Points leader looking forward to Long Beach

Joao Barbosa holds the points lead, and heads to a track he hasn't seen since 1997.

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship prototype points leader Joao Barbosa and his Action Express team are looking to extend their lead heading into the first of two street races on this year's schedule. Long Beach and Detroit will require different approaches than the natural road courses that complete the TUDOR Championship schedule.

"Long Beach was only my second race in the United States back in 1997," Barbosa said. "The track configuration has changed, so I'm curious to see what I will find when I get there this weekend. I had a good race back in '97 finishing fourth, but our goal at Action Express is more than that. As championship leaders, we would like to leave Long Beach in the same position."

The series has raced on the modified oval circuit at Daytona and the natural road course in Sebring. Long Beach demands a different discipline.

P class victory lane: class and overall winners Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Sébastien Bourdais
P class victory lane: class and overall winners Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Sébastien Bourdais

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

"I don't think, set-up wise, that we will be that much different from Sebring. At Sebring we were using max downforce and I think Long Beach will not be too different. Also as everyone knows, Sebring is very bumpy and it's necessary to have a very good shock package. Long Beach, because it's a street course, would be the same with slightly less grip. We need to find the right gear ratios and find the right damper package to find the most grip possible. There are also the concrete barriers, that line the track, to keep in the back of your mind."

Another twist on the weekend is a reduced race schedule. The TUDOR Championship race will take the green flag at 6:10 p.m. Saturday and run for only 100-minutes.

"In a two-hour race, strategy will play a big role. Track position will be very important so we have to be aware of that and use the safety car procedure the best we can and not to lose any time. With two drivers, we have to be aware of the minimum mandatory driving time to get championship points, but you definitely don't want to leave that driver change for too late in the race."

ZF Motorsports

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About this article
Series IMSA
Drivers Christian Fittipaldi , Sébastien Bourdais , Joao Barbosa , Eric Gilbert
Article type Preview
Tags action express racing, corvette, daytona, detroit, joao barbosa, long beach, sebring, tudor united sports cars championship