It was a wild race on Sunday at the Long Beach Grand Prix Presented by Optima Batteries. Round 3 of 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GT championship kicked off under sunny skies. Suddenly though, conditions changed and the drivers found themselves hydroplaning on the back straight in several inches of water 10 laps in. The water was the result of a fire hydrant which had been activated just above the race track. The track workers quickly contained the flowing water, but the track became impassable with the multiple clean-up vehicles on track. Therefore, the race was halted and the track was back to racing conditions 15 minutes later.
Jon Fogarty lost a position at the start of the race when the Acura NSX driven by Ryan Eversley shot-up the inside line and made contact with Johnny O’Connell in the Cadillac. The No. 99 Red Dragon continued to pick-up speed through the race and Fogarty passed O’Connell just before the end of the race earning ninth position. O’Connell passed him back but then crashed with just a few turns to go and Fogarty held strong for the ninth-place finish. Ironically, the No. 99 car finished 9th on the 99th day of the year!
RESULTS: POSITION TIME SPEED
Practice 1: 11th 1:19.944 88.64 mph
Practice 2: 7th 1:21.061 87.42 mph
Qualifying: 11th 1:19.587 89.04 mph
Race: 9th 1:19.520
Jon Fogarty on the race: “It was a great race. It wasn’t the finish we strived for, obviously, we wanted to do better than that, but we felt like we had some work to do after the first session. We made our car significantly better for qualifying, but unfortunately, I made a mistake and wasn’t able to capitalize on that. In the end, we had a good race car, it really came alive, it was good on cold starts and it was good over the long run too. We had a good battle. Obviously, the Pirelli World Challenge is super competitive and it is really hard to over-take, everyone is evenly matched. I had a good scrap and was able to pass quite a few people back and forth. I’m pleased, I set my fastest time on the last lap just before the checkers fell, and I think if I had started up front I would have been able to have a good result. I need to work hard and make sure I don’t make any mistakes and that we have a good car for qualifying at the next round.”
Bob Stallings on the weekend: “Although we had hoped for a better outcome at Long Beach, the car was quite capable during the race. Our starting position limited our ability to get to the front of the pack, but Jon was very encouraged by the speed and handling package we engineered the night before the race. Long Beach was only our second outing in a brand-new race car and the speed and handling during the race was quite indicative of the prospects for our team. The Porsche GT3 R is a very well sorted race car and we are looking forward to more testing and an opportunity for a good showing at our next event.”