By on April 9, 2017

longbeach imsa

This weekend, the Long Beach Grand Prix saw more than its fair share of misery. It all kicked off days before the actual race when two thieves stole roughly a million dollars worth of parts from Global Motorsports Group in Santa Ana. That’s bad news for the team because they needed a lot of those parts for their McLaren 570S GT4 and Porsche 911 GT3 R race cars. And it’s bad news for the thieves because those McLaren parts can only go into a handful of cars in the United States and are essentially valueless on the black market.

The two thieves were believed to have scouted the location while GMG held an open house, only to return with a stolen truck the following day and make off with their support coach — an essential for item for race day. 

While the coach was eventually located by the Santa Ana Police Department, it wasn’t going to do the team much good. “We’ve recovered their motor coach, unfortunately it was stripped. Their trailer, unfortunately all the McLaren and Porsche parts were taken,” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna told ABC7 News.

GMG was able to get their PWC Porsche 911 GT3s onto the track with a little help from the community, but the missing parts meant the McLarens never got a chance to run. Pirelli World Challenge veteran and team owner James Sofronas even managed to get his into pole position after being flabbergasted by the heist.

“Those things are not easy to move, park and maneuver out of the back so not seeing it was a shock and I had to do a double take,” Sofronas said on the day of the robbery.

As for the race itself, there was a clumsy crash during lap one and numerous stoppages at the course’s pesky hairpin throughout. The worst incident stemmed from a crash that left three cars idle on the far side of the blind corner. As more cars approached during the final lap of the race, traffic had ground to a halt. The Corvette Racing team, which had been set for a 1-2 GTLM class victory, assumed the outside might be clear. They both went high and ended up trapped behind the cars that caused the problem. Tommy Milner, who had found himself in a identical situation at last year’s race, wisely stayed inside enough to stream out when traffic finally cleared but the other Vette had to watch traffic resume without it. I can only imagine that its driver, Antonio Garcia, filled his radio with every curse word imaginable

Milner didn’t allow himself to be robbed of the win this year but victory abandoned Garcia thanks to nothing more than bad luck. The overall triumph went to the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R Prototype, resulting in the team’s third Prototype class win in a row.

[Image: IMSA]

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6 Comments on “Someone Must Have Cursed the Long Beach Grand Prix this Weekend...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    Honestly, kind of a crummy race. They should look into widening the hairpin next year.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    That video still is great… Three Stooges Racing!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    About 5 years ago, I was in Long Beach just a week or two after the Grand Prix. Much of the barriers, signage, and even some of the grandstands were still setup. It was a dream come true on some parts of the roadway now opened up again to regular traffic.

    Alas, I was saddled with a Chevy Captiva as a rental for that trip. :-(

  • avatar
    NeilM

    They should nuke the whole event and figure out someplace else to race. Long Beach is an ugly, pathetic excuse for a race venue, even by the generally low standards of street circuits. Long Beach is a failed wannabe Monaco.

  • avatar
    JMII

    The cruse was on Andretti Auto Sport! With RHR and Rossi set to take 2rd and 3rd both cars broke down with only a few laps to go. RHR was gutted, Long Beach is like his second home. Nice that Hinch won, but still it was painful to watch Andretti’s entire 4 car team sputter out and die on track like that.

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