IMSA sports cars at Long Beach: How to watch, start times, schedule, entry list

IMSA Long Beach start times
Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images
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IMSA Long Beach start times: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will open its Sprint Cup season with Cadillacs favored for the overall win — according to their chief competition.

Though Acura opened the season with Meyer Shank racing winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Wayne Taylor Racing’s Filipe Albuquerque believes his team and MSR will be at a deficit Saturday on the streets of Long Beach. The Portuguese driver admitted as much during a Zoom news conference last week, noting that the Acuras were nearly a second off the Cadillacs last September.

“The gap is so big, there is nothing we can do about it,” Albuquerque said. “I think this specific track, the deficit is too much. It sounds like i’m whining and crying, but last year the closest lap was eight 10ths off in qualifying, and that was me stretching all the walls and trying my best. There is a limit. How can I fight them?”

Cadillacs have won all four races at Long Beach during the DPi era (2020 was canceled because of the pandemic) and swept the podium last year with Action Express’ No. 31 of Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr in victory lane.

Derani is expecting a stiffer Acura challenge from the No. 60 of MSR (with Oliver Jarvis and Tom Blomqvist) and No. 10 of WTR (with Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor), but he also believes Cadillac has an edge on bumpier street circuits such as Long Beach.

“Last year, it seemed like we had some advantage over the Wayne Taylor car and the Shank car, but they seemed to have stepped up this year in terms of performance, so I’m expecting a close fight,” Derani said. “But the Cadillac is a fantastic car over the bumps. We saw that at Sebring. It’s a car that copes well with a bumpy track, and normally street tracks tend to be a little bit more bumpy than a normal track. I think this is one of the strong points of our Cadillac DPi, and hopefully, we can use that to our advantage over the race weekend at Long Beach.”

Albuquerque explained that some of the Acura deficiency is structural as the car’s ORECA chassis primarily is designed for the flat circuits of the World Endurance Championship (which has no street courses). That does give the Acura an aerodynamic advantage at some road courses such as Laguna Seca — but it’s a power hindrance on the rough pavement at Long Beach, whose slow corners and hairpin turn present even more challenges.

“The fight is to stay ahead, minimize loss and points and hope some of (the Cadillacs) have problems,” said Albuquerque, who has prototype wins at Long Beach in 2018-19. “Last year, in a full green track race, they nearly lapped us. It’s going to be very hard.”

Saturday’s 100-minute race (5 p.m. ET, USA) will feature three categories — DPi, GTD Pro and GTD. It will be the first of eight non-endurance races for GTD teams, which will earn points at Long Beach only for the Sprint Cup standings and not the overall championship.

After a GTD Pro victory at Sebring, Corvette Racing enters Long Beach with eight victories, including last year with Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy in the No. 4 of the now-defunct GTLM class. The competition will be stiffer this year with five manufacturers in the class.

“The GTD Pro class has been fun,” said Jordan Taylor, the defending GTLM champion in the No. 3 C8.R Corvette with Antonio Garcia. “GTLM was pretty small last year so it wasn’t huge fights. This year between Sebring and Daytona, it’s been fun to be back in a class full of cars. On starts and restarts, you’re in the middle of packs of guys racing and it’s really competitive. It’s nice to be back to old-school racing, and that’s what we usually get at Long Beach.”

Here are the start times, starting lineup, schedule and TV info for the IMSA Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach (all times are ET):


IMSA Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach start times, schedule, TV info

When: Saturday, 5:05 p.m. ET

Race distance: One hour, 40 minutes on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street course

Forecast: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 75 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.

Entry list: Click here to see the 26-car field over three divisions for the IMSA Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.


RACE BROADCAST

TV: 5 p.m. ET, USA

Streaming: Peacock, the NBC Sports App,and NBCSports.com will have coverage of the event from flag to flag. Leigh Diffey is the announcer with analyst Calvin Fish and pit reporters Dave Burns and Marty Snider.

IMSA.com live qualifying stream: Friday, 8:15 p.m. ET.

IMSA Radio: All sessions live on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com; SiriusXM live race coverage will begin Saturday at 5 p.m. (XM 207, Internet/App 992).


DAILY SCHEDULE IMSA LONG BEACH

Here’s a rundown of the IMSA Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach(all times ET):

Friday, April 8

10:45-11:25 a.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

12:15-1:15 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

1:30-1:50 p.m.: Historic IMSA GTP Challenge (GTP) practice

2:05-2:35 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup practice

3:40-4 p.m.: Stadium Super Trucks practice

4:15-6 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice

6:15-7:15 p.m.: NTT IndyCar Series practice

7:30-8 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup qualifying

8:10-8:55 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying

9:30-9:50 p.m.: Super Drift Challenge practice

10-11:30 p.m.: Formula D Super Drift Challenge, Race 1

Saturday, April 9

11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: NTT IndyCar Series practice

12:55-1:15 p.m.: Historic IMSA GTP Challenge qualifying

1:45-2:25 p.m.: Porsche Carrera Cup, Race 1

3:05-4:20 p.m.: NTT IndyCar Series qualifying

5-7 p.m.: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race

7:30-8 p.m.: Stadium Super Trucks, Race 1

8:15-8:35 p.m.: Historic IMSA GTP Challenge, Race 1

9-9:20 p.m.: Super Drift Challenge practice

9:30-11 p.m.:Formula D Super Drift Challenge, Race 2

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III