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.
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.