IMSA Long Beach Pre-Race News and Notes

BMW starting off on the back foot
The two BMW M4 GT3s that lost their best laps in qualifying yesterday following post-race technical inspection exceeded the IMSA-mandated engine speed limit of 7,000 rpm by three laps. The No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M4 GT3 and the No. 96 Turner Motorsports lost their best laps and will start further back than they initially qualified. The No. 25 will start near last in the field, sixth among GTD PRO cars, while the No. 96 will start eighth in GTD, 18th overall. There is no official explanation from either BMW or IMSA as to what conditions led to cars from two different teams having the problem, other than a suggestion that the IMSA-specified top speed may differ from the car’s FIA homologation. Paul Miller Racing’s No. 1 BMW that qualified on pole GTD was unaffected.

do it early
The 100-minute race is traditionally run in a single stop for DPi cars with at least one caution over the entire course on the tight street circuit. Without the yellow, teams say they can’t go full throttle, making only one stop to refuel. Polesitter Sebastien Bourdais says that ideally caution comes early and only then will teams know where they stand. If it doesn’t arrive quickly, drivers should go into fuel conservation mode. Other than that, Bourdais is obviously happy with his starting position before handing the No. 01 to Renger van Der Zande.
“When you have a hundred-minute race that is basically a stop and almost total inability to overtake unless you get caught in traffic and make a mistake or something really bad happens, [qualifying] is obviously quite important. So yes, we have prepared for the best possible situation and scenario, but there are still 100 minutes of racing left,” he said.

Korthoff’s duo are off to a good start
Korthoff Motorsports, for the first two races of the season known as Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports, is off to a fantastic start to 2022, taking podium finishes at Daytona and Sebring and leading the GTD points. Mike Skeen will start the No. 32 Mercedes-AMG GT second in GTD today before handing the car over to Stevan McAleer, who will be making his first visit to the streets of Long Beach.
“This race is interesting for us because no matter what happens today, we are still the overall championship leaders,” McAleer said. “This is towards the sprint points. That does not mean that we do not want a trophy and fight for the podium. And you know, Mike did a great job yesterday. In all honesty, he’s had a bit of a rhythm with me this weekend. But it’s my first time in Long Beach – my goal is to be faster and keep the car away from the walls. Easier said than done, but I’m certainly not going to hand positions over to people. I’m here to win the races just like Mike and if we’re anywhere at the end I hope it’s exciting.”

The duo hope to put on a good show for team owner Herb Korthoff, who recently fell ill and is recovering in the hospital.

a sense of history
Work stopped in the IMSA paddock for a few minutes this morning as teams, holding phones up to record video, flocked to the fence to watch the historic GTP cars racing in practice. The field included a variety of GTP and Group C machinery from the 1980s and 1990s, including a pair of Porsche 962s, an Eagle Toyota MKIII, a Jaguar XJR-10, and a Mazda RX-792P.

The 100-minute race, the third of the season for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the first sprint race, will air on USA Network. The green flag is scheduled to fly at 5:05 pm ET, 2:05 pm local time. Commentary will also be broadcast on IMSA Radio.

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