IMSA Showdown at Laguna Seca Today

The infamous blind left-hand Corkscrew section at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca provides a high-speed glance of the downhill run and to the final stages of the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship battle. The Michelin GT Le Mans class technical partner factory teams from BMW, Corvette, Ford and Porsche and independent Risi Competizione Ferrari will be on hand to provide some spectacular sports car racing.

 “Drivers arrive at the entry to The Corkscrew in fifth gear at 130 miles per hour and pointing at the sky,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsports, Michelin North America. “Traffic is usually stacking up and the drivers must be very precise in car placement and spot-on in braking to set up for the downhill run.”

That said, the slow, final turn (11) at the bottom of the hill that leads onto the front straightaway is every bit as critical as managing The Corkscrew.

Accelerating quickly with a clean coming onto the front straightaway is critical to either fend off or set up a pass in turns two and three. With a low grip track surface and sand being dragged or blown by winds unto the 2.238-mile circuit, the level of grip level quickly as many a driver has learned the hard, sliding, spinning way.

Championship Time

Returned to its more favorable fall date, Sunday’s two-hour 40-minute race (FOX Sports1 at 5:00 pm EDT. The Lamborghini Super Trofeo returns to the track on Sunday after running race one on Saturday, but like other support series it gets no national TV coverage).  is the penultimate round of the 2017 with drivers and teams fighting for every point and position.

Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia (274 points) currently lead the WeatherTech GTLM driver and team standings trailed by BMW Team RLL’s Bill Auberlen and Alexander Sims (258).

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand (257) and the defending Monterey GTLM champions Ford CGR of teammates Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook (257) are just a single point further back.

Chevrolet leads the GTLM Manufacturers Championship by just two points (288-286) over Ford. 

“It’s very much like a motorcycle track, a lot of flowy corners and the curbs are very low. Last time I was there was in 2012, and it was a bit of a low grip kind of track. The weather should be nice, it’s California, so it won’t be absolutely scorching. There are a lot of fast corners and our Lexus likes to work well in a high-speed corner, but we have struggled a bit more on lower grip tracks, so I guess it’s a bit of an unknown if this track will suit us.” Said Jack Hawksworth, No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3, a new class Lexus is running in this year.


About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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2 Responses to IMSA Showdown at Laguna Seca Today

  1. NASCAR says:

    NASCAR Statement on Trump v the right to protest

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 25, 2017) – “Sports are a unifying influence in our society, bringing people of differing backgrounds and beliefs together. Our respect for the national anthem has always been a hallmark of our pre-race events. Thanks to the sacrifices of many, we live in a country of unparalleled freedoms and countless liberties, including the right to peacefully express one’s opinion.”

  2. IMSA Test Sessions for 2018 says:

    International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) officials today announced plans for a pair of sanctioned test sessions in late 2017 and early 2018 in addition to the previously announced traditional three-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona test in early January.

    Daytona International Speedway will be the site of a two-day sanctioned test on Dec. 5-6, 2017, while Sebring International Raceway will have four days of testing on Feb. 20-23, 2018.

    The Daytona test will be open to all registered IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) only. GT Daytona (GTD) cars will not participate. IMSA will require mandatory participation from entrants representing selected manufacturers and constructors. Each of four WeatherTech Championship sessions across the two-day test will be two-hours, 45-minutes in length.

    In addition to the WeatherTech Championship race cars, the Daytona test will be open to all registered IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS and TCR race cars, with the same mandatory participation requirements for selected manufacturers. The test will not include ST race cars.

    The IMSA Prototype Challenge will open its 2018 season with its first race at Daytona International Speedway. articipants in both LM P3 and MPC classes, with required participation from selected entrants will occur in December.

    IMSA Prototype Challenge will have two, one-hour sessions on Tuesday, Dec. 5. A pair of one-hour test sessions for the Continental Tire Challenge will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 6.

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