Ben’s Analysis – TUSC on the streets of Long Beach

(featured image credit: David Yowe)

By Ben Wedge

Long Beach was the first sprint race of the year and also the first race to not involve all 4 classes – with only GTLM and Prototype classes in action there was a lot less data to look over. The 100 minute sprint format allows all of the drivers to go bat crazy to finish in front of everyone else. A few notes before we get started, the laptimes I used are an average of the fastest 5 laps from each car. First image that you will need to reference – the track map with all the sectors listed. Along with the usual look at each class sector times, I’ll dive into the overall laptimes and how they changed over the course of a race.



GTLM, as usual, was very close. The entire class was separated by 1.39 seconds. In overall lap time the Corvettes and BMWs had the advantage over the rest of the field. The BMW’s lacked straight line speed (slowest through Sector 2) and the 62 Ferrari was the quickest down the straightaway. Through the corners, the BMW’s had the advantage. Sector 9 is a great representation to show who was getting off the corners the best. In GTLM, the 62 Ferrari was quickest followed by the Vipers. Sector three is located at the end of the front straightaway, and looks like a good representation of braking. The 56 BMW was quickest but a decent margin.



BoP was the big thing here. I personally expected the P2 cars to be much stronger due to the tight nature of the Long Beach track, but as it turns out, I was wrong. Due to the “start-stop” nature of the track the DPswere able to use their horsepower advantage to dominate the race. Looking at sector 2, the 5 fastest cars were all Daytona Prototype spec machines with the Ford engined Riley chassis’ quickest. Looking at performance in sector 3, the 10 car of Wayne Taylor Racing was quickest by a huge margin. The P2 cars did have some speed in certain parts of the track, though. The Oak Racing car was quickest through sector 4 (the fountain). The Oak Racing car was also quick in sector 6. P2 cars dominated sector 8 and the turn 9-10-11 complex. The two cars of Extreme Speed Motorsports and the Oak Racing car were the three quickest cars. Looking at cars coming off of the hairpin, the DP’s once again were able to use their torque advantage and launch themselves down the straight. Overall, laptimes were still very close. The fast 5 lap average for the entire class (minus the Mazda) was within 1.2 seconds, much closer than expected.



When looking at overall laptimes over the length of the race a few things are clear: The first thing that stands out is the difference in laptimes is the in the #2 HPD car. Prior to the pit stop the car was approximately 2-3 seconds per lap slower than it was in the second half. This was clear to see during the broadcast when the GTLM field over took the #2 car. After the pit stops the car was on pace with everyone else. Also of note is the lack of fall off of the #1 car. The #1 car did not take tires during its pit stop. It’s laptimes at the end of the race were nearly right on pace with those during the beginning of the race. Laptimes also seemed to drop off very little over the course of a stint for all cars. When looking at the trend-lines it’s easier to see there is a slight decrease in laptimes as the race goes on.


Looking at the same data in the GTLM class we notice that again, there was very little drop off because of tires. Similarly to the prototype class there was only a slight decrease in laptime as the race went on.



The results in the prototype class are not very representative of the BoP. All of the P2 cars ran into issues and the top DP cars had trouble free runs. With the #2 ESM car having issues on the first stint and the #1 car running out of gas on the final lap, and the #42 car having issues on the pit stop, my gut feels that the P2/DP balance is much closer than the results show. Look for Mazda Raceway to show much better for the P2 cars as the high speed corners should suit the light weight P2 cars more than the DP cars.

To summarize GTLM, I will sound like a broken record:  CLOSE! This class has continuously shown how close racing can be. The Corvette was able to gap the field early as the rest of the GTLM field got caught behind the #2 ESM car who was on the struggle bus early in the race. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be stupid close, as usual.

About the author


Matt Kistler is the founder and editor of NASportsCar. Matt works full time for a Fortune 500 life Insurance company and runs Kistler Media on the side producing digital media of all kinds.
  • danske

    Format the car numbers as text for leading zeros.

  • psg

    #2 ESM HPD car had Ed Brown in for the first stint, then Johannes van Overbeek for the second stint. Overbeek is a pro, hence the huge delta. Brown was pretty much holding on.

    #1 car was Sharp and Dalziel, both Pros.

  • B. Wedge

    Thanks Danske. I’ll change that in the next one. I have them as numbers because of the formulas that are attached to them. The formulas won’t work if the cells are text. I’ll figure something out though

  • danske

    That’s just something that always bugged me about doing spreadsheets with Grand-Am and forgetting it when importing something. Also, having the same number of digits after the decimal point would also make things look better.

    I wonder if converting the times to speeds with the sector lengths would give interesting comparisons. Adding up the sector times from T9 to T4 (hairpin to turn one) might be interesting too.

  • Tim Kistler

    OK, we all knew Daytona would be a runaway for the DP cars, and we all said, “Wait till Sebring”. Then it was “Wait till Long Beach”. Now it is “Wait till Laguna”. We used to talk about Horsepower tracks vs. Handling Tracks, but I think torque and horsepower win every time..

  • mkistler

    I’m curious about the final turn leading onto the front stretch at Laguna. Is that straight long enough for the DPs power/torque to really impact the race? Turns 3-6 are fast and should suit the P2, same with 9-10. You’d think the P2 would have the advantage in the corkscrew too.

  • B. Wedge

    Tim, Sebring was very even on overall laptime between the DP and P2s. Remember that 3 of the top 5 were P2 cars. And a P2 car set the fastest race lap at sebring.

  • DoG

    And in later in the Sebring race, the P2s were simply the package to have- Dalziel and Brabham were clocking lap times that are from half a second to a whole second faster than the DPs of Barbosa, Franchitti, and Taylor.

    Dalziel was just caught out by the last caution and Marino had traffic on his side when they went green. Dalziel simply did not have the time to attack Marino. If IMSA had let them go MUCH earlier (an extra 10-20 mins) Dalziel would have a better chance of catching Marino and passing him. Just look at how Brabham got past Barbosa in Turn 7. Sebring should have been an ESM win but the chips did not fall their way.