The Long Beach Grand Prix: Day 2

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welchAs if the awesomeness on Friday wasn’t enough, I went back for more on Saturday! I was disappointed that it was no longer raining, but sun meant no cancelled sessions. I had World Challenge and Indy Lights practice to look forward too, as well as drifting, Indy practice, and qualifying, before the main event of the day: the American Le Mans race.

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First thing in the morning, I headed over to the Turn 2-3 complex and caught some World Challenge before heading back over to 9-10-11 for the drifting. There’s that damn R8 again…

 

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The drifting was fun, but not as fun as the previous weekend.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

They also heavily regulate the number of photographers on the island inside Turn 11. It’s impossible to get there sometimes. At Formula D you can go there whenever you want!

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

In between sessions they have VIP activities. Sometimes the pace cars just go out and lap, but for this one they had two-seat Indy cars giving ride alongs. The cars are so long they can’t even do Turn 11. Instead, they take the access road after Turn 10 into the pit road.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

After an eternity of that stuff, the real Indy cars came out again for more practice.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

After Indy practice was the Pro-Celebrity race, where a bunch of knuckleheads and famous people try to crash into each other in Scions. In the mix this year was Formula D’s own Fredric Aasbø. The celebrities get a 30-second head start, and Adam Carolla was leading that pack. Fredric almost caught him by the end of the race, but had to settle for 2nd. Later on, Fredric said, “If there were two more laps I would have passed him!”

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Indy Lights qualifying was next on the schedule. Larry says they sound like a bunch of bees in a jar. Haha. Whatever, those cars are still faster than my Camry.

 

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They look a lot cooler too, even if they’re not as cool as Formula 1 cars.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

During Indy’s qualifying session, I made my way up to my secret hideout. The perspective is crazy from up there. Even at 600mm the cars are tiny.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Everyone pans on racecars, but I’d never had to tilt before. Tilting at 600mm is no joke.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Things were a little bit easier at 16mm. Just look at this view of the start of the ALMS race! I could see the course from Turn 8 to the front straight, with the Queen Mary and Palos Verdes in the background. I gotta shoot Formula D from here next year…

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

It was easy to see the battles taking place. Faulkner vs Pumpelly…

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

…and Drissi vs. Garcia, even though they’re in different classes.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Alex Welch found himself alone in Turn 10.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Of course I couldn’t shoot the whole race from up there. After coming down, I had an hour and a half to get to the other end of the track and back. I started at Turn 10, where Antonio Downs let me get a good shot of him going by.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welchOver at Turn 9, Joey Hand was still leading GT, after starting with the pole.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welchThe Corvettes were right behind him though, even after Garcia in the #3 car had a run-in with some prototypes in the first lap.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Starting from dead last in GT, Darren Turner had a lot of ground to make up. That meant he had a lot of targets to chase. Next on his list? Bryce Miller in the #48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche.

 

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There’s nothing quite like seeing prototypes battling it out mid-corner.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Because of its finish at Sebring, the #02 car piloted by Ed Brown started almost at the back of the grid.

 

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Rudy Junco, Jr. went deep into the tires on Turn 9 after getting tangled up with Scott Tucker in the #055 Honda. He lost several laps as he couldn’t get the engine restarted quickly. He eventually got it running and limped the car to the inside of the turn, and had to wait even longer for traffic to clear up before he could rejoin the race.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

David Heinemeier Hansson took an early lead in P2.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

After the first pit stops, some of the GT cars ended up behind the slower GTC cars. Poor guys.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Tucker wasn’t doing too bad, considering he narrowly avoided the same fate as Junco.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

The straight up Pine Street is always interesting. There’s no doubt at all that this course is on city streets. This is one of the only parts of the race you can watch without paying, too, although the security guards try to keep people from gathering to watch.

 

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Garcia couldn’t hold onto 2nd place for long with a damaged car, and Tommy Milner took his place with the #4 Corvette. Milner took the lead in GT not long after this.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Garcia was still ahead of Jörg Müller in the #55 BMW though.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

From Turn 5 it’s a short walk to the Pike parking garage, so I went to the roof to see Damien Faulkner post three best-in-class laps in seven minutes. Oh hey! There’s the #3 Corvette’s hood!

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Michael Marsal hit the wall at Turn 2 early in the race, and he and Eric Lux spent the rest of the race three laps behind Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf, who had the lead in P1.

 

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There were two security guards on the roof of the garage keeping regular people from taking photos. Luckily I was wearing my “credentialed photographer” costume!

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Back on the ground, Adrian Fernandez took over for Darren Turner after starting from the back of the grid.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Damien Faulkner and Leh Keen took turns posting best-in-class laps.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Dirk Müller had taken the GT lead back from Gavin, but Gavin wasn’t giving up.

 

american lemans le mans alms corvette tommy milner gavin magnussen garcia muller bmw green hornet gmg sofronas welch

Magnussen pushed the damaged #3 Corvette hard and stayed toward the front of the pack. He finished the race in 4th.

 

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Klaus Graf was the first driver to cross the finish line, in the #06 Muscle Milk P1 Honda.

 

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The rest of the field followed closely behind, and the race was over just before sunset. Luhr and Graf got the overall and the P1 win, Popow and Dalziel took first in PC, Gavin and Milner regained the lead and finished first in GT, Tucker and Bouchut clenched P2, and LeSaffre and Faulkner took home the win in GTC.
 
Overall this was a very exciting race! Check back tomorrow for the World Challenge and Indycar races!
 
 
 
.:Bohan
 
 
 

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