On the streets of Long Beach (USA) next Saturday will be the third race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. This is the first sprint event of the year and the shortest distance between the two endurance classics at Daytona and Sebring (both in the United States).
In the streets of Long Beach, USA, the third race of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will take place next Saturday. This is the first and shortest sprint event of the year, coming after the long-distance classics at Daytona and Sebring in the United States. BMW M Team RLL is riding high after its podium result at Sebring and will bring two BMW M Hybrid V8s to California to compete in the GTP class. There will be three BMW M4 GT3s competing in the GTD class.
The BMW M Team RLL drivers will face a new challenge in this year's 100-minute race, the shortest in the IMSA season. Only Connor De Phillippi (USA) is familiar with the unique street circuit; Nick Yelloly (GBR) and Augusto Farfus (BRA) and Philipp Eng (AUT) in the #25 BMW M Hybrid V8 will be making their first appearances there. All BMW M works drivers have put in extra time in the simulator and will do all in their power to improve upon their second-place result at Sebring. Performance in qualifying, which will play a significant factor on the challenging layout, will be given more weight this time around.
With two GTD class wins under their belt, Paul Miller Racing is confident heading into Long Beach. Recent Sebring and Long Beach victories went to American drivers Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow. They eventually won the 2022 GTD Sprint championship as a team. Turner Motorsport's #96 BMW M4 GT3 will be driven by American drivers Robby Foley and Patrick Gallagher. For the sprint races, Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull will move their starting-number 95 vehicle from the GTD PRO class to the GTD class (both USA).
On Saturday, April 15 at 14:05 local time, the 2019 Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach will get underway (23:05 CEST).
Quotes ahead of the race:
Bobby Rahal (Team Principal BMW M Team RLL): “Long Beach is always a great event and we’ve had very good success there in past seasons with BMW M Motorsport. This year, with the BMW M Hybrid V8, it’s an entirely different animal. But as always, at a tight street circuit, where it’s tough to pass, a good qualifying effort is paramount.”
Augusto Farfus (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8): “Long Beach will be a challenge for both me and Philipp Eng. I believe we may be the only pair to have never driven this circuit. It is certainly a race I have been looking forward to and looks to be a very exciting event. I have been watching many videos. We will push hard to get up to speed. The team made some good improvements to our BMW M Hybrid V8 at Sebring, and we will look to continue to close the gap to our competition.”
Philipp Eng (#24 BMW M Hybrid V8): “I am very much looking forward to racing at Long Beach, which is a new track for me. I have done a million laps around there on the simulator, so I can’t wait to race there in real life. We took some major steps at Sebring and our whole team is working very diligently so we keep improving.”
Connor De Phillippi (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8): “Long Beach is always a special event for us. It’s the shortest race of the year, our only street course, and the strategic possibilities are endless. On top of that, we have a nice wave of momentum from our Sebring podium and the entire team is making a big push to bring a lot of improvements from every department. We don’t have prototype experience there but I’m confident we can learn from last year and fight for another podium.”
Nick Yelloly (#25 BMW M Hybrid V8): “I am really looking forward to racing at Long Beach. It will be my first time there, as with most of the tracks in the US. After having watched it for many years on TV, to be finally driving is a dream come true, as I love street circuits. We will be looking to continue to make progress as we did in Sebring with our BMW M Hybrid V8 and hopefully be at the sharp end of the field.”
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