|Green flag! With the GT leaders right behind, I was in a hurry to make up positions as quickly as possible.
The start was hectic, as I lost some ground on the front straight before making up a spot the hard way in turn 4 (I believe the applicable phrase is 'rubbing is racin'), but just as important as track position, I had to learn the track corner by corner during the race. All of the drivers were certainly in the same boat in terms of track time during the race weekend, but at least some drivers had raced their cars at Long Beach previously!
|Hard braking from 155mph into turn one. I was able to get up to third in PC before I had a spin in traffic, which dropped us to fourth.
I successfully managed to keep the top dogs in GT behind me long enough to learn the track and get them out of my mirrors, and then set about the business of moving up through the PC field. Luckily enough, several drivers up the road had various incidences of their own, so it wasn't too long before I had moved up to 3rd in class. Unfortunately, it was not to last, as a spin of my own following GT traffic through turn 5 cost some track position, and a later trip down an escape road cost us a lap as I struggled to find reverse to get back on track and underway. When I turned the car over to my co-driver, Henri Richard, during a mid race full course caution we were running 4th, and with little chance of making any head way toward the podium without some bad luck befalling the top three cars, the goal for the rest of the race was to make laps and safely park the 25 car back in the trailer at the end of the day. Henri did a great job and kept the car clean, though we unfortunately dropped to 5th place with a couple of minor spins in turn 5.
|After scoring no points at Sebring, it felt good to get some on the board at Long Beach. Now, on to the ALMS' six-hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca!
While we obviously want to be at the front of the pack, after bringing home a goose egg after Sebring, the priority for Long Beach was to simply finish with the car in one piece and score some points. Next on the calendar we have our second true endurance race of the season, a six hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Both Henri and I love the track up in Monterey, so it will be a pleasure to get back on the attack in such a familiar setting. Hopefully my next blog post will be accompanied by photos of hard-won hardware!