The IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship hosts the first round of the 2023 season sprint in Long Beach, California. Sharing the legendary street circuit with the NTT IndyCar Series, IMSA’s 100-minute race takes place on Saturday, April 15 as part of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend.
Three of IMSA’s five classes will be represented at this round, led by the flagship GTP class and supported by the GTD and GTD Pro categories. A total of 28 cars are on the pre-event entry list with two drivers per team.
Sebring winners Pipo Derani and Alexander Sims lead the GTP Drivers’ Championship in their #31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac V-Series.R, but by just ten points from the #10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-06 of Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque. Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande are defending eventual winners at Long Beach and are eager to get back on track in the #01 Cadillac Racing V-Series R after a spectacular mechanical failure at Sebring left them 70 points behind the top spot.
Tom Blomqvist and Colin Brown have a lot of work to do to get their #60 Meyer Shank Racing Curb-Agajanian Acura out of the 209-point deficit they faced after their points penalty at Daytona and subsequent retirement at Sebring.
The two Porsche 963s (#6, Nick Tandy/Matthieu Jamine and #7, Matt Campbell/Felipe Nasr) are battling for the German marque’s first overall victory at Long Beach since the RS Spyder won the overall in 2007. Both cars are also aiming to put their heartbreaking double DNF in the final minutes of Sebring in the rearview. The two BMW M Hybrid V8s (#24, Philip Eng/Augusto Farfuss and #25, Connor de Filippi/Nick Yelloli) are keen to build on the encouraging second place result at Sebring.
In the latest round of performance balance adjustments, the Acura, Cadillac, and Porsche received slight power reductions, while the BMW received a slight power increase to go with a minor horsepower increase. The Porsche has a slight drop in horsepower.
GTD Pro consists of five entries representing five different manufacturers. Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor in the #3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R GTD will look to add to the team’s record eight class wins at Long Beach. Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas in the #23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 are the defending GTD Pro champions at Long Beach.
After two races, the #79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Daniel Juncadella/Jules Gounon) leads the GTD Pro standings by 26 points ahead of the #14 VasserSullivan Lexus RC F GT3 (Jack Hawksworth/Ben Barnicoat), with the #9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (Claus Bachler/Patrick Pilet) now third in the standings after Pfaff’s team’s surprise win at Sebring.
The 15-car GTD grid is headlined by two-time and defending class winners Long Beach Paul Miller Racing. bring Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow will drive their #1 BMW M4 GT3 after winning at Sebring last time out. They are currently second in the GTD championship standings, just one point behind the leading #70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 Evo of Brendan Iribe and Frederik Schöndorff.
Racers Edge Motorsports with WTR has expanded its IMSA commitments. The #93 Acura NSX GT3 will return to the series, driven by Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher – the same combination that won last year’s GT World Challenge America Pro-Am championship.
Turner Motorsport’s two BMW M4 GT3s will return to the GTD class as scheduled with Patrick Gallagher and Robbie Foley in the Liqui-Moly sponsored #96, and Bill Oberlen and Chandler Hull in the McIntosh Labs sponsored #97.
Another change planned is a one-car effort from Wright Motorsports for the entire season, represented by the #77 Porsche of Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman. Four new Porsche 992s will take part in the GTD class, but there will be no Ferrari 296 GT3 in the field. Forte Racing will enter the one and only Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2, the number 78 of Mischa Goichberg and Loris Spinelli.
Lamborghini and McLaren received modest power increases, while Corvette and Mercedes-AMG received modest power reductions. The Acura will have an increase in curb weight offset by a small increase in horsepower, and the BMW will have a modest weight reduction as part of the recent BoP changes.
There were also fuel capacity increases for Acura, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Lexus and McLaren GTD cars, as well as nerfs for the Corvette and Porsche.
PRE-EVENT CHECK-IN LIST >>