Practice Report: Long Beach Grand Prix
LONG BEACH, Calif. April 11, 2014—Defending race winner Takuma Sato and the ABC Supply team made good progress today as practice got underway for the 40th Anniversary Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.
Sato had been 12th on the timesheet in the morning session but when the afternoon session concluded, he had moved up to fourth quickest in the No. 14 ABC Supply Honda. His afternoon lap time of 1 minute, 9.1488 seconds was eight tenths quicker than his morning run around the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street course.
“It’s good to be back in Long Beach and to have flashbacks of the good memories from last year,” said Sato. “We’re working on the car’s setup because technically it’s a little bit different from last year. We have to adapt to the 2014 Firestone tires, new configuration for the aero, and different characteristics for the engine, etc. Practice one and two were okay--there were no surprises. We have some work to do to catch the people in the front, but we are on pace.”
He doesn’t have many to catch as only Simon Pagenaud, who was quickest with a time of 1 minute, 9.1488 seconds, four-time Long Beach winner Sebastian Bourdais and rookie Jack Hawksworth were faster. Will Power rounded out the top five.
A.J. Foyt, who missed last year’s victory with his team due to impending surgery for a back ailment, is at Long Beach this weekend.
Teams will have one more 45-minute practice tomorrow morning before qualifying begins just after 1 p.m. as 23 drivers vie for the Verizon P1 pole position.
The race will be broadcast live by NBC Sports Network Sunday afternoon starting at 4 p.m. ET.