CORVETTE RACING, CORVETTE DP AT LONG BEACH: Pole Position for Ricky Taylor
Corvette DPs take four of top-five overall positions; Magnussen leads Corvette Racing in qualifying
•First Long Beach pole position for Corvette DP
•Wayne Taylor Racing second in last year’s Long Beach race
•Corvette Racing to fight in GTLM from fourth and fifth on grid
LONG BEACH – Wayne Taylor Racing’s Ricky Taylor captured his first pole position since 2012 with the fastest qualifying time for the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase following Friday’s qualifying at the Long Beach street circuit. Corvette Daytona Prototypes and Corvette Racing’s two Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs will have fights on their hands for Saturday’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s third round.
Taylor’s best lap of 1:14.790 (94.729 mph) was 0.258 seconds clear of Scott Pruett, the next fastest qualifier. Taylor and brother Jordan were second in last year’s Long Beach race.
“This is really nice,” Ricky Taylor said. “Long Beach is a really special event. It’s only our second year here and there’s already a crowd like I’ve never seen before. It’s a really cool atmosphere. Everyone wants to be on pole and win here.”
In GT Le Mans (GTLM), Jan Magnussen qualified Corvette Racing’s No. 3 Corvette C7.R in the fourth. Last year’s pole-winner bettered that time Friday with a 1:17.739 (91.136 mph) in the car he shares with Antonio Garcia; the duo won last year’s Long Beach in GTLM and lead the TUDOR Championship standings with endurance teammate Ryan Briscoe.
Oliver Gavin qualified right behind Magnussen in the No. 4 Corvette with a lap of 1:17.756 (91.116 mph). The No. 4 crew had to change the nose in the practice immediately following qualifying after a collision with a slow prototype.
Gavin and Tommy Milner were the 2012 GT class winners at Long Beach in the American Le Mans Series.
In the Corvette DP ranks, Christian Fittipaldi led a string of three consecutive Corvette DPs from third to fifth on the Prototype grid. He qualified Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP with a lap of 1:15.274 (94.120 mph). Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa lead the TUDOR Championship’s Prototype standings.
Michael Valiante in VisitFlorida.com Racing’s No. 90 Corvette DP was fourth – less than three-tenths of a second behind Fittipaldi. Eric Curran was fifth in Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP at 1:15.915 (93.325 mph).
The Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach, the third race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, is set for 4:05 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 18 from the Long Beach street circuit. Live coverage begins at 7:05 p.m. ET on IMSA.com with FOX Sports 1 airing the race at 4 p.m. ET. Flag-to-flag radio coverage will be available via IMSA Radio.
CORVETTE DP QUOTES
RICKY TAYLOR, WAYNE TAYLOR RACING NO. 10 KONICA MINOLTA CORVETTE DP – POLE WINNER
“Track position is so important. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a pole. We were really quick and I was fastest in the final practice before qualifying by a little bit. I was making excuses for everyone else saying that we were the only ones on new tires. The car felt good but we were on new tires… just making excuses. Then the car was even better in qualifying and on low fuel. It just got better and better, which really bodes well for the race. It’s all very good and very positive.
“Starting on pole should be really big here. Being only a 100-minute race you think strategy doesn’t come into it but you can do a lot with fuel mileage. It’s hard to be in the lead sometimes. You don’t want to be the one to pit and be the one setting the tone. But I think we have really good guys that have incredible pit stops all year. We have a lot of people from Konica Minolta here so we really want to do a good job and have a flawless race. We can only do our best. I think we have all the pieces in place.”
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 5 MUSTANG SAMPLING CORVETTE DP – QUALIFIED THIRD
“We had a good qualifying considering what happened in the previous session. I went a little bit too close and just brushed the wall at Turn 6. We messed up the front suspension so we lost almost three-quarters of the session. The guys did a perfect job. We had what we had in the car. I think I lacked a little bit in the fact that I didn’t run often. I only ran eight or nine laps in the morning session and had the problem in the second session. I went straight into qualifying, and on a street course that’s not the best you can do for yourself. Part of that is me to blame. We’ll take P3. We have a very strong car for the race and a very strong piece. Hopefully Joao and myself can do it tomorrow.”
ERIC CURRAN, ACTION EXPRESS RACING NO. 31 WHELEN ENGINEERING/TEAM FOX CORVETTE DP – QUALIFIED FIFTH
“We had a good run in the Whelen Corvette DP. We’ve been fast all day. Dane was quickest this morning and we were P3 in the next session, so we were hoping for top-three in qualifying but that’s OK. We’ll take it. We keep getting better with this Action Express-prepped Whelen Corvette DP. We’re excited for tomorrow and think we have a good shot at this thing.”
CORVETTE RACING QUOTES
JAN MAGNUSSEN, CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED FOURTH IN GTLM
“It was a good lap. This was as fast as we have gone at Long Beach. We improved the car from this last practice to qualifying. It was a good step forward but it wasn’t quite enough in qualifying. We’ll race them tomorrow and see what comes out of that.
“This is more of a sprint race in every sense of the word. It’s one pit stop and the pit stop probably decides who wins. That’s how it usually goes at Long Beach. You need to be in the fight up front for that first pit stop and then you need to nail that pit stop. After that that’s when the real race starts, right after the only pit stop.”
OLIVER GAVIN, NO. 4 CHEVROLET CORVETTE C7.R – QUALIFIED FIFTH IN GTLM
“The session before was mega frustrating for us in the No. 4 Corvette. There were some crazy things happening. It looked like we were getting a good run on a new tire, and coming out of Turn 6 into Turn 8, I’m behind a DP car and he’s braked pretty much at the normal spot and then just continued to brake into the apex. He pretty much parked at the apex and I ran into the back of him. We did some damage to our car and we spent most of the session trying to fix. We we were able to go back out at the end, but the car wasn’t quite right. Trying to get everything sorted before qualifying… I wasn’t very calm before getting back in. It But Chuck (Houghton, No. 4 Corvette C7.R lead engineer) made a good change before the start of qualifying, and the car felt pretty good. I just didn’t quite execute fully on the lap. I think the car is good enough to be third. I feel a little bit frustrated with myself. Could I have done that if I had had better preparation in the session before? Most probably. But we’re fourth and fifth. The lap times are super close. It’s going to be a real street fight tomorrow. The pit stop is going to vital.”
TUDOR Championship – Prototype Standings
TUDOR Championship – GTLM Standings
Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase at Long Beach – GT Le Mans (all times PT)
•Race: 4:05 p.m., Saturday, April 18 (IMSA.com)
•TV: 4 p.m., Sunday, April 19 (FOX Sports 1)
Release Date: April 17, 2015