California Dreaming

The Penske Acuras are getting a BoP break for Long Beach. [Photo by Jack Webster]

The Penske Acuras are getting a BoP break for Long Beach. [Photo by Jack Webster]

By Eddie LePine

IMSA’s 50th Anniversary season is well underway, with Rounds 1 & 2 of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship already in the record books. At the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Cadillac took the overall victory, with the Wayne Taylor squad besting a very strong field. At Sebring, which this year also featured the FIA-WEC series on Friday, Cadillac once again rose to the top, with the Whelen Engineering team winning overall.

In the manufacturer battleground of GTLM, BMW took the win at Daytona while Porsche won at Sebring.

Those first two races set the stage for the third round of the 2019 championship which will be held this week at Long Beach – the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix.

This race, which unlike the first two events on the calendar is not an endurance contest, but the shortest race of the entire season at 100 minutes, promises to be a rough and tumble contest through the unforgiving streets of Long Beach. Also, unlike the first two races, this one will feature only two classes of IMSA WeatherTech competition: the DPi and GTLM classes. Taking a break this week will be the GTD and LMP2 teams, who will not be racing in California. This race is being held on Saturday, April 13 as part of the Grand Prix weekend (the IndyCars run on Sunday). You can tune in and watch the IMSA race on NBCSN on Saturday at 5pm EDT.

For the race, look for a challenge to Cadillac by the Penske Acura outfit, which has been given a BoP break for Long Beach. Also, Mazda, which has been fast so far this season (but fragile) should be in the hunt. Will Long Beach be their breakout event? Time will tell.

In GTLM, it is probably anyone’s race to win (or lose), but don’t count out Corvette who always seem to do well in California and won GTLM at Long Beach last year.

I will be on hand all week, getting the behind the scenes stories from around the paddock and directly from the drivers. I am looking forward to my annual visit to Long Beach.

If the first two races of IMSA’s 50th year are any indication, Long Beach this year will be a classic. Right now, IMSA has the best sports car racing on the planet and continues to go from strength to strength. Things are certainly looking good going into the future – it’s a great time to be a sports car fan in America.

Share Button