Wayne Taylor Racing takes IMSA pole in Long Beach, recap with Acura’s stealing the show

We all wondered entering this weekend if Cadillac would remain king on the 1.968-mile Long Beach street course. Cadillac cars have won in each of the last five tries here. In fact, they’ve swept the podium spots in 2021 and again in 2022.

Since 2018, among the 12 podium positions, Cadillac has taken home nine of those 12 trophies including each of the race winning ones.

Would this GTP era still reward the GM brand?

On Friday, the answer was a resounding, no.

The Acura’s were now the head of the class with them going 1-2 in literally every session. The Wayne Taylor Racing tandem of Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque set the tone out of the gates in the opening practice session. The Meyer Shank Racing duo of Tom Blomqvist and Colin Braun was second while the pair of Penske Porsche’s were third and fourth respectively. The No. 24 BMW with RLL rounded out the top five while the pair of Cadillac’s were sixth and seventh.

For session No. 2, the Acura’s led the way, but this time they flip flopped with the MSR No. 60 Acura ARX-06 leading the charge with the No. 10 Acura ARX-06 from WTR being second. The No. 25 BMW from RLL went from last in session 1 among the GTP cars to third while the team car was fifth. The pair of Porsche’s were sixth and seventh respectively with Cadillac going fourth (No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac Racing) and eighth (No. 01 Cadillac Racing Chip Ganassi Racing).

In qualifying, it was WTR back up top with Albuquerque scoring the pole for them with a top time of 1:09.909-seconds. He and Blomqvist battled lap-after-lap for the top spot to which WTR had just enough to score the top spot for Saturday’s race (5 p.m. ET, USA, IMSA Radio). Blomqvist went 1:10.583-seconds to put the 60 car in second.

They were well over a second clear of the rest with Sebastien Bourdais going 1:10.981-seconds in his No. 01 Cadillac. That was 1.072-seconds arrears to the WTR camp.

The BMW duo will start fourth and fifth respectively while the Porsche’s will be sixth and eighth. The No. 31 Whelen Engineering ride will roll off seventh.

Acura looks to be the class of the field and this is now their race to lose. Since 2006, all 16 races here were won via a top six starter. That means it’s down to just the Ganassi Cadillac. However, 11 of the 16 winners came from the front row including 6 of the last 8 years at that.

The pole sitter has won each of the last two and with Acura’s being in a league of their own, this is their race to lose.

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