Albuquerque Scores Long Beach Victory

Action Express Cadillac DPi wins 2018 Long Beach Grand Prix
Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa earned their second win of the 2018 season after winning the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona. | Photo: Dan Bathie / Spacesuit Media

A victory on the streets of Long Beach for Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa made Action Express Racing the first team to win multiple IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races in 2018.

The No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R of Albuquerque and Barbosa took the lead with 40 minutes remaining in the 100-minute race. The closest competition for the Mustang Sampling-liveried Cadillac DPi was the No. 2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi of Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp.

Although Dalziel helped make it three four manufacturers in the top five at the checkered flag, he was unable to close the gap to the leader and crossed the finish line 4.766 seconds behind Albuquerque.

Both drivers took fuel only on their final pit stops, ensuring they could get out ahead of their other competition — namely the two other Cadillacs and the pair of Acura ARX-05 machines fielded by Team Penske.

Defending Long Beach winner Jordan Taylor brought the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac home in the third position just 0.483 seconds in arrears of Dalziel. He was followed closely by the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P of Oliver Jarvis, who delivered Mazda Team Joest’s best finish yet.

ESM Nissan DPi chases Mazda Team Joest car at Long Beach
Though Mazda Team Joest showed promise and speed, Tequila Patron ESM’s No. 2 Nissan DPi was the closest challenger for the win. | Photo: Dan Bathie / Spacesuit Media

While both Acura DPis appeared to have speed, a late issue with the No. 7 of Ricky Taylor caused him to fall down the running order. This allowed Dane Cameron in the sister No. 6 to complete the top five by finishing 3.8 seconds behind Jarvis.

Stephen Simpson delivered the best result for an LMP2 machine with a ninth-place finish in the No. 99 JDC-Miller Motorsports ORECA 07.

Ten cars in the 14-car class finished on the lead lap. Sebastian Saavedra’s No. 52 AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS PS17 ended the race two laps down after first-lap contact with the No. 38 ORECA of Performance Tech Motorsports dropped both LMP2 cars out of contention.

The Performance Tech machine along with JDC-Miller’s No. 99 ORECA and Tequila Patron ESM’s No. 22 Nissan were not running at the finish.

Next up for the series is its return to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio on May 6 featuring all three classes.

What do you think?