldn’t remember what he did earlier in the week, he could easily recall a runner-up finish co-driving with Patrick Long at Long Beach in a Flying Lizard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR back in 2007.


Current Lizard activities are far busier. The Long Beach weekend comes at the tail end of a whirlwind offseason where the team prepped its four Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America cars for the season opener at Sebring last month where they scored a win, two additional podiums and two pole positions, as well as its five SRO cars for the start of that season at Sonoma Raceway earlier this month. 


There’s another major project that’s encompassed the offseason. The team is in the process of transitioning from its Sonoma shop where it operated for 20 years to Apex Motor Club in Phoenix, where it should be operational by the end of April. As Law related, that’s as big a task – if not bigger – than traditional season prep.


“You don’t realize how much comes with 20 years of loading and unloading a shop until you do it,” he said. “You also don’t know how many boxes you need for trophies!”


In the team’s 11 full-season and two partial-season IMSA efforts, they earned six championship titles, 69 podiums, and 25 race wins. 


Though it shifted from a factory-supported effort to a primarily customer program in the last decade, its presence at the front of the field is expected whenever it competes.


That’s the legacy the Lizards established during its time in the WeatherTech Championship, through its prior guises. At Long Beach specifically, the team won twice with Porsches and added other success in other series in later years since its most recent start there in 2019.


For Law, Sabo and Lee at Long Beach though, the goal is slightly different: make the laps first, gain the experience for later, and soak up the joy that is one of the highlights on the calendar.


“Elias has a simulator, so he’s spent time driving the track and learning it,” Law said. “He has Andy as his coach and I’m so happy to help as well; I’ve done Long Beach many times in the past.


“Our goal is that this is his first foray into IMSA so it’s to enjoy the race, get through it and complete it. If we have a great result, that’s an added bonus.


“Long Beach as an event is super cool. I grew up in Southern California and have been going to this since I was a kid. And I still catch up with friends during the weekend.


“For a driver, it’s a bucket list and high-profile event to do. I loved racing there. It’s really neat for us to be able to do.”


The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is a 100-minute sprint race that features the GTD and Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) classes. USA Network and Peacock will carry flag-to-flag live coverage from 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 20.


To Change or Not to Change, That Is the Long Beach Tire Question

Porsche Penske Motorsport Used a No-Change Strategy a Year ago to Win; Will It Happen Again?

April 8, 2024

By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – As one of only two 100-minute sprint races on the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship calendar, the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach represents a significant change from the 24- and 12-hour endurance events that traditionally open the season.


Unlike the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac, competitors aren’t allowed the luxury of time to develop strategies and watch them play out. With less than two hours on the clock – and likely only one pit stop – there’s no time to waste.


That was on clear display on the Long Beach street course last year, when Porsche Penske Motorsport employed a radical strategy that delivered the hybrid-powered Porsche 963 prototype its first victory in international sports car racing competition. Having experienced difficulty getting the car’s tires up to temperature for qualifying – a shared challenge for all Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class entries at Long Beach last year given cool conditions with temperatures in the lower 60s – the Penske team elected to run the entire race without changing its Michelins.


Nick Tandy started the race from sixth place in the No. 6 Porsche but immediately moved up to second behind the Motul Pole Award-winning No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06 when Sebastien Bourdais crashed the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R at Turn 1, jumbling the field. The two Porsches, with Felipe Nasr in the No. 7, ran second and fifth for the first 30 laps until pit stops started. That’s when the Porsche crews sprung their no-tire-change surprise.


The Porsche pit stops were 10-12 seconds faster than that for the leading Acura, which as expected took on a fresh set of Michelin tires. That elevated Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 6 and Matt Campbell in the No. 7 Porsches into a 1-2 formation, with Ricky Taylor charging after them in the WTRAndretti Acura.


Also as expected, the Porsches lost speed as they experienced tire wear near the end of the race. Taylor forced his way past Campbell into second place, then set off after Jaminet. The Acura caught the No. 6 Porsche with just a handful of laps to go when Jaminet encountered Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class traffic, setting up a classic finish.


But Taylor misjudged a passing move into Turn 1 and drove into a tire barrier with less than three minutes remaining in the 100-minute contest. The race ended under caution, with Jaminet and the No. 6 Porsche triumphing over the No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8 driven by Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly. Campbell completed a 1-3 finish for Porsche in the No 7.

The result was hugely significant for Porsche, with the first victory for the Type 963 building on a legacy inspired by the successful 917, 956 and 962 prototypes from decades past.


