WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – Long Beach
The course at Long Beach is a 1.968-mile, 12-turn temporary street circuit that encircles the Convention Center and runs down scenic Shoreline Drive.
The course offers numerous overtaking opportunities, including Turn 1. Getting the hairpin turn correct just before the front stretch is critical to a good lap at Long Beach.
With 4.7 hours of track time - including the 100 minute race - teams are designated eight sets of tires but are estimated to average four to five sets usage each. Continental Tire has designated the P1000/P1111 as the Prototype dry tire. The new Prototype rain tire, the W3, is not expected to be used this weekend, but will be available to teams if the need arises.
Though only two classes will run at Long Beach there will be more Prototypes in action this year with 14 entered. The 2017 race had nine Prototypes and the 2016 race had seven Prototypes in competition.
FROM THE DRIVER’S SEAT
Joao Barbosa, No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi What is the tire strategy for a street race like Long Beach?
“It really depends. Long Beach is a really short race but it’s very demanding on the tires because not a lot of cars run there. So it is a very clean race track and it takes a lot from the tires before it rubbers up. It’s a big challenge for the team to keep up with the tires because the wear of the tires is not the same from the first session to the race day (once many cars have driven on track). On race day, the tires can last a lot longer and pit stops are a lot shorter so you have to stretch your tires a lot longer so you don’t lose as much time on pit lane. It’s a big challenge for the drivers not to overuse the tires and for the team to choose the right strategy and still be quick at the end of the race. In the past, the tires have been really good and we’ve been able to stretch the tires almost to a double stint to the end of the race so we can gain track position which is very important.”
What section of the Long Beach circuit is most important for a perfect lap?
“Wow! Well all of the track is important! You have no room for a mistake – you have walls all around the track so every section is very important to push hard. I would even say just the last corner which is a very, very tight hairpin. If you don’t get it right, you lose all the speed all the way down the straight and because it’s such a slow speed corner it’s very easy to lose a lot of time there and not even realize it. It’s probably one of the trickiest corners of the whole season and it’s one of the most important as well.”