Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Mathieu Jaminet seemingly lost the lead with two laps to go to Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport’s Ricky Taylor. However, Ricky went too fast into turn 1 and crashed his Acura ARX-06 into the tires.
That allowed Jaminet and Nick Tandy to retake the lead as the caution came out. From there, they drove at a reduced pace to win the IMSA Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. It is the first-ever win for the new Porsche 963.
“I would have never believed this morning [that we could win],” Jaminet said after the race. “It was tough but at the end, we never stopped believing. The team did an amazing job. They put us in this position.”
BMW M Team RLL’s Connor de Phillippi and Nick Yelloly were second, then Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr in the second Porsche. Philipp Eng and Augusto Farfus were fourth, while Action Express Racing’s Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims were fifth in their Cadillac. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport’s Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque were credited with seventh.
Albuquerque led the 26-car field to green). However, trouble was not far away. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais locked up under braking for turn 1 and spun into the wall.
While trying to avoid the incident, Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s Tom Blomqvist also spun after he was tapped by Farfus. Both cars were unable to continue without assistance, drawing the race’s first full course caution.
Bourdais’ Cadillac V-Series.R had significant nose damage. That damage triggered an electrical fault that put the team out on the spot.
Blomqvist’s Acura was all but undamaged, but stalled out. He was able to continue after getting assistance, but ended up a lap down. He would never make that lap up and finished seventh.
After the green came back out, Albuquerque stretched out his lead over Tandy to three seconds. Ultimately, lapped traffic brought Albuquerque back to the rest of the field.
Tandy was right on Albuquerque’s tail when Albuquerque brought the Konica Minolta Acura in for their only pit stop 42 minutes in. The stop was disastrous as the team had significant trouble getting Ricky Taylor buckled in.
The driver change issues was all Porsche Penske Motorsport needed. Tandy brought the No. 6 Porsche in a lap later to swap over to Jaminet. With teams only allowed four sets of tires for the whole weekend, the No. 6 squad decided to go with only fuel on the stop. As a result, Jaminet ended up getting out of the pits with a four-second lead on Action Express Racing’s Pipo Derani, who was on an alternative pit strategy. Ricky Taylor ended up fifth, 12 seconds back.
Once Derani pitted, Ricky Taylor went on a charge. He was able to get past de Phillippi for third, then spent a number of laps haunting Campbell.
With just over nine minutes to go, Ricky Taylor was able to to get Campbell for second. De Phillippi followed past. From there, he picked up multiple seconds per lap to run down Jaminet before the charge ended in tears.
Hawksworth was able to stretch out a decent advantage, then chose to stay out longer than anyone else in the class before making his pit stop. Ben Barnicoat got in the No. 14 Lexus RCF GT3 at that point and was able to keep the lead.
While Barnicoat enjoyed a seven-second lead, Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor and Pfaff Motorsports’ Klaus Bachler had a fierce battle for second. Despite a little contact in turn 6, Jordan Taylor was able to take the sport with 40 minutes to go.
Jordan Taylor could do nothing with Barnicoat and VasserSullivan as the Lexus squad led flag-to-flag to take the win. Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia were second, then Bachler and Patrick Pilet. The Heart of Racing’s Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas were fourth.
In GTD, Sorensen led from the pole and ran very well early despite Hawksworth getting past. Behind the leaders, much of the rest of the class got stacked up when Inception Racing’s Brendan Iribe spun out in the hairpin after contact from Turner Motorsport’s Chandler Hull.
Given how tight the hairpin is and where Iribe came to a halt, this incident effectively blocked the track. However, Iribe was able to get back underway after a seven-point turn. The recovery was quick enough that no full course caution was required.
Minimum drive-time at Long Beach, unlike any other track on the schedule, is 35 minutes. Sorensen and a number of the other GTD leaders pitted as soon as the minimum time was satisfied.
A lap later, Paul Miller Racing’s Madison Snow brought his BMW M4 GT3 into the pits for his driver swap to Bryan Sellers. A quicker stop resulted in Sellers being able to jump The Heart of Racing’s Roman DeAngelis to take the lead of those who had pitted.
DeAngelis tried hard to get around Sellers for multiple laps, but simply could not do so. Once Iribe pitted his McLaren, Sellers ended up with the class lead.
For the rest of the race, Sellers and DeAngelis battled at the front. The veteran Sellers was eventually able to pull out a small gap and that was enough for him to hold on to give Paul Miller Racing their first win of the year.
DeAngelis and Sorensen were second, followed by VasserSullivan’s Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz. Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Mikael Grenier and Mike Skeen were fourth in their Mercedes, while Winward Racing’s Philip Ellis and Russell Ward were fifth.
IMSA teams are off for the next four weeks. They’ll be back in action May 14 for the Motul Course de Monterey. The race will air live at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.
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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