“The Long Beach race will go down in history as one of the defining moments for our team,” said Jonathan Diuguid, managing director, Porsche Penske Motorsport. “That day in Southern California, we played the strategy game, which was certainly risky, but it paid off. Once the No. 6 car got out in front, the sister car played it perfectly to help defend the lead. That race was the starting point of our run for the IMSA championship and was a monumental moment for the team moving forward. The weekend is something we will never forget.”


Last year’s Long Beach race was important on a more fundamental level because it demonstrated how a well-planned and executed strategy can make all the difference in a WeatherTech Championship race – even one that is just 100 minutes in duration.


“That’s the beauty of sprint races in the IMSA series: There are always many conceivable scenarios, and sometimes a gamble pays off,” said Tandy. “It was clear to us before the start that we couldn’t win the race based on our pace. We didn’t have the fastest car. So, we thought through all possible strategies before race day and agreed not to change the tires. We didn’t know whether the tires would last the distance, but it worked out.”


In 2023, Long Beach was just the third race for each of the GTP class contenders, and all the competing manufacturers and teams were still very much in a learning phase. The cars have been painstakingly developed over the past 12 months for performance and reliability, and a much greater understanding exists now about how to get the best out of tires and the hybrid energy regeneration technology.


Will Long Beach ’24 come down to another daring pre-planned strategy, or will an unexpected mid-race event require everyone to regroup and make key decisions on the fly? Find out Saturday, April 20 starting at 4:30 p.m. ET, with live broadcast coverage on USA Network, Peacock and IMSA Radio.



Talk about Customer Service! Mercedes Has It with Winward Racing

The Marque Has Compiled Five GT Class Wins in the Last Four Races

April 4, 2024

By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Mercedes-AMG is on a four-race win streak in Grand Touring (GT) class competition in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. And Winward Racing has been the star performer for the three-pointed star in that stretch.


Winward’s current heater started at the TireRack.com Battle on the Bricks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last September in the penultimate round of the 2023 season, when Russell Ward and Philip Ellis took Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class honors in the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Joined by Indy Dontje, Ward and Ellis opened the ’24 GTD campaign with consecutive IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac.


The successful four-race run for the Mercedes-AMG GT3 actually includes five class wins, because the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes was the Grand Touring Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) winner at both Indianapolis and the ’23 season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.


“Of course, we are delighted that Winward Racing has made such a successful start into the 2024 season,” said Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing. “Over the years, a very good relationship and a very respectful and professional partnership has developed with the team. When we both use the full potential of each organization and cooperate on the best possible way, the more successful we are.


“With the current Mercedes-AMG GT3, we still offer our customer racing teams a great base to be successful at different tracks and under special conditions. We prove this again and again, both in IMSA and in other racing series around the world.”


From Lemons to Petit Le Mans


Co-owned by Ward and his father, Bryce, Winward Racing has always been a family affair.


“We were into cars and anything with an engine, really, from jet skis to four-wheelers to tractors,” related Russell Ward, who recently celebrated his 32nd birthday. “Whatever it was, we were on a daily basis messing with this stuff.

“We always watched IMSA and really loved the endurance racing,” Russell continued. “Just for fun, we put together a car for the 24 Hours of Lemons grassroots series, a Nissan 300ZX with a ‘Back to the Future’ theme we called ‘Back to the Past.’ We did our best to make it as reliable as possible, and that’s where we started doing any form of racing, really. Just really enjoyed that and put our heart and soul into optimizing every component of it.”


Whatever they did worked, because the Wards won six races in the "Back to the Past" ZX. For Russell, the next step was turning pro in 2017 with CJ Wilson Racing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, followed by the opportunity to form a team with his father that would be the first to field the GT4 version of the Mercedes-AMG GT in the Michelin Pilot Challenge.


Winward Racing found its feet in the WeatherTech Championship in 2021, running the endurance races at Daytona and Michelin Raceway. It operates a satellite team in Europe that provides the American arm with considerable engineering support.


“It slowly evolved into what it is now, never with the intent,” Ward said. “When we’d watch IMSA on TV, we always thought, ‘Aw, those guys are too good. We’ll never be near them, we’re hobby focused.’ As we got in there, we realized that we may be lacking experience, but we have the same tool set that the rest of these guys have – good reaction times, passion and a little bit of funding behind us to get it done. It’s just our drive to do better and optimize more and go faster and compete with the bigger competition and bigger teams, and five years later, here we are.”


Forgiving Car, Flawless Support


Neither of Winward’s 2024 victories have been simple or straightforward. They lined up 17th on the GTD grid at Daytona and 20th at Sebring (the latter the result of a technical infraction that negated a Motul Pole Award-winning lap from Ellis). But the No. 57 car came out on top both times, controlling the second half of both races.


