Long Beach, Calif. – April 14 – After losing out on a chance for a good starting position because the qualifying session was cancelled, the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR customer teams were unable to improve their standing in the GT class at today’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
At a street course on which it is already difficult to pass, Patrick Long in the #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RSR made a charge through field at the start, quickly moving up from tenth to fourth place, but a puncture from debris on the track forced a lap one pit stop, and the Lizard Porsche was immediately a lap down.
In the final GT results, the Oliver Gavin/Tom Milner Corvette took the class win, followed by the Dirk Mueller/Joey Hand BMW, the Scott Sharp/Johannes van Overbeek Ferrari, and the Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia Corvette.
The top finishing Porsche was the Team Falken Tire GT3 RSR of Wolf Henzler/Bryan Sellers (sixth), followed by - in seventh, eighth, and ninth – Joerg Bergemeister/Patrick Long Flying Lizard Porsche; Sascha Maassen/Bryce Miller Paul Miller Racing Porsche; and Seth Neiman/Marco Holzer Lizard Porsche. In the manufacturers point standings, Chevrolet and BMW are now tied with 40 points, with Ferrari at 27 points and Porsche with 23 points after two events.
“Rain during the two-hour free practice, resulting in a wet track, and subsequent cancellation of qualifying, did not enable our customer teams enough track time to set up the new Porsche 911 GT3 RSR for its best performance potential. The competitors who finished ahead of us at Long Beach all have a bigger restrictor – thus more horsepower – than we do. We must work with the American Le Mans Series to find a solution that gives us comparable classification to our competitors in this area,” said Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche Motorsport.
In GT Challenge, Damian Falkner took over the Green Hornet Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car from owner Peter LaSaffre in fourth place after a penalty for a headlight defect, and quickly passed the two cars in front of him for a decisive win – the first for the Green Hornet team.
“The was my first time at Long Beach, and we were bitten right away when the Lotus had its first lap incident, resulting in a bent wheel for the Green Hornet Porsche. But this was a real street fight, and it was a total team effort,” said LaSaffre.
“The track was really green because of the rain on Friday, and it took a while for the streets to ‘rubber in,’ but Peter did a great job keeping the car in contention, and the set-up came to us during the race,” said Falkner.
The next race for the ALMS competitors will be at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – a six-hour event – on May 12.
High resolution photos from Long Beach are available for download at the following link: