Round 3 of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship
Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach
No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance®/ORECA/Gibson
Stephen Simpson/Misha Goikhberg
April 13-14, 2018
Racetrack: Streets of Long Beach, CA
1.968-mile temporary street circuit, features 11 turns
Date/Time: Saturday, April 14th at 1:05pm PST
TV: FOX – Saturday, April 14th at 4pm ET
Double 7s: The No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Red Dragon™ opened the season with a pair of seventh place finishes at Rolex 24 At Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. The Bubba Burger Grand Prix this Saturday at Long Beach is the first “sprint” race of the season…at just one hour and forty minutes.
3-Way Tie: GAINSCO drivers Stephen Simpson, Misha Goikhberg and Chris Miller are wrapped up in the middle of a 3-way tie for sixth position in the championship. They have 48 championship points going into Long Beach, tied with the Wayne Taylor Racing drivers and the Sebring race winners, the No. 22 Patron/ESM team.
Success on the Streets: The Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach has been good to the JDC-Miller MotorSports team. They won the race in 2016 while competing in the PC class. In 2017 they jumped up to the “P” class, the top level of American Sports Car racing and finished fourth at Long Beach. They stayed consistent throughout the season and finished fourth overall in the 2017 Championship.
Circle of Champions: GAINSCO and JDC-Miller MotorSports welcome three special team members this weekend at Long Beach. Each quarter, GAINSCO employees nominate a peer whom they believe exemplify GAINSCO’s five championship characteristics: passion, critical perspective, creativity, operational excellence and persistence to the end. The winners, join the “Circle of Champions” and are rewarded with an insider’s racing experience. This weekend, we welcome our champions, Audrey Douglas, Erin McKinley and Mohammad Tahir.
Stephen Simpson on the transition from endurance racing to sprint racing: “I am looking forward to getting back to the streets of Long Beach. The race weekend is always enjoyable and Long Beach has such a great vibe. Coming off two of our longest races of the year and heading into one of the shortest, our mindset will shift and present different challenges which we are ready to tackle. For the drivers, the approach to the long races is a little bit different. The normalcy of it is the time in the car. It’s the time between stints that a driver has to manage…rest, hydrate and keep the adrenaline in check for the next stint. For a sprint race…it’s more of a “get out there and get after it” mindset. One shot to make it happen, especially at Long Beach as the track time is limited.”
Misha Goikhberg on the characteristics of America’s oldest street circuit: “I enjoy the track very much; it’s a very challenging and rewarding street course, the pit lane is short and very tight and there isn’t much room in the paddock, which makes it a little bit harder. The Long Beach circuit rewards commitment and precision, as you have to take risks and get very close to the walls. Traffic as always will play a role especially in the end of the race, even though it’s only Prototypes and GTLM.”
Stephen Simpson on setting up the car for Long Beach: “There are a few challenges that we face at Long Beach: our first practice is early on Friday morning and the track will be pretty slick first thing and will improve drastically come race time, so it will be important to think ahead and plan for qualifying and the race. The track is mostly smooth, but it does have one or two big bumps, so we have to set the car up according to those bumps. Another small, but important aspect to Long Beach, is the pit lane which is slick and off camber. It is very easy to make a mistake, which we need to prevent if we are to have a solid weekend. The JDC-Miller MotorSports guys have given us good cars in the past. We won the race back in 2016 in the PC class and had a 4th place finish in 2017 and I’m excited to get our GAINSCO Auto Insurance Red Dragon running at the sharp end on the streets of LB!”
Misha Goikhberg on what makes this event special: “I love this event because of the variety. Our race is of course the most entertaining, but I am always curious to see what’s on track when I have a second. Not only do we get to see Indycars, but also historic Trans Am cars, drifting and trucks. I think for the fan, it’s a must-attend, because of how much action is packed into a couple of days. For a driver, it’s an honor to race these streets…the Long Beach Grand Prix has a rich history, and it’s a very special place.”