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Hunter-Reay Doubling Up In Long Beach

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, April 15 2016
Ryan Hunter-Reay will be racing through the streets of Long Beach twice this weekend. (File photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Ryan Hunter-Reay will be racing through the streets of Long Beach twice this weekend. (File photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

The only person who will spend more time in Los Angeles-area traffic this weekend than weary Southern California commuters is Ryan Hunter-Reay.

That’s because Hunter-Reay will be driving in both the WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship and IndyCar series portions of the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Yep, the 35-year-old driver is pulling a double on the famed 1.968-mile Long Beach street circuit. On Saturday he will co-drive the No. 90 Corvette Daytona Prototype of Visit Florida Racing. On Sunday, he will be in his full-season IndyCar ride of Andretti Autosport.

Between practice sessions, qualifying and racing, it will all add up to over nine hours behind the wheel for RHR.

Cool, he said.

“The last time I did a double was with A.J. Foyt at Homestead when I was also driving for Level 5,” the 2012 IndyCar champion said. “But that was different because the IndyCar race was on the oval and the ALMS race was on the road course. What I’m doing at Long Beach with Andretti Autosport and Visit Florida Racing is on the same track jumping back and forth between sessions. It’s going to be pretty intense.”

Hunter-Reay will be sharing the WeatherTech ride with Marc Goossens because regular partner Ryan Dalziel will be driving in the World Endurance Championship season-opener in Silverstone this weekend.

Hunter-Reay, who won the 2014 Indianapolis 500, admitted that, yes, doing the double will make for interesting physical and mental challenges.

“It would be one thing if I hadn’t driven a DP car for quite some time,” he said, “but I’ve been in both (IndyCar and DP) a lot in the last month. I know the two driving styles of the cars, I’ve been driving IndyCars and DPs for a long time, so that’s the easy part. Where it’s hard, regardless of my experience, is finding the last few tenths because they are completely different driving styles. It’s two different grip levels, the turn-in points are different, the braking points are different.

“I’ll have to compartmentalize the two styles so they don’t get confused. And I’ll have to work the schedule so it optimizes my focus in each car. When I’m in the DP [on] Friday morning, that’s all I need to think about. When I move to my IndyCar, that’s all I need to think about. If I’m trying to worry about both at the same time, that’s where problems would occur.”

Goossens said his team – which finished third in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and fifth at the 12 Hours of Sebring – will do what it came to facilitate an easy weekend for his Hunter-Reay.

We want to have the best possible result but at the same time we want to make sure that Ryan (Hunter-Reay) doesn’t need to go back and forth too many times between our Visit Florida car and his Indy car,” Goossens said.

Hunter-Reay is a past winner at Long Beach and has won 14 IndyCar Series wins overall. The Long Beach win came in 2010 and saw him lead 64 of 85 laps in his Andretti-owned car.

His plan for the weekend is simple. “I am hoping to see that iconic podium twice this weekend,” he said.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, April 15 2016
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