Meanwhile in the GT class, the number #55 entry of Rahal Letterman Racing had a huge set back in the second lap of the race as Maxime Martin overcooked the entry to turn 1 and went into the escape route. By the time the Streets of Long Beach rookie got the car turned around and back on track, the team was in last place. A horrible place to be in with a new car and a very strong and evenly matched field of competitors. For a good portion of the first half of the race the majority of the GT field were in a uniform conga line!
|Then unintentionally and just in time came Chris Cummings to the rescue. Fifteen minutes into the race the #8 Prototype Challenge entry had some small contact that must have loosened the front body work. When the car powered through the straight between turns 5 and 6, the entire front end of the car flew off the car and landed in the middle of the race line. This caused a full course yellow that would allow the #55 BMW to pit for a drivers change and full splash of gas. Long Beach veteran Bill Auberlen was now behind the wheel and the strategy would be to keep him in the car the rest of the race.
|The full course yellow caused by the flying projectiles from the #8 lasted a few laps. At first it seemed like it was too early to start normal pit procedures, but after the 3rd lap under yellow the Muscle Milk HPD team made the decision to bring in their P1 prototype for a driver change, tires and fuel. Would their strategy pay off and allow them to finish ahead of Rebellion Racing?
|Almost immediately after the yellow was put away and racing commenced Dyson Racing's turning issues finally came to a head. Coming off the back straight into the turn 9 right hander the car did not want to listen to Chris Dyson's steering inputs and understeered into the tire barrier with the front left corner of the car. The damage was significant and would keep the team out of the rest of the race.
Just a few weeks ago it looked like the dual car P2 effort of Level 5 Motorsports would go uncontested as they embarked on their pursuit of a third straight LMP2 Championship, but the guys at Extreme Speed had something else in mind. Just a couple weeks before the beginning of the season the team decided to scrap their Ferrari program and jump into the prototype game. It has been reported that the team just simply could not compete with the factory teams in the GT class and the move to P2 was a move towards the future of the program. Qualifying 2 and 3, they were definitely ready to give Level 5 Motorsports a run for their money.
|Scott Tucker of Level 5 Motorsports would be pulling double duty as he would be piloting both the 552 and 551. Maybe fatigue was a factor, but at one point during the race he badly misjudged the apex of turn 5. He hit the concrete barrier with the front left side of the car and had to come in for a new nose.