Race Previews: Long Beach (IMSA) and Portimão (WEC)IMSA
The Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs will separate and compete in their respective full-time series across the globe this weekend.
Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande and the No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R team are eager to get back on track and defend their win at IMSA’s 2023 Grand Prix of Long Beach, while Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook will look to pilot the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R to victory lane at WEC’s 6 Hours of Portimão.
Long Beach Preview
The No. 01 Cadillac crew impressed throughout the entire race weekend last year, as they topped the timing sheets in practice, claimed pole position and then capitalized with a win on race day.
Bourdais dismantled the track record in qualifying by nearly two seconds with the fastest lap of 1:09.472.
CGR has earned 3 victories (2022; 2014; 2006) in Long Beach, California, in IMSA competition – tied for the 2nd-most among all entrants in track history.
The No. 01 Cadillac V-Series.R team holds the third-most points (600) through the first two races. CGR is among the 28 entries, including 8 in the GTP class, that will compete across IMSA’s Long Beach weekend. Tune in throughout the weekend and catch the green flag drop on race day, Saturday, April 15, at 5:05 p.m. ET.
Bourdais: “Long Beach is a great event and definitely one of the highlights of the season. It’s always a fun place to race at. It’s a very challenging street course, like most of them are, but when you do get it right it’s super rewarding. Obviously, we had a strong weekend last year with the pole and the win. It would be awesome to do it again with Cadillac, but we know the competition will be tough. We definitely need points, but we’ve shown progress and pace. Hoping it all comes together this weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.”
van der Zande: “I think Long Beach is one of the best races in recent memory. Obviously, the car was lightning fast, blinding fast, but Sebastien got us up front and then I was able to finish it off. It’ll be a new track for this car, so we’ll have to see how it behaves. Tire degradation has always been a bit of a topic in Long Beach, so there is a lot of new news for this race which is a good thing. We’re prepared to go and make the most out of what we know and then fine tune things once we get there. Can’t wait to get this Cadillac on another street course race; It’s pretty special.”
Following an impressive debut of the hybrid Cadillac V-Series.R in the FIA World Endurance Championship, CGR and Cadillac Racing turn their attention to the opening leg of the European schedule and the 6 Hours of Portimão in Portugal.
Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook will share the driving duties in the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R In the 11-car Hypercar class on the Algarve International Circuit. The team sits 3rd in the manufacturers’ championship after claiming a P4 finish at WEC’s season opener in Sebring on March 17.
WEC has visited the Algarve International Circuit once (June 2021) before, but this event will be the first with fans in attendance. Westbrook competed in the inaugural event in 2021, while Bamber and Lynn have competed at the track in separate competitions.
The 6 Hours of Portimão begins on Sunday, April 16, at 7:00 a.m. ET. Those in the United States can watch live coverage on MotorTrend, where they will be broadcasting the first and final hour of the race.
Bamber: “I’m very excited for Portugal. We had a great day in Sebring, fighting for a podium, and I think we all want to go one step higher and make it there this time. The team has been doing some really good preparation and I know we are going to make positive steps every race. It’s a learning process in the WEC, but we have all eyes forward to make it on to the podium.”
Lynn: “It was a strong showing for the whole crew in Sebring, and we’re all excited to now get our European adventures started. This will be the first time competing with this car in Europe, and we’ve put a lot of time into understanding what the car needs, making efforts across the simulator and now it’s about executing a clean race. There is this big build-up to Le Mans, where we can score some serious points beforehand. We’re really looking forward to continuing to learn and carrying on with this strong momentum that this car and team have provided.”
Westbrook: "We had a lot of positives come out of our first WEC race -- reliability, good points and we got a ton of data. With how our car was running, it is disappointing not to have come away with a podium finish at Sebring. But we are a brand-new WEC team and are still learning about the car and the WEC rules. It will be a bit of going into the unknown at Portimão because it is unlike any track we've raced on or tested on in the U.S. Still, I'm looking forward to the challenge and confident we'll continue to score more solid points in the championship."
Source: Chip Ganassi Racing