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IMSA Preview: Motul Course de Monterey

Written by Sean McKean, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri

Following an exciting first sprint of the season in Long Beach, the IMSA grid remains on the Western coast, heading to Laguna Seca for the fourth race of the season. This race will not have any LMP2s, but instead features the addition of GTD Pro for this weekend alongside GTPs and GTDs.

There are expected to be 34 entries: 10 in the GTP class, nine in the GTD Pro class, and 15 in the GTD class.

Though not technically a sprint, the race on Sunday will only be two hours and 40 minutes long — one hour longer than the previous race at Long Beach. It may be easier to overtake on Laguna Seca compared to those narrow streets, but qualifying will still be key.

In the GTP class, the ones to pay attention to are the #01 Cadillac entry, piloted this weekend by Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande. The duo just came off a nail-biting victory in the streets of Long Beach, and are also the defending winners of this weekend’s race.

But prior to Cadillac’s victory, the team that originally owned Laguna Seca was the #10 Acura entry, piloted this weekend by Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor. Having won this race for four straight years — Taylor involved in three and Albuquerque two respectively – they will be vying to reclaim their glory come the end of Sunday.

For the GTD Pro class, the #14 Vasser Sullivan entry – piloted by Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth – are always the ones to pay a close eye on. Specifically for Barnicoat, who had not taken a break from the cockpit, as the Brit hopped into the #89 Lexus in the GTD class in Long Beach to take victory there. Not only that, but this car just barely finished second a year ago here.

Though it would be foolish to count out Paul Miller Racing and BMW, piloted by the usual Brian Sellers and Madison Snow. Despite their only podium so far coming in the 24 Hours of Daytona, the absence of the #62 Ferrari entry could open the door for them to succeed, if Vasser Sullivan and Lexus falter.

As for the final class of the weekend, the defending class winners – #12 Vasser Sullivan piloted by Parker Thompson and Frankie Monteclavo – will certainly be the favourites. Although the absence of Barnicoat may hinder this entry, the speed they showed in Long Beach will almost certainly transfer to the windy Laguna Seca.

The last GTD car to pay attention to is the #57 Mercedes, piloted by Russell Ward and Philip Ellis. Despite finishing a low seventh in Long Beach, the pace they displayed in the first two rounds – taking victory both times – will likely show again, with this race being slightly longer than last week’s.

Action for the Motul Course de Monterey will begin at 12:00 local time (21:00 CET), so do make sure to tune in for all the live action this weekend!


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