Repeat for Cadillac and Corvette with respective class wins at Long Beach

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By Christian Ryan

A new team stood atop the prototype podium in the 2018 BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach for the first time since 2014 on Saturday afternoon. The one hour, 40 minutes long race may be over 22 shorter than some of the series’ other marquee events, but that did not mean there was any less on-track action.

Mustang Sampling Racing’s Joao Barbosa and Filip Albuquerque claimed their second win of the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Series Championship season, the first being the Rolex 24 at Daytona. They shared victory circle with Corvette Racing’s Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin, with the No. 4 Corvette team celebrating their second consecutive victory in the event.

The pole sitting Team Penske Acura of Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron lead much of the opening half of the race, before a hard charging Felipe Nasr would finally find a way past in his Whelen Engineering Cadillac. However, it was in the pits where the race would be won, with the Mustang Sampling team getting the No. 5 car to the front through a green flag pit cycle. From there, the team would dominate the second half of the race by way of their strategizing, forcing Sebring winning team Tequila Petron ESM to play catch up in second place. The Penske Acuras would fall off late, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively.

The podium was rounded out by Wayne Taylor Racing, the three-time defending winners of the Grand Prix at Long Beach. While the team is still without a victory in 2018, the race brought the first taste of a long awaited battle between brothers Jordan and Ricky Taylor. Jordan overtook his brother and former teammate to place the WTR Cadillac in podium position, withholding Penske’s first prototype podium.

Alexander Sims held a strong lead early in the race, holding his Team RLL BMW at the front of the pack ahead of a fast and aggressive Porsche Team. While the Porsche of Earl Bamber would eventually take the lead, Sims held on impressively and kept Bamber at bay for the better part of a lap while the Corvette of Milner stalked behind waiting for a chance to strike. Moving Bamber and Milner into first and second, Bamber would suffer a right front suspension failure and concede the lead to the Corvette. Bamber’s Porsche and Sims’ BMW would go on to finish a class seventh and eighth, respectively.

Milner would coast home ahead of the two Chip Ganassi Racing Fords for the team’s second consecutive Long Beach victory, with the second Corvette coming up fourth as the two teams round out the top of the GTLM field.

The next stop on the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship calendar is the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the return of the Acura Sports Car Showdown at Mid-Ohio from May 4-6, 2018. Keep posted for more exclusive content leading up to the event’s triumphant return.

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