LONG BEACH, Calf. (April 18, 2008) – Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., topped the Friday practice for Sunday’s SCCA Pro Racing Long Beach SPEED GT Presented by Applied Computer Solutions race. Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., and Brandon Davis, from nearby Huntington Beach, Calif., followed Pilgrim on the time sheets in the session, which was abbreviated by two red flags.
Navigating the 1.968-mile temporary street course in 1:26.798 (81.798 mph), Pilgrim found the track to be particularly slick at the end of the day in his No. 8 Remington Shaving Cadillac CTS-V.
“The balance of the car wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t terrible,” Pilgrim said. “It was very slippery on the rear and through the corners – consistently slippery. The new tires don’t give the same mechanical grip in the same way the old tires did, so here, it’s quite difficult to slide the car between the walls, because it’s such a tight circuit. I think all [the fastest practice time] means is that I’m fairly familiar with the track and the car and I got going.
“The track will be similar tomorrow. The problem is, overnight you’re going to get people running around dropping dust on it, so you don’t want to be the first one out. Tomorrow morning, the first two laps you’ve got to be really careful, because it’s going to be dusty. That’s what I’m going to need to tell myself, because you’re probably not going to be able to break to the deepest point. It could even bit a bit dewy possibly, so I’ll have to remind myself not to try for a fast one early.”
Reigning SCCA SPEED GT Champion Pobst ended the session in the second spot, turning a 1:27.001 (81.433 mph) in his No. 1 K-PAX Racing Porsche 911 GT3.
Local driver Davis was third in the No. 10 ACS/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra. Davis entered a time of 1:27.370 (81.089 mph).
Defending race winner Eric Curran was fourth fastest in the No. 30 Whelen Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette with a time of 1:27.587 (80.888 mph). Brandon Davis’ father Mike Davis completed the top five, clocking a 1:27.720 (80.766 mph) in the No. 11 ACS/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra.
Newport Beach resident James Sofronas (Porsche 911 GT3), Michael Galati (Porsche 911 GT3), Ritch Marziale (Dodge Viper), Michael McCann (Cadillac CTS-V) and Tomy Drissi (Chevrolet) completed the top ten.
After an early red-flag period to remove the No. 5 Coyote Gravel Products Inc. Dodge Viper of Jason Daskalos from the Turn One tire wall, Drissi brought out the second red flag when his No. 15 What Happens in Vegas Chevrolet Corvette made hard contact with the Turn Two wall. Drissi exited the car awake and alert, but was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital for abdominal and chest discomfort.
SCCA SPEED GT is back on track at Long Beach for a second practice session at 7:50 a.m. (PDT). Results, live timing and lap notes are available at www.world-challenge.com.