MONTEREY, Calif. – Following an action-packed street fight in Long Beach, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship remains in California for the fourth round of the season, heading north to the picturesque Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix.
The 2.238-mile circuit, nestled in the Salinas Valley, will play host to the first-ever double-header event, with separate Prototype/GT Le Mans and Prototype Challenge/GT Daytona races to be held at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. ET Sunday, LIVE on FOX Sports 1.
While the pair of two-hour races will offer more running time than the 100-minute sprint in SoCal, all eyes will be on the much-talked about Balance of Performance in the Prototype class, and whether there will be a new face in victory lane.
Following a Daytona Prototype sweep in the opening three races, IMSA has reigned in the DPs with a slight reduction in power, equating up to 20 horsepower, in order for the ALMS-based P2 machines to have a fighting chance for the overall win.
How the change will affect the DP/P2 battle won’t be known until the start of practice on Saturday, but the latest round of BoP adjustments hasn’t changed the focus of championship leaders Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, who have yet to finish off the podium this year.
The Action Express Racing Corvette DP duo hold a five-point lead over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, who are coming off back-to-back wins for their Ford EcoBoost-powered Riley DP.
In addition to the Wayne Taylor Racing and Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP entries, no fewer than two P2 cars should be in contention as well.
Extreme Speed Motorsports’ Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp headed into Long Beach as one of the favorites, but their HPD ARX-03b struggled against the more powerful DPs down the long city streets. That’s likely to change this weekend, thanks to the fast, but flowing characteristics of Mazda Raceway.