A Cadillac DPi-V.R. won Saturday’s BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach, but it wasn’t the one fans may have expected coming into the weekend.
Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque ended a three-year winning streak for Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. team with an impressive performance that put the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R. team into victory lane for the second time this season.
It was the first career Long Beach win for both drivers and moved the Rolex 24 At Daytona winners unofficially into the Prototype points lead through three IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events. It was also Action Express Racing’s 20th win in IMSA competition (14 WeatherTech Championship, 6 GRAND-AM).
Albuquerque inherited the lead on a series of green flag pit stops with 40 minutes remaining. The No. 31 Cadillac DPi-V.R. of Felipe Nasr and No. 6 Acura DPi of Juan Pablo Montoya led much of the first half of the race before being jumped by Albuquerque on an impressive pit stop by the No. 5 team.
“Our strategy all day was perfect,” said Albuquerque. “When I got in after the pit stop, I was able to get in the lead. We were in control and it was a great race for us. Action Express was amazing today. They gave me a great car.”
“I was trying to stay up front and save fuel to shorten our pit stops, and it helped, we were able to jump some positions during our pit stops and we were off and running,” added Barbosa. “We did a great job managing tough conditions and our Cadillac was good on long runs and we were able to make it run well for a really long stint. That made for good success today. And we made good decisions on the pit stand to move up in the standings.”
Finishing second, 4.766 seconds back, was the No. 2 Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan DPi of Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp, a much-needed finish for the team after a best-finish of 16th through the first two WeatherTech Championship races of the season. It also was the second consecutive runner-up result at Long Beach for Sharp and Dalziel.
While Wayne Taylor Racing failed to make it four consecutive wins at Long Beach, the team did make it back on the podium with Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande finishing third. It was the duo’s second consecutive runner-up finish coming off a second-place finish at Sebring in March. Jordan Taylor had to track down and pass brother Ricky Taylor – who he co-drove with to victory at Long Beach each of the last two seasons – in the closing minutes to secure the final podium spot.
The podium finish moves the defending WeatherTech Championship Prototype championship team to fourth in the standings following a DNF to start the season at Daytona.
Next up for the WeatherTech Championship is the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio on Sunday, May 6.