2013 Long Beach Grand Prix: Part Two

Words by Matt Willis

After a few hours of sleep, we were back on scene in downtown Long Beach. Barely after the sun rose, the track was already hot and people were flooding into the event. Although it seemed like I was just there shooting a few weeks before, it felt great to be a part of it all again.

The highlight of Saturday was the American Le Mans race, which we spent most of our time throughout the day following.

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We toured the ALMS paddock area, where there was a lot of activity early on with teams doing final prep for the big race in the afternoon.

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The infamous Falken Porsche GT RSR continues to be one of my favorite cars. For the 2013 season, Porsche’s R&D team pumped more power into it and widened the entire body in hopes of winning the ALMS GT class.

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Patron LMP car…

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GT class Ferrari 458…

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BMW Motorsport preparing tires…

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One of two new Dodge SRT Viper GT-class cars…

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Flying Lizard doing work on their GTC 911…

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This LMP car had some type of intermediate tire on it…

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The Corvette Racing duo that scored a one-two finish in the Long Beach ALMS race last year…

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After visiting the paddock, we made our way past track center to get ready to get a good vantage point for the ALMS race…

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Helicopters began to circle the skies…

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We were anxiously awaiting the green flag…

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Cameras ready…

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The green flag drops and the four separate race classes quickly turn into a mixture of chaos…

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A little snake bite from one of the SRT Vipers…

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Nick Heidfeld in the P1 class led much of the race by avoiding traffic early on and setting some quick laps.

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V12 vs. F6 in the same class…

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Overbraking and loose conditions are common approaching turn one…

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Kyle Marcelli lost his front end as he progressed down the track, bringing out a caution period…

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After racing resumed, battles continued in all classes…

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The Falken Porsche, driven by Wolf Henzler and Brian Sellers, stayed clean and steady in the top 5 throughout most of the race.

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More hard braking…

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Gavin and Milner had some competitive laps in the Compuware Corvette.

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The Patron LMP2 car, driven by Scott Sharp and Guy Cosmo, had trouble with traffic but was still able to keep a good lead in the P2 class.

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As the race continued under green flag conditions and the time wore away, drivers did their best to conserve on fuel and tire wear while still being aggressive enough to maintain good position. Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand in the BMW Z4M-GT class focused on running consistent laps and avoiding any unnecessary battles that would take a toll on the car.

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The Corvettes did the same….

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With less than 15 on the clock, a bold move by the Brian Sellers in the Falken Porsche to take an inside pass went sour. Sometimes all the lead car can do is hold their line, and in the first turn of an extremely competitive arena, its almost natural not to open any doorways.

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The Porsche took some damage on the right front fender.

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While the Viper took home a Toyota banner and a damaged rear bumper…

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With only moments left, drivers fought for a few last minute positions.

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At the end of the day, Lucas Luhr topped out the field in the Muscle Milk LMP, Guy Cosmo in the Patron LMP2, Colin Braun in PC class, Max Martin in the Z4M for the GT class and Sean Edwards led the GTC.

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The day was not over after the ALMS race, though. After sunset the lights came on at the south end of the track for the Motegi Super Drift Challenge.

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Several Formula Drift drivers competed in the event, including Daigo Saito and Matt Powers.

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Frederic Aasbo and Robbie Nishida…

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Powers cutting it close…

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Jeff Jones in his S14 240SX…

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We were exhausted after a full days’ worth of racing so we grabbed some food and headed back to headquarters. In the final bit of coverage, we will cover the IZOD IndyCar race and more action from Sunday’s events!

Thanks for reading!

This entry was posted by fullcoupe.

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