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Resurfaced Laguna Seca “to be at the very least a few seconds quicker”

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Final 12 months noticed a full resurfacing of the 11-turn, 2.238-mile highway course for the primary time since 2006, which additionally included a brand new pedestrian bridge on the entrance straight as a part of a $14.9 million mission.

The mission started shortly after final Could’s IMSA occasion and was accomplished by July, with IndyCar the primary main collection to race on the brand new – and faster – floor in September.

Ricky Taylor holds the DPi observe report with a 1m13.924s (108.987mph) flying lap, which got here in April 2022. Matt Campbell’s Penske Porsche 963 hit a 1m14.774s (107.748mph) lap on the {old} floor throughout the present GTP era’s – that changed DPi – inaugural journey to Laguna Seca final 12 months.

For Bourdais, who is available in because the defending race winner with No. 01 Cadillac V-Collection.R co-driver Renger van der Zande, a current take a look at confirmed promise of elevated grip, which can possible result in a bounce in tempo.

“We did come and take a look at with each Cadillacs, each BMWs and each Penske Porsches, so we did have time to experiment and check out fairly just a few issues,” mentioned Bourdais. “Grip has gone up lots.

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“It’s in all probability going to be at the very least a few seconds quicker and it’s at all times an superior feeling whenever you drive on a repaved observe. I’ve at all times loved Laguna, however tyre degradation was excessive, and grip was fairly low on the finish of the cycle of the {old} pavement.

“So, now it’s full pressure, most assault and dedication, so it’s a ton of enjoyable to muscle these GTPs round. It’s best to see some fairly unbelievable speeds across the weekend.”

crash, Rinus VeeKay, Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

Picture by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

When trying again on the IndyCar spherical on the brand new floor, van der Zande seen automobiles “flying off” due to the dearth of grip off the one racing line.

Nonetheless, in current IMSA testing automobiles didn’t undergo the identical concern, with “grip all over the place” on the observe. With that, although, he believes the elevated speeds will nonetheless result in a number of automobiles venturing off track but additionally tighten up the sphere.

“These new tarmac modifications will most definitely deliver the sphere collectively,” van der Zande mentioned. “I anticipate a detailed battle once more.

“Additionally, strategy-wise it’s going to be very attention-grabbing due to the tarmac, so we’ll see what performs out. It seems like we’ll be fairly a bit quicker than the GT automobiles at Laguna Seca in comparison with the opposite tracks. From that perspective, it’s simpler to overhaul them.”

With 34 automobiles unfold throughout three courses, with GTD Professional and GTD additionally on observe this weekend, managing visitors may very well be harder than regular with quicker lap instances.

“When the cornering speeds enhance, visitors tends to have an even bigger affect on tempo since you’re getting checked up and dropping extra time within the corners,” Bourdais mentioned.

“It’s the identical for everyone, however timing the place you hit visitors and the way it pans out tends to have an even bigger impact on the race. Laguna nonetheless tends to be a lot of a one-lane observe, and it will get soiled on the surface.

“The multi-class racing tends to assist widen the road, however because the observe grips up and rubbers up on line it tends to get dirtier and it’s a bit much less encouraging you to go across the exterior of individuals and pull an optimistic transfer.”

#01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais

#01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Collection.R: Renger van der Zande, Sebastien Bourdais

Picture by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

Contemplating how a lot faster the tempo may very well be per lap this 12 months, he was requested if that may play a job in power deployment and pit technique: “It will likely be increased since you want extra power to go quicker,” Bourdais replied.

“It simply doesn’t occur by cornering speeds. You might be on the throttle. We are likely to have pretty broad home windows with the GTP automobiles over these races, so we’ll see the way it shakes out.

“Nevertheless it ought to be possible on two stops.”

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