ROCK HILL, S.C. (April 4, 2017) – The third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes CORE autosport to one of the most famous temporary circuits in the world; the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix takes place on the streets of Long Beach, California.
Featuring the Prototype, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona categories, this year’s event features the largest field IMSA has ever brought to the 1.968-mile, 11-turn street course. Thirty-five cars are slated to take the green flag for the 100-minute race, 16 of them GTD cars. With minimal passing opportunities and a full race track, qualifying, pit lane performance and race strategy will be critical to a win at Long Beach.
Jon Bennett and Colin Braun are no strangers to Long Beach, but once again they face a familiar circuit in an unfamiliar vehicle: the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 R. It will be the duo’s first time running the GTD car on a street circuit. The Porsche offers more forgiving suspension, plus traction control and ABS, as compared to the Prototype Challenge car they raced together at Long Beach in 2012, 2013 and 2016.
- CORE won the PC class at Long Beach in 2011, 2012 and 2013.
- This year’s Long Beach race is earlier in the day (1pm local time) than previous years.
- CORE’s No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 will be on display for fans at Thunder Thursday in the Pike Outlets. The event starts at 6:30pm local time.
- Long Beach is the only race that will be broadcast live, in its entirety on FOX.
- IMSA shares the weekend with the Verizon IndyCar Series and Pirelli World Challenge.
“Colin and I have had good results at Long Beach in recent years and we are both excited to bring the Porsche GT3 R to the streets of Long Beach. The Porsche’s sophisticated suspension is more compliant than the prototype; this will give us the freedom to use more of the race course, including the curbs.
“The set up is tough at Long Beach because the race course is constantly changing grip level from the first session right through the end of the race. We will start with a set up that suits a slippery surface and adapt to the grip for every on track outing.
“Traffic will be a challenge and should be quite interesting for the race fans. The speeds of the GTLM and GTD cars are similar. Combined, there will be 25 GT type cars. Finding passing opportunities for the faster prototypes will be a challenge in many areas of the circuit.
“Our team’s spirits are high despite our slower than usual start. We all understand the ups and downs of motorsport. We also realize the effort required to adapt to a new race car platform. Despite the quality of the 2017 GTD field, I expect to see CORE autosport on the top of the podium in the near future.”
“I think the biggest change from PC to GTD is going to be how the classes interact together. In the PC cars we were the second-fastest class on track, but with the GTD cars, we’ll be the slowest class, so the interaction might be a bit easier, but we’ll have more cars to contest with. A lot of people are unsure what to expect on the GTD side, because it’s the first time this class has gone to Long Beach. I’m as interested as anyone to see what it will look like.
“The biggest challenge for us when it comes to setup is the schedule. We’re the first thing on track Friday morning and it’s usually very dusty and dirty. We have all of our practice and qualifying on Friday and then we don’t race until Saturday afternoon. It’s hard to set your car up for what the race will be like when there’s a lot more rubber and grip on the track. We’re always trying to set it up to be strong on Saturday and trying to know what that feels like on Friday is always a challenge.
“Going from a PC car to a GTD car, we’ll be able to use a little bit more of the apex curving. We won’t be getting any closer to the wall though; I’ve already been scraping all of those in some fashion or other in the PC car! There’s not a lot more room to be had! It should be a nice addition for us to have traction control and ABS though, which we did not have the last time we were at Long Beach.”
BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach | April 7- 8
Track Length: 1.968 miles, 11 turns
Race Length: 100 minutes
SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)
Friday, April 7
10:40am – 12:40pm: Practice #1 (All Classes)
7:45pm – 8:10pm: Practice #2 (All Classes)
8:20pm – 8:35pm: Qualifying (GTD Class)
Saturday, April 8
12:45pm – 1:30pm: Driver Autograph Session
4:05pm – 5:45pm: BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach
TV SCHEDULE (All times Eastern)
Friday, April 7
7:30pm – 9:15pm: IMSA.com
LIVE Race U.S.:
Saturday, April 8
4:00pm – 6:00pm: FOX
Full flag-to-flag coverage is available on FOX Sports GO with FS1 authentication
LIVE Race International:
3:50pm – 5:45pm: IMSA.com
LIVE In-Car Cameras & Commentary: