Long Beach Grand Prix

Long Beach, Calif – The Long Beach Grand Prix weekend is the one of my favorites to attend. It is certainly something to see and ?do.? With its trendy downtown location, it?s an event that a lot of people that attend say it?s the best street race in the country. And with all the history and all the historic racecar drivers that have raced here over the years just add to that mix. It has all the ingredients, beautiful weather, women, fast cars and even faster women. Also, this year is special because it was the last Champ Car race-ever. The American LeMans Series (ALMS) kicked off the weekend on Saturday with the Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach.

One had to put their money on the powerful and speedy Penske Porsches to win. They really dominated the race last year and the Team Penske cars continued that domination by grabbing the two top spots on the speed charts on Friday. I was talking to Romain Dumas and he felt really confident about the race. The Audi team on the other hand felt they would have an uphill climb in order to have a chance to win. The heavier Audi is not good at Long Beach or any street course for that matter. But, both Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner felt good about the race. They were closer to the Porsches then they were last year and the win at the last race in St. Pete helped with their confidence. Luhr really likes running the street races and said who ever gets through traffic the best would win. The race in Long Beach is the shortest of the year for the ALMS, so this was a sprint race with one stop for fuel.

The race was vey exciting with a good start by Penske-Porsche driver, Patrick Long. However, the Audi’s this day were the best in traffic and gave the Porsche team a run for their money. Using the torque and overall speed of the Audi R10 TDI, Werner sped across the finish line 1.964 seconds ahead of teammate Emanuele Pirro in the No. 2 Audi. It was Audi?s first 1-2 overall win since last year at St. Pete. Werner passed the Penske-Porsche of Dumas with just over ten minutes left in the event. Pirro in the second Audi also got past Dumas later in the race. After the race Audi driver, Lucas (Luhr) said it was great win here and car was great in traffic. “Marco got to do the same thing I did last race at St. Pete,” Luhr said. “Now I know how it feels. I couldn’t watch it. The team said it would be OK, but I said I’m too old, I can’t watch!” The Porsche RS Spyders had a tough race and their eight straight class win record of class wins (P-2) was broken by the Highcroft Acura driven by David Braham and Scott Sharp. Brabham made a daring pass on Dumas on the penultimate lap. It was the first win for the new Acura ARX-01b since its debut at Sebring last year. “This feels incredible,” said Sharp after the race (his first Series win), “These are the types of accomplishments the team is looking for this year. Anytime you can get one-up on Roger Penske’s team, you’ve done something. We were well back Thursday and I can’t say enough about the job the team did to get the car back.”

The No. 3 Corvette of Johnny O?Connell and Jan Magnussen took the win in GT1 class. It was Corvette Racing’s second GT1 victory of the season. The duo of O?Connell and Magnussen finished 1.374-seconds over the sister car of Olivier Beretta and Oliver Gavin. Magnussen began the race from the class pole position, as he and O’Connell led from the break.

In the GT2 class, it was Dirk Mueller and Dominik Farnbacher first to the checkers. It was Tafel Racing’s second straight GT2 victory as the Tafel Ferrari F430 GT held off Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR two pronged attack of Wolf Henzler and second Porsche of Patrick Pilet. Mueller stood off the challenges of Henzler and J

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