Long Beach commentary from Risi Competizione Technical Director Rick Mayer. The track: The hairpin leading on to the front straight is the slowest corner of all the tracks we go to (40Kph/25Mph). But an important one as it leads onto the ...
Long Beach commentary from Risi Competizione Technical Director Rick Mayer.
The hairpin leading on to the front straight is the slowest corner of all the tracks we go to (40Kph/25Mph). But an important one as it leads onto the longest straight. The hairpin is the same speed for all the classes and will potentially create a bottle neck in the race. The balance of the corners, with the exception of the fountain turn and the hairpin, are straight 90 degree corners. Apex concrete patches change the way the car reacts through the corner. The concrete will increase in grip as it gets " rubbered in"; this will change throughout the race. The general balance tendency here is under-steer (typical slow speed corner issue), with traction being an issue off the hairpin because of its very low speed. The track is relatively smooth, especially for a street track. There are only minor bumps in some of the braking zones.
We have a good base setup from last year, and 3X more practice time this year. The track is smooth enough to run the car to the limit of the ride height rule (50mm minimum). You need good brakes, but the track isn't particularly hard on brakes. There's enough distance between corners (brake applications) to cool them down. The rear tires get a work out due to the slow nature of the corners (most below 100Kph/62mph); we'll setup and tune around this traction requirement, while not increasing under- steer. The car needs platform support for the change of direction in the fountain turn only and the ability to brake into the corners that are 90 degrees. Dampers will not account for a major portion of tuning as bumps aren't an issue. Long Beach's top speed is high for a street course (255Kph/158Mph). We'll use all the gears on the track here.
The race is 100 minutes, same as last year. The minimum driver time is 30 min and the fuel is good for about 60+ minutes. This leaves a big window for a caution flag one stop race. Last year, surprisingly, there was only one caution. The strategy should be pretty straight forward. Pit work will likely gain or loose the lead out of the pits. A green flag stop (late race pit) will have the entire field short filling on fuel. Anyway you look at it, the pit stop will be critical here. The Risi team is very quick on tire changes and the drivers' change is fast. The pit work should be good, but we could use some luck at this event. We've consistently had fast cars, but we're 0 for 2 for the season and that needs to change.