LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 18, 2009) – Brandon Davis and father Mike, of Huntington Beach, Calif., were fastest in practice for Sunday’s World Challenge ACS Grand Prix of Long Beach Presented by Lala Motorsports, part of the 35th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Another local driver, James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif., was third in preparation for Round Two of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship.
Both Davises were quick throughout the 30-minute practice session, exchanging fast laps several times with GMG teammates Sofronas and Dino Crescentini. On his seventh lap around the 11-turn, 1.968-mile temporary street circuit, defending race winner Brandon Davis clocked his fastest lap in the No. 10 Applied Computer Solutions/Sun Micro Systems Ford Mustang Cobra, a 1:26.036 (82.347 mph).
“The car is really good,” Davis said. “It just feels balanced. I was a little disappointed with yesterday’s practice, that I couldn’t get up there to the top of the times, and it feels better today to be in the front. I think this track suits us well. Long braking zones are good. Our car doesn’t really like high speed corners, which there are none of at Long Beach.”
Davis is aiming to take his second Long Beach pole in-a-row Sunday morning at his home track with family and friends looking on.
“Usually, sticker tires are worth another three-quarters of a second here. Hopefully we can get down there.
“I have a lot of my friends and family out here. I’ve been coming to this race for a long time, watching my dad race and watching Boris [Said] race in our [Trans-Am Series] cars. It’s a thrill to be racing here. It’s definitely the biggest race of the year for us.”
Driving the No. 11 Applied Computer Solutions/Sun Micro Systems Ford Mustang Cobra, Mike Davis led the session briefly before being topped by his son. His lap of 1:26.230 (82.161 mph) was still good enough for second on the practice sheets.
Two more local drivers followed the Davis duo on the timing screens at Long Beach. Sofronas, in the No. 14 Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3, posted a 1:26.255 (82.137 mph) to finish the session in third. He was followed in the order by teammate Dino Crescentini, of Manhattan Beach, Calif., in the No. 4 Stoptech/GMG Porsche 911 GT3.
With two thirds of the practice session complete, Crescentini’s Porsche experienced brake failure as the car approached Turn One. The car turned sideways as it entered the runoff area and impacted a tire wall on the driver side. A red flag was displayed shortly thereafter followed by the checkered, ending the session five minutes early. Crescentini exited the car under his own power and was later transported to St. Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center for precautionary examination. His fast lap of 1:26.255 (82.137 mph) still held as the fourth-quickest time of the session.
Though defending World Challenge GT Champion Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., was fifth in the session, posting a 1:26.442 (81.960 mph) in the No. 1 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, it was not as quick as Eric Curran’s lap of 1:26.401 (81.999 mph) in Friday’s practice, which kept the Easthampton, Mass., driver fifth heading into Sunday’s qualifying.
Sebring race winner Tony Rivera (Porsche 911 GT3) was seventh in his first visit to Long Beach.
Ritch Marziale (Dodge Viper), Jason Daskalos (Dodge Viper) and Craig Stanton completed the top 10. Stanton, who resides in Long Beach, was the fastest of the GT3 Cup Shootout cars, turning a 1:27.959 (80.546 mph) in the No. 07 Porsche GT3 Cup.
Qualifying for the World Challenge ACS Grand Prix of Long Beach Presented by Lala Motorsports will take place Sunday, April 19, at 8 a.m. (PDT). The race is slated for 4:15 p.m. (PDT) the same day, following the IndyCar race. Live timing, notes and streaming audio are available at www.world-challenge.com.