Whelen Motorsports

Long Beach Grand Prix Review

IMSA • April 23, 2014

Taking it to the streets of Long Beach. Only in southern California could a pre race event include the likes of Jay Leno, and Jerry Seinfield. The celebrities of Hollywood and the fans at Long Beach were introduced to their first Tudor United Sportscar Series race with a fantastic show, unfortunately for the Team Fox, Whelen Corvette, a happy ending wasn’t in the script.

Sharing the weekend with Indy Car, meant very little track time for the Whelen boys at Whelen to work their magic. The first of only two test session came early Friday morning when the track went green at 7:40 AM. With a successful test the team was back on track nearly 8 hours later for a quick and final practice and then right into qualifying. No moment on track could be wasted as the team continues to learn the new corvette, changes were made even going into the Qualifying session. While valuable information was learned, it unfortunately came at the sacrifice of setting a quick qualifying lap.

Post qualifying gave the boys one more shot to make some changes heading into the race. Changes that proved to be exactly what the car needed and helped lower the lap times. When the Green flag dropped Boris was all business, running lap time on par with the leaders.

"Evidence today was how hard Boris was pushing the car in the the race, as he went a second faster than he qualified in the race, usually you go a second slower than you qualify." - Eric Curran

During his push to try and catch the leaders, he unfortunately slid wide on a quick right hander and just skimmed the wall resulting in some suspension damage and ultimately the end of the weekend for the team. Street Course racing like that in Long Beach leaves no room for error. At any other track Boris would have put two wheels off, brought the car back on track and would have reeled in the leaders, but the walls around Long Beach don’t yield to the slightest mistake, one little hiccup and they’ll take you out.

"In the big picture the team is learning a lot, they’re continuing to understand more of how this corvette DP works, it’s a much different animal then the corvette GT car from last year. All of the teams were racing against Ganassi who won today, congrats to them, and to Wayne Taylor Racing who finished second in their Corvette DP. The teams that we are competing against have a lot of experience, a lot more than our program has with a prototype car, so its A steep learning curve for the team, but every week we learn more and more about how this Corvette DP works." - Eric Curran

The testing and practice continued early this week with the team logging some laps just days after the race in Long Beach. The car is headed up North to Monterey where it will await the teams return in just a few weeks when they take to the famous corkscrew at Laguna Seca.