Pruett, Magnussen Win Tudor Poles In Long Beach
Scott Pruett captured the pole on Friday for the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase in Long Beach, driving the No. 01 Telcel/Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP.
The one-hour, 40-minute event, the third race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, is set for Saturday afternoon (6 p.m. ET, live on FOX Sports 1) on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary layout.
Pruett, a Long Beach winner in the Rolex Sports Car Series back in 2006, posted the qualifying session’s fastest lap on his last lap – 1 minute, 15.325 seconds (94.056), good for both the Prototype class and overall pole. It was just enough to survive Ozz Negri, who also was fastest on his final lap, 1:15.366 (94.005) in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP. The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP driven by Christian Fittipaldi qualified third at 1:15.571 (93.750), also going fastest on his last lap.
The qualifying session, scheduled for 15 minutes, was red-flagged just before the 10-minute mark in the 15-minute session due to Ryan Dalziel’s No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b/Honda from Extreme Speed Motorsports, which stopped on-course in Turn 6. Pruett had gone to the top of the lineup just prior to the stoppage. The session resumed a short for an approximate three-minute dash to the end.
“You had to get it right [quickly],” Pruett said. “As we all know, Long Beach is unforgiving, but for us, the car was good right off the trailer. And with limited track time (one day of practice) it really helped us that we rolled off the truck good.
“It was really close and I couldn’t be happier for [Negri]. It’s a Ford front row.”
Teams in the Prototype (P) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) classes had two practice sessions to prepare for qualifying. Those sessions were separated by seven-and-a-half hours on a jam-packed Grand Prix of Long Beach lineup including six other races.
Pruett – who will co-drive Saturday with longtime partner Memo Rojas – paced the P class with an early-morning effort of 1:16.441/92.683 mph, recorded on his final lap of the two-hour session. The evening practice was led by Fittipaldi with a lap of 1:16.081/93.122.
Jan Magnussen put his Corvette C7.R on the pole in the GT Le Mans class.
Magnussen – who co-drives with Antonio Garcia – lapped the 1.968-mile street circuit in 1 minute, 17.939 seconds (90.902 mph), nipping Bill Auberlen’s No. 55 Crowne Plaza BMW Z4 GTE by just 0.152 seconds.
“We’ve known all along this is a fast car, we just haven’t had a chance to prove it yet,” said Magnussen. “It’s been a tough start for the Corvette C7.R (in the season’s first two races). We’ve shown we have the speed, but not the reliability yet.”
If there is a track that can cure Corvette Racing’s ails, it’s the Long Beach street circuit. The team won four races in the lead GT category through the years at Long Beach and set the fastest race lap in its class each year since 2007.
Potentially standing in the team’s way of victory are BMW Team RLL’s pair of BMW Z4 GTEs.
BMW, last year’s winner at Long Beach (in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrόn) held the top two spots in qualifying before Magnussen set his top time with five minutes remaining in the session. Auberlen ended up qualifying second with a lap of 1:18.091/90.725 mph, followed by teammate Dirk Mueller in the No. 56 Crowne Plaza BMW Z4 GTE at 1:18.246 seconds/90.545 mph.
“Close, but no cigar,” said Auberlen. “At least we can go into tomorrow knowing we have a good car. We’re leading the championship; we just need to make it out of here as good as we can.”No Comment