Long Beach: Corsa Motorsports preview

CORSA MOTORSPORTS' PRUITT RETURNS TO LONG BEACH WITH NEW RESPONSIBILITIES AS TEAM OWNER Original Event Stakeholder Excited about Team's Participation in Famed Street Race SALT LAKE CITY - For 33 years Steve Pruitt has watched the Long ...

CORSA MOTORSPORTS' PRUITT RETURNS TO LONG BEACH WITH NEW RESPONSIBILITIES AS TEAM OWNER

Original Event Stakeholder Excited about Team's Participation in Famed Street Race

SALT LAKE CITY - For 33 years Steve Pruitt has watched the Long Beach Grand Prix from the sidelines as a stakeholder in the event. Year 34 will different as he will return to the site as team owner and principal of Corsa Motorsports in the American Le Mans Series, fielding the No. 48 Ferrari LMGT.

Pruitt is one of the original stakeholders of the event and remembers vividly the occurrences that led up to the first race in the City of Long Beach in 1975. Since then he has watched it develop into one of the premier street circuit events in the United States.

"I remember when Chris Pook came up with the idea," Pruitt recalls. "Basically, the question was, 'Why can't we do what they are doing over in Monaco right here?' And so be it, he did the work, brought the right people together to make it happen, and 34 years later here we are at one of the nation's most famous street races. I'd say this is one of the absolute best settings for a race; southern California is beautiful this time of year."

Looking back at the development of the weekend event, Pruitt thinks it's one of the best things that happened for the area.

"The race was brought to the city in a time when Long Beach really needed the economic development. The cooperation of the city has been instrumental in making this event such a success year-in and year-out, and Long Beach has really benefited over the years because now you're talking about one of the A-league event weekends in the United States and one of the crown jewels in American motorsports."

From its beginning as a Formula 5000 race in 1975, to the transition for Formula One and Champ Car and addition of American Le Mans Series racing, Pruitt has seen it all. This year, watching the events of the weekend will be more rewarding than ever.

"It really excites me to bring Corsa Motorsports to Long Beach as a competitor in the ALMS race," he says. "Coming back as a competitor makes the investment come full circle for me and I hope there is some good karma there for us."

Corsa Motorsports finished fourth in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at St. Petersburg, fighting its way from eighth-place at the start of the race. Pruitt feels his team will bring a positive attitude and great momentum with it for the Tequila Patron American Le Mans at Long Beach.

"Fortunately, a lot will carry over for us," he explains. "Obviously we were disadvantaged at St. Pete because we had such limited practice time on the Dunlop tires and haven't since tested the tires as we would have preferred considering there is so little time to prepare the car at Long Beach. As time and testing allows, we are hopeful of learning more about the tire Dunlop has provided for the team. We've got time scheduled between Long Beach and the event at Miller Motorsports Park next month for testing."

Corsa Motorsports' fourth-place finish at St. Pete came after only two hours of practice time with its tires, but Pruitt and crew were simply thankful of taking the green flag after missing the 12 Hours of Sebring.

"We couldn't change any set ups because of the limited amount of time on track at St. Pete, but we have some ideas on how to attack Long Beach," he says enthusiastically. "It's a little faster than St. Pete, and as street circuits tend to be, it has the added degree of difficulty using city streets that tend to be crowned. In a lot of respects, because of the setting, it's not as tight as St. Pete. Both Johnny [Mowlem] and Gunnar [Jeannette] did a fantastic job last time out. We're just looking forward to a strong weekend and are hopeful we can maintain our momentum."

The green flag of the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach will drop Saturday, April 19th, at 4:00 p.m. PDT and is scheduled for 100 minutes. ABC will broadcast tape-delayed coverage Sunday at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Live timing and scoring of each on-track session and the American Le Mans Series Radio Web broadcast can be found at www.AmericanLeMans.com.

-credit: cm

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Series ALMS
Drivers Chris Pook , Steve Pruitt