“I always knew we had the pace, especially in the endurance races,” Ward said. “It’s awesome to feel it all come together. There’s a lot of people involved that work days and nights to get that race car out there and prep it perfectly. Plus, just the hunger of the guys on the engineering stand. We’re taking risks when we need to with strategy and we’re playing it safe when we need to. It’s hats off to those guys because they’ve pretty much performed flawlessly. We just kind of just need to do our jobs as drivers and bring it home in a clean fashion.”


For Wendl, Winward’s success is the product of a customer service philosophy that Mercedes-AMG has worked hard to perfect over the last decade. Introduced in 2016, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 received an Evo upgrade in 2019 and has quietly become one of the strongest cars in the GT classes. In addition to Winward, Korthoff/Preston Motorsports is operating a full-season Mercedes program in GTD this season and Lone Star Racing is competing in the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races.


“This makes us very happy and confirms that we have lived up to our claim and have developed an absolutely brilliant vehicle in technical terms,” Wendl stated. “In my opinion, it’s the combination of a 360-degree approach service package, starting with a competitive great car which has its strength in performance potential, drivability, user-friendliness and durability. Add established and well-experienced technical support at each race allocation paired with worldwide spare parts support on demand.


“Another deciding fact is the Winward team itself, which has a fantastic run so far,” he added. “In the past years, they invested a lot in infrastructure and developed their own staff enormously, which finally results in the successes we all saw in last races.”


Winward is in the process of finalizing its move into a new 40,000-square-foot base in Houston later this year.


Putting It All Together


Ellis, 31, of Swiss and English descent, has been a key part of Winward Racing’s growth and success. The Mercedes-AMG factory driver has been associated with Winward since 2020.

Winward’s hot start to 2024 is the culmination of learning and maturity, including on the part of Ellis himself. He admitted that he is approaching the new season with a renewed and reinvigorated approach.


“I think it’s just maturing in racing, gathering more experience; especially in IMSA itself, which is quite different to run compared to other series in Europe,” Ellis related. “I would say we always had the pace to run up front but couldn’t always nail that result for various reasons. We changed the approach a little and it just feels that the team and drivers have matured over the years. We sat down over the winter and looked at what was going wrong and why, and tried to change what we could change.


“I think the main reason they are so successful is they just enjoy being at the racetrack,” he added. “Everyone works to the same goal and they’re all hard workers. Mistakes happen, of course, but they just put down their heads and work toward the next one.”


Opening the season with back-to-back wins has put the Winward drivers in a comfortable position in terms of the GTD standings. But Ward and Ellis are slightly wary heading to the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 20, accepting that the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is at its best on fast, flowing road courses rather than the stop-start Long Beach street course, where a tight hairpin leads into a long straight.


“We all really enjoy Long Beach, but it’s never been the track for the Mercedes,” Ellis acknowledged, although the manufacturer did score a GTD victory there in 2017. “I think it’s the shortest race on the calendar and also one of the most challenging for gaining track position. It’s just such a high-risk track to make a big move because there’s no margin for errors.


“Thankfully, we can go into the event quite relaxed and just see what we have to try to get through the event scrape-free.”


The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is a 100-minute sprint race that features the GTD and Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) classes. USA Network and Peacock will carry flag-to-flag live coverage from 4:30-6:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 20.


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Street Smarts: IMSA’s Masters of the Temporary Circuit

Handful of Drivers Have Risen to the Top at Long Beach and Detroit

April 3, 2024

By Tony DiZinno

IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Conquering a street course on an IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship weekend requires laser-sharp focus and time-sensitive cognizance.


The heightened sense of intimidating concrete barriers lurks harder at the pair of traditional street course races in Long Beach and Detroit, as does a faster ticking clock since both races are a season-short 100 minutes.


Inevitably, some drivers have risen more to the top than others at these two locations over the last decade since the WeatherTech Championship unified as one series, after both were off-and-on separate schedules from 2006 through 2013.


Here are some to keep an eye on at the upcoming Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 19-20.


Taylor Brothers


Ricky and Jordan Taylor are inseparable here in terms of street course accolades. Both are now back in the top prototype class (now Grand Touring Prototype, GTP) on a street course for the first time since 2019. Somewhat surprisingly, neither has won at either track since 2017.


The brothers won overall co-driving for father Wayne Taylor from 2015 through 2017 at Long Beach and three out of four years in Detroit from 2014 to 2017. Jordan added two further Detroit wins in 2012 and ‘13, one apiece in GT and prototype to give him a total of five in the Motor City.


