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Voices of Long Beach
The American Le Mans Series moves across the country for its second street race in a row, this time the famed Long Beach circuit. Last year’s successful debut has raised expectations throughout the paddock for the Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach. The scenery, the history and the prestige of the Long Beach weekend definitely makes it a race every driver wants to capture.

Oliver Gavin, Corvette Racing
Corvette C6.R (GT1)
“They’re quite different, the two street circuits are. It seems to me that St. Petersburg is quite wide and open, and you can maybe let the car run a little bit there. At Long Beach it’s a little bit tighter and you have to be more mindful of the walls. There are some very tight parts of the track and technical parts of the track. When you go around the fountain, that’s quite tricky and you have to be careful. And the next corner after that is very tight with tough camber as well as the one after that. So all the time you have to be on your guard. To me, Long Beach is a little bit more of a challenge and you have to drive with a little more caution. You run a little bit wide and it gets dirtier and dustier, and some of the corners you really can’t see that far through. It’s just that there’s more change to the surface at Long Beach and it’s also unusual because it’s a short race; that is going to add into the mix. It’s different but I think that’s what the beauty of going to street circuits is - each one is different and even though you might find that it’s sort of a generic setup that works on a street circuit and you sort of know what you need to do, each one you really have to fine tune to make sure you get the most out of your car, the most out of your tires, the most out of your fuel.”

Jonny Cocker, Drayson-Barwell
Aston Martin Vantage GT2 (GT2)
“I think the street course is definitely going to be tricky so it’s just going to be one of those things that we’re going to have to go with. It’s a part of the championship. I’ve done a couple of street circuits before and it’s just going to be a big challenge. But it always is. That’s what everybody’s there for - to push yourself and the team as well.”

Bryan Herta, Andretti Green Racing
Acura ARX-01b (LMP2)
“Traffic on a street course is just crazy. There are times where you hold your breath and hope you’re going to get through it. The GT cars are trying to do their race and you’re trying to do yours. There’s obviously speed differences between the classes. You kind of have to work together. You don’t want to screw them up but you don’t want to lose your speed too, so there’s a lot of give and take. I was surprised actually that we’ve seemed to have really figured out ways to work together on the street course. I think everybody’s more aware that you have to take care of each other. It’s not like a big open place like Sebring where you can touch and maybe put two wheels off in the dirt and then just keep going. On a street course, there’s no dirt to put two wheels on; you’re into a wall and somebody’s day is probably over.”

Dirk Mueller, Tafel Racing
Ferrari F430 GT (GT2)
“I think it’s a blast definitely, but it’s also the kind of challenge which is in the American Le Mans Series. You have different kinds of tracks, different kinds of challenges, different types of durations. I really think that makes the American Le Mans Series really unique. So for that I’m really especially looking forward to Long Beach. … (Racing on street circuits ) is also a big risk. You really should think about not risking too much to destroy your car. But if you would like to win the championship you have to finish every race. So it’s a special challenge which you need to take in.”

Timo Bernhard, Penske Racing
Porsche RS Spyder (LMP2)
“On street circuits last year we had very much success. The No. 6 car won St. Pete in class and we finished second, then I won Long Beach and Houston back-to-back and overall with Romain (Dumas). We had perfect results on street circuits last year; in Detroit we won overall as well. The RS Spyder was very, very good on the street circuits. We found a good setup. Over the bumps the car’s nice. That’s what you need on a street circuit; you need to have confidence in your car in order to get to the limit. That’s what we had last year with the RS Spyder and I expect it for this year again.”

The Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, Round 3 of the 2008 season, is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 19 from the famed Long Beach street circuit. ABC will broadcast the race from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 20. XM Satellite Radio will provide coverage on Channel 144 from 7 to 9 p.m. ET Saturday, April 19. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage of the race at americanlemans.com, which also will feature IMSA’s Live Timing & Scoring.

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