Starting lineup grid for IMSA Long Beach: Acuras sweep front row led by Albuquerque

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LONG BEACH, Calif. — Seeking to end a long drought at its “home” race, Acura swept the front row of the starting lineup for the IMSA Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Filipe Albuquerque put the No. 10 ARX-06 of Wayne Taylor Racing on the pole position with a lap of 1 minute, 9.909 seconds — a half-second faster than the No. 60 of Meyer Shank Racing that Tom Blomqvist qualified second (1:10.583)

Sebastien Bourdais, who staged an impressive comeback from a 21-second deficit to win at Long Beach, qualified third in the No. 01 Cadillac Racing. The next-fastest Cadillac was in seventh after both BMWs and a Porsche.

STARTING GRID: Click here for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach lineup

FULL QUALIFYING RESULTS: Click here for Friday’s speeds

Cadillacs dominated Long Beach during the DPi era of 2017-22, winning five consecutive times while easily outdistancing the Acuras in the premier prototype division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

But the switch to the LMDh platform in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype category seems to have evened out the competition after Cadillacs were faster than the Acuras by about a second last season.

“The last two years we were always suffering here, but statistics in the first two races this year showed we are really competitive,” Albuquerque said. “But I must say I was not expecting to be so competitive compared to the competitors – especially the Cadillac. (The Cadillac) has no turbo engine, so putting the power down is a strong point for that car. But obviously they are struggling with something.

HOW TO WATCH THE ACURA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Schedules, start times, entry lists

“At the end of the day, it’s about ticking all the boxes on a complex car that everybody is still learning about. I think the communication between Honda Performance Development and the teams is going fantastic and smooth. We did the homework, and it’s paying off. I’m super happy about it.”

Here are the pole-sitters in other categories for the race on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street course:

GTD Pro: Jack Hawksworth, No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3, 1:17.817

GTD: Marco Sorensen, No. 27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 1:17.811



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Best sector times

Fastest lap sequence

Time cards

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II

Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles

Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.

Benny Bloss finished among the top 10 twice in Pro Motocross, in 2016 and 2018. – Beta Motorcycles

“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.

“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”

Bloss debuted in the 450 class in 2015 with a 15th-place finish overall at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”

Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.

Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.

The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.

Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.

Beta will join Triumph Motorcycles as a second historic brand to join the sport in 2024. First established in 1902, Triumph has won in nearly every division they have competed in, dating back to their first victory in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. Triumph will debut in the 250 class in 2024 and plans to expand into 450s in 2025.