Jordan, fresh off a win alongside Louis Deletraz and Colton Herta in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac, has a pair of Long Beach poles in GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO). A third pole in as many classes would be quite a feat if he qualifies the No. 40 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Acura ARX-06.


On the challenge of qualifying at Long Beach, Jordan said after his 2021 pole: “Street courses are great and we love coming to them, but as a driver it’s very stressful when you have to get the maximum out of the car in a session like qualifying. It’s always nice to get through unscathed.”


Ricky shares the No. 10 Acura ARX-06 for WTRAndretti with Filipe Albuquerque; the Portuguese driver won at Long Beach back-to-back in 2018 and 2019, in a Cadillac.


Sebastien Bourdais

Bourdais has four wins in Long Beach – 2022 in IMSA and three in IndyCar – while also adding three wins in Detroit (2022 in IMSA, two in IndyCar). He’s also looking to atone from a first-lap lockup at this race last year.


His pole-to-last-to-first comeback drive in 2022 looms large, though, as he and Renger van der Zande go for their third street course win together as co-drivers in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing.


“When you have the confidence on a street course and really dig deep, you can really switch on the tires in a different way and get to a different level,” he said after his 2022 win.


“When you get in the zone and can really challenge the course and feel under control, it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced in a race car.”


Renger van der Zande


Lest Bourdais be viewed as Ganassi’s only street course horse, van der Zande has a better record in IMSA street courses than his teammate. The Dutchman has five street course wins to his name.


He shared the No. 01 car with Bourdais to win both Long Beach and Detroit in 2022, won with Kevin Magnussen at Detroit in 2021, and added a pair of Prototype Challenge class wins with Starworks Motorsport at Detroit in 2015 and 2016, setting the fastest race lap in each of them.


Katherine Legge

The GT Daytona (GTD) class is up for grabs at Long Beach this year with three-time winners Paul Miller Racing having moved to GTD PRO, and that class not on the Long Beach schedule. But Legge has as good a chance as any in the No. 66 Gradient Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 she shares with Sheena Monk at a track that put her on the map. She won her U.S. debut at Long Beach in Formula Atlantic in 2005 and will be inducted into the circuit’s Walk of Fame this year.


She won Acura’s first race for the NSX on the streets of Detroit co-driving with Andy Lally in 2017 and followed it up with an encore in 2018 alongside Mario Farnbacher. Coincidentally, Farnbacher, in his most recent Long Beach start, finished second with Gradient in 2022.


Nick Tandy


Tandy’s Long Beach win last year alongside Mathieu Jaminet in the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 drew headlines as it was the new car’s first global victory, inspired by a tire-saving double stint. On reflection, it wasn’t surprising that the Englishman won yet another street race.


It actually marked his third straight street course race win, albeit with somewhat unusual statistical records. Tandy won at both Detroit and Long Beach in the No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C8.R in GTLM in 2021, but the Detroit race did not count toward that year’s GTLM class championship.


He also won the GTLM race for Porsche in 2016 after emerging unscathed from a last-lap incident with two others and scored the Long Beach GTLM pole in 2019.


Felipe Nasr


The two-time WeatherTech Championship champion has two wins, two seconds and a third in seven total street course starts. His and Pipo Derani’s 2021 Long Beach win was pivotal in their title run that season. He’s paired this year with Dane Cameron in Penske’s No. 7 Porsche 963. Cameron has two Detroit wins, but none at Long Beach.


Frankie Montecalvo

While Montecalvo lacks the street course wins of others on this list, the series veteran is a solid GTD win contender in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3. He’s the only driver in GTD entered in 2024 with multiple podium finishes at the track, having scored third each of the last two years co-driving with Aaron Telitz.


Montecalvo also secured a third-place finish with Vasser Sullivan at Detroit's Belle Isle in 2019.


Roman De Angelis


A first Long Beach win seems imminent for De Angelis in his No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo. He was second at Long Beach last year, following up on second in Detroit in 2022 and a winner there in 2021.

Adelson, De Angelis Motoring to Long Beach with Momentum

The No. 120 Wright Motorsports Porsche and No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Drivers Want to Build on Their Promising Sebring Results

April 2, 2024

By Mark Robinson

IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Fresh off impressive performances in the latest IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race, a pair of veteran Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) teams integrating new elements in 2024 are looking to carry that momentum to the next race.


Wright Motorsports is fielding a pair of full-season drivers new to the WeatherTech Championship this year, yet that didn’t hold the No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) back from finishing third at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac on March 16. The Heart of Racing Team is still figuring out the new Evo version of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 yet managed a fourth-place result at Sebring in the No. 27 entry. As a result, drivers from both teams are looking ahead to the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach with renewed vigor following their Sebring successes.


Adam Adelson is paired with long-time driver coach Elliott Skeer in the No. 120 Wright Porsche. While the duo has raced together in other series, including last year with Nolasport in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, both made their WeatherTech Championship debut in January in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Teaming with Fred Makowiecki and Jan Heylen, they finished seventh before Adelson, Skeer and Heylen survived the bumps and surprises of Sebring to reach the GTD podium.


Adelson, who logged the opening three hours in the car, used the words “incredible” and “amazing” several times describing what it felt like to finish third in just his second series race. He battled through opening-lap contact with another car and a drive-through penalty for running the red light at pit exit before turning it over to Skeer and Heylen.


“To be able to have qualified the car, taken the start and did my first ever triple stint from the start all the way to the end of my minimum drive-time requirements makes it even more special for me,” Adelson said, “just because I felt like what I did out there on track and surviving what I survived and enduring what I endured really helped us get that result – more than my participation in some other races may have helped get good results. It's just an incredible feeling to participate in my second-ever WeatherTech race, my favorite one on the calendar at least as a fan, and to walk away with hardware.”

Roman De Angelis is in his fifth full season with the Heart of Racing Team. The seven-time race winner and 2022 GTD season champion teamed with fellow Canadian Zacharie Robichon and team principal Ian James at Sebring for the fourth-place showing, following the car’s early retirement at Daytona due to mechanical issues with the new Aston Martin Vantage making its debut.


“I don't think we had the outright pace of the (winning) Mercedes and the Porsche and even the (second-place) Ferrari in the GTD class, so honestly myself and the team were very happy with the fourth-place result,” De Angelis said. “If you consider all the events that happened in Sebring in those 12 hours like it always does, it's a bit of a messy race. If you could be sitting in the top five at the end of the race and gather some good points with a car that rolled into the trailer without any damage, it's always a good outlook.


“We'd like to win races and we'd like to get trophies, but there's one trophy at the end of the year that kind of matters the most that people remember,” De Angelis added. “So, we're just trying to build some points up after our struggle in Daytona and just keep progressing and keep getting good results.”


The No. 27 Aston Martin still sits a distant 14th in the GTD standings, 330 points behind the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 that’s won the first two events. The No. 120 Porsche is third in class, 155 points in back of the leader. But with eight races remaining and GTD fields ranging from 17 to 22 cars the rest of the way, no one has given up championship aspirations.


De Angelis believes the way the Aston Martin handled the notorious bumps of Sebring makes it a contender for the similarly rough street circuit in Long Beach.


“Actually, Long Beach is probably a bit smoother (than Sebring),” he said. “In the past we've had good success there – the (GTD PRO) car won there before, we had a podium there last year – so we know that the team understands what needs to be done in order to have a fast car at Long Beach. Once again, we're just going to go into that weekend and gather as many points as we can without making any mistakes.”


Adelson, meanwhile, is relying on the homecourt advantage since he lives in Los Angeles, as well as the 100-minute race length.


“Sprint format is really where I have all of my experience,” he said, “so I feel like the mentality of just full pedal to the metal for the entirety of the races is honestly the one that I'm more comfortable with and have more experience with.


“I have a special affinity towards street tracks,” Adelson added. “I love them, I love the high-risk nature of them and the precision driving that they require. And it's my home race too; I live in Los Angeles and it makes me even more excited to be able to sleep in my own bed, take my dog for a walk in the morning and then show up at the racetrack. It gives you an additional level of relaxation and mental clarity that I feel like you might not be able to get when you're traveling.”


The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach begins with practice and qualifying on Friday, April 19. The race airs live at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, April 20 on USA Network. Tickets are available at gplb.com.


  FR Americas and F4 U.S 


Formula Regional Americas Championship & Formula 4 United States Championship, Powered by Honda:  The FIA-certified Formula 4 United States Championship (F4 U.S.) & Formula Regional Americas Championship (FR Americas) are designed as entry-level open-wheel racing series offering young talent the opportunity to demonstrate their skills on an international platform while keeping affordability and safety as key elements. The Championships align with the global FIA development ladder philosophy of using common components to provide a cost-efficient, reliable and powerful racing structure as drivers ascend through the levels on their way to U.S. or global racing success. The F4 U.S. Champion is awarded a scholarship to compete the following season in FR Americas, while the FR Americas Champion is awarded a Super Formula Scholarship from Honda Performance Development and Honda Racing Corporation.