IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams got the better part of three hours of practice Friday (April 14) on the 1.968-mile street circuit in Long Beach, Calif. After all of that track time, Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s Tom Blomqvist was fastest in his Acura ARX-06 with a lap at 100.649 mph.
Practice No. 1
IMSA teams were on-course bright and early at 9 a.m. PT Friday morning for 60 minutes of practice. As is the norm for an early morning street course session, there were a series of minor instances of drivers missing turns. Gradient Racing’s Sheena Monk ended up in the runoff. So did BMW’s Connor de Phillippi and Forte Racing powered by USRaceTronics’ Misha Goikhberg.
Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport’s Ricky Taylor was fastest overall with a lap at 98.479 mph. The lap was .858 seconds quicker than Blomqvist. Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Mathieu Jaminet was third in his Porsche 963 with teammate Matt Campbell behind. BMW M Team RLL’s Augusto Farfus was fifth.
In the GT ranks, The Heart of Racing’s Alex Riberas was fastest in GTD Pro with a lap at 89.338 mph, ninth overall in his Aston Martin. Riberas was .071 seconds faster than VasserSullivan’s Jack Hawksworth. Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia was third fastest, then Patrick Pilet and Daniel Juncadella.
Kelly-Moss Road & Race’s Alec Udell was fastest in GTD with a lap at 89.130 mph, third fastest of all GT drivers in 11th overall. Udell’s lap was two-tenths of a second faster than Loris Spinelli in the Forte Racing with USRaceTronics Lamborghini. Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers was third in his BMW, then Wright Motorsports’ Trent Hindman. Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR’s Mario Farnbacher was fifth in his Acura.
Practice No. 2
In the afternoon practice, there were even more trips to the runoff. The quickest team of the day was not immune as Colin Braun failed to make turn 6 and had to recover himself.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais went straight at the end of Seaside Way and could not get himself turned around. This incident drew the one and only red flag of the day.
The final 15 minutes of the session, reserved for the GTP and GTD Pro cars, once again saw the fastest laps of the day.
Blomqvist’s lap was .323 seconds faster than Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport’s Filipe Albuquerque. BMW M Team RLL’s Nick Yelloly was third, followed by Action Express Racing’s Alexander Sims. Farfus was fifth in the second BMW M Hybrid V8.
In GTD Pro, Hawksworth was fastest in his Lexus with a lap at 90.975 mph. The lap was nearly a second and a half faster than Riberas’ quick time from the morning and is an unofficial track record for the class.
Hawksworth’s lap was .424 seconds faster than the Porsche of Pfaff Motorsports’ Pilet. Garcia was third, then The Heart of Racing’s Ross Gunn and Juncadella.
Farnbacher was fastest in GTD with a lap at 90.234 mph, fifth best of all GT drivers. The lap was .056 seconds faster than AO Racing’s Sebastian Priaulx. The Heart of Racing’s Marco Sorensen was third in his Aston Martin, then VasserSullivan’s Frankie Montecalvo. Inception Racing’s Frederic Schandorff, despite a spin for teammate Brendan Iribe during the session, was fifth in his McLaren 720S GT3.
Qualifying for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET Friday evening. Live coverage of the session will be streamed on both IMSA.com and Peacock starting at 8:10 p.m. ET.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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