Corvette DP duo from Wayne Taylor Racing to defend victory in Sports Car GP at Long Beach

CORE autosport has winning history as PC Class joins Grand Prix field

Daytona Beach, Fla. – If history is any indication, participating in Saturday’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach could be just what the doctor ordered for Wayne Taylor Racing and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP driven by Ricky and Jordan Taylor.

The brothers are the defending winners of the 100-minute sprint race on the historic California street circuit after finishing second in the inaugural IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race in 2014. The Taylors opened the season by finishing second in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, but placed 12th in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida to fall to sixth in the Prototype standings.

The race will be televised live on Saturday beginning at 7 p.m. ET on FS2 and the FOX Sports Go app. The race will re-air on Sunday, April 17, at 12:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

“We have been to Long Beach twice and we unloaded with a good car right off the bat,” Ricky Taylor said. “The Corvette has always suited the tight corners and hard braking at Long Beach. Track position is very important and qualifying is a premium, which we have managed to achieve a good result both times.”

“We’ve always seemed to run well on both street courses and sprint races,” added Jordan Taylor. “We’ve had a first and second at Long Beach, and then two wins at Detroit. Everything has to go right in these races, from the drivers maximizing every lap, to the guys in the pits for that one crucial stop, to the strategy. So I think it just shows how well our team executes in those situations.”

The team faces stiff challenges from a trio of Corvette DPs, a Honda-powered Ligier JS P2, a pair of Mazda Prototypes and the Panoz DeltaWing Racing coupe.

Visit Florida Racing has an all new driver lineup in the No. 90 Corvette DP that finished third at Long Beach a year ago, with Marc Goossens joined by 2012 IndyCar Series champion and Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Action Express Racing returns with the same driver lineups that took fourth and fifth at Long Beach in 2015. Eric Curran and Dane Cameron share the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP, while 2014-15 Prototype champions Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa co-drive the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP.

Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian fields the No. 60 Honda Ligier JS P2 of Ozz Negri and John Pew that won the pole at Sebring; Mazda Motorsports saw both of its cars finish in the top 10 at Sebring, with Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 55 Mazda/Castrol/ModSpace entry and Tom Long and Joel Miller in the No. 70 entry; and Katherine Legge will be joined by Long Beach newcomer Andy Meyrick in the No. 0 Panoz DeltaWing Racing coupe that led the Rolex 24.

Prototype Challenge Class Makes WeatherTech Championship Debut At Long Beach

The Prototype Challenge (PC) class will be making its WeatherTech Championship debut at Long Beach. CORE autosport – which won a pair of races at the circuit under ALMS sanction – will have the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite ORECA FLM09 for co-drivers Jon Bennett and Colin Braun. Bennett and Braun also were winners of the most recent WeatherTech Championship race at Sebring and won the 2013 PC race at Long Beach for the team.

Another returning PC winner at Long Beach is Alex Popow, who joins Renger van der Zande in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport entry. Popow drove to the class victory with CORE autosport in 2012. Starworks also will field the No. 88 Popcorn Sutton ORECA for Ashley Freiberg and Mark Kvamme.

“I’ve always enjoyed racing at the city tracks, and I’ve done well at all of them,” Popow said. “I think we’ve got a good shot to win if everything goes OK with the car. Long Beach is an exciting track with a lot of history, and I like winning important races at important tracks.”

Tom Kimber-Smith and Robert Alon – who hails from nearby Santa Monica, California – lead the PC standings coming off a pair of runner-up finishes in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09. They have a one-point lead, 66-65, over the Rolex 24 At Daytona class-winning No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Hi-Tide Boat Lifts/Red Line Oil entry of Misha Goikhberg and Stephen Simpson.

Other PC entries include the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports Top 1 Oil ORECA of Hollywood’s Tomy Drissi and Johnny Mowlem, and the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports entry of James French and Kyle Marcelli.

Practice for the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach begins at 7:40 a.m. PT on Friday, April 15, with qualifying that afternoon beginning at 5:35 p.m. PT. The race takes the green flag at 4:05 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 16.

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About this article
Series IMSA
Event Long Beach
Track Streets of Long Beach
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Marc Goossens , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Katherine Legge , Jordan Taylor , Jonathan Bomarito , Jon Bennett , Alex Popow
Teams Michael Shank Racing
Article type